Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas,
Highlander's Farewell
(Culburnie, 2011)

Take two fantastic performers on fiddle and cello, mix in guest appearances by Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill and Bruce Molsky, among others, and you have the ingredients for a classic album. Take, as an example, Highlander's Farewell by Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas.

The album opens with a lovely title track running more than seven minutes that leaves the listener in the mood for more -- lots more.

The baker's dozen of tracks on offer range over the many moods of great music, from dance tunes to romantic airs. Each track is finely crafted to perfection, as only such a crew can achieve.

Among my personal favourites here are the reel "The Pitnacree Ferryman" and the combined tracks from the pen of Nathaniel Gow, "Lament for the Death of His Brother/The Gallowglass." The musical journey veers far and wide with tracks like "Whitewater" by Fraser, dedicated to the Sierra Nevada foothills; "A Bruxa," recalling Galacia; and "La Sansonette," from the pen of a professor teaching traditional music in France.

The tracks on offer may not be familiar, but given a few listens the discerning listener will be well rewarded.

music review by
Nicky Rossiter

30 April 2011

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