Jenny & Martin Schaub,
Kite High
(West of Music, 2004)

Jenny and Martin Schaub are usually heard as part of the Swedish group West of Eden, but here we get a fantastic duo performing a wonderful mixture of traditional and new works. Jenny has the most beautiful, crystal clear voice and diction, which makes the album a joy to hear.

Having spent a few weeks in Limerick and working with the likes of Andy Irvine and Karan Casey, they are "more Irish than the Irish themselves," to coin an ancient phrase from our history. You will trawl many albums before you can better their excellent rendition of "Flower of Magherally." With voice and guitar, this is folk magic.

I would have sworn that "Two Blackbirds" was a traditional track until I read the notes to find that it comes from the hearts, minds and pens of the performers. They offer a lovely instrumental Italian road trip in the midst of this Irish sojourn with "The Road to Ravello," then return to the Emerald Isle's tradition with "Seventeen Come Sunday" -- and they have another winner.

Martin has written a new classic with "New Year's Prayer," my favourite on the album. The CD of 13 tracks closes with an evocative instrumental composed by Martin, "A Place by the Sea." It really does transport you to the shore and is a beautiful conclusion to an excellent album.

Whether performing as West of Eden or Jenny and Martin Schaub, this duo must be destined for wider audiences. Get in on the ground floor and add this to your collection.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 20 November 2004

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