Cormorant's Fancy,
Here & There
(independent, 2009)

Here & There is a lovely collection of the folk music of the British Isles that will delight heart and ear from a collection of artists whose names do not instantly strike me as those belong to people originating in those islands. Having said that, Cormorant's Fancy give us a great rendition of songs old, familiar and a little less well known.

Opening with "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye," the band will draw the listener in with a rendition that never occludes the lyrics on a song where so often the listener can miss them and their subtle meaning. They continue with the renowned PJ McColl's rousing tale of Hugh O'Byrne from the 1580s on "Follow Me Up to Carlow." McColl is one of the most underrated of the Irish composers of what we so often think of as traditional songs.

From a master composer of the past they move after a lovely instrumental set to another song often thought of as traditional, Tommy Makem's "Four Green Fields." A lesser known song here is "The Sad Courting" from the Child Collection. Another in this category is that perennial tale of the cross-dressing girl in pursuit of love, "I Am a Maid that Sleeps in Love."

Other excellent tracks that are beautifully performed include "The Kerry Recruit," "The Banks o' Doon" and "Hector the Hero." Also on offer is the tale of the Irish Famine as told in letters and music in the doleful "Kilkelly, Ireland."

On a very skimpy insert the band offers the basic and also essential information on the origins of the tracks performed to perfection by the group.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
Nicky Rossiter

31 December 2011

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