Kevin Collins,
From an Island to an Island, Vol. 1
(independent, 2003)

Running for more than an hour and 20 minutes, From an Island to an Island, Vol. 1 is an introduction to a number of people and places. It brings the songwriting and performing talent of Kevin Collins to our notice. It introduces us to the scenery and people of both Newfoundland and Ireland -- the islands of the title. It also reminds us of the intertwined history of the two locations.

The latter is self-evident when Kevin Collins narrates the story. He is a native Newfoundlander with Irish roots, but his accent is a hybrid of Newfoundland and Wexford, Ireland, from which his grandparents left over a century ago. The same accent recurs when other natives are interviewed.

The DVD opens with some wonderful views of Newfoundland as he sets the scene and offers us the title track. The combination of views and the strong and heartfelt lyrics combine with powerful effect. One wants to "up sticks" and head off immediately to a home away from home.

The scene then switches to Ireland as Collins tours some of the places associated with Newfoundland, places he wants us to see and people who have taken his music to heart and promoted it in Ireland.

In the process he gives us fine renditions -- with a country flavour -- of some well known tracks like "The Town I Loved So Well" to a Kilkenny backdrop and "Clare to Here." He also performs some self-penned tracks like the nostalgic "Gone Are the Days" and the upbeat "Jump in & Swim."

Interspersed are "to camera" pieces about his influences, family background and awards won.

The DVD is classed as a first volume, so I expect we will see and hear more from Kevin. I look forward -- as a Wexfordman -- to see a bit more of Newfoundland on the next release and maybe some more about the history of Ireland that led to the emigration to what the Irish called "Talmh an Eisc" or "Land of the Fish."

by Nicky Rossiter
20 May 2006

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