The Two Sisters,
Songs & Chansons
(Acoustic Records, 2013)

Listening to the Two Sisters is enough to make you believe in time travel. Sometimes they appear to live in Elizabethan England, sometimes in Django Rinehart's and Stephan Grapelli's gypsy France in the 1920s, sometimes in the Patience and Prudence '50s. Suffice it to say they are open to a wide variety of styles and modes of music. The album blurb describes the music accurately as "a green and pleasant pot-pourri of Parisian tangos, English folk-songs, baroque and popular song down the centuries."

What it doesn't say is that they are wonderful. The sisters, Hilary James and Janet Giraudo, are equally at home wherever they decide to stop off in time and region. Their lilting soprano voices blend together like two rare types of coffee beans to make one delicious beverage, one that you could drink all day with pleasure and no caffeine effects. The CD is beautifully arranged to take you through a variety of moods on a trip through the best international songs of our and any other time. One four-song sequence gives us Vivaldi, followed by the Irish ballad "I Live Not Where I Love," which leads to the French "Plaisir D'Amour" followed by the Every Brothers "Dream." Then, as if that sequence doesn't show enough variety, we get a '20s-driven version of "Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight," complete with a tuba playing the bass line.

The fun that the sisters are having with this set of songs is infectious. As I listened, I found myself smiling and occasionally laughing out loud at the spirit and good humor in these tunes.

Songs & Chansons is a trip through a magical musical universe. I recommend you take it.

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

15 February 2014

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