Excellent recording with Davy Tulloch, Veronique Nelson (on fiddles) and Dave Jackson on guitar
CURLEW – FIDDLE MUSIC FROM SHETLAND AND BEYOND
Davy Tulloch’s Shetland Reels and Veronique Nelson’s Wessex airs – with their differing techniques and oral traditions – provide dynamic two-part fiddle playing which combines with the jazzy ensembles of Dave Jackson’s guitar to create an exciting and original new sound. Curlew’s two fiddles adapt dance rhythms and songs, many from Shetland, Scandinavia and Galicia, with guitar and occasional string bass accompaniment. In some pieces a two-part invention or rhythmic counterpart is clearly discernible, making for an invigorating and distinctive style.
FIDDLE MUSIC FROM SHETLAND …
Much of the music on this record comes from Shetland – no surprise when the fiddle lead is played by Davy Tulloch, one of the most outstanding musicians in this tradition at the present time. The Shetland tradition is one that is alive and vigorous and new tunes, often named after places or people – Pottinger’s Compliments, for example – stand alongside those of a much more venerable heritage.
… AND BEYOND
The Faeroe Islands, part way between Shetland and Scandinavia, have a culture which resembles that of Shetland, but have maintained their links with the Norse language and customs for far longer. The tune Alvadansur evokes the legends of the Elf-maidens dwelling in the misty hills from where they try to entice the island men to come and live with them. Scandinavia also provides the Rheinlander tunes for this record. It is probably the most popular Scandinavian dance and appears here in both traditional and contemporary variations.
Southern England supplies a haunting version of the Dorset love song The Grenadier and the Lady. Whilst Northumberland, whose music tradition could be described as the liveliest in England, provides Nancy, one of the best known Northumbrian pipe tunes.
The Celtic influence is also strongly in evidence, not only in those tunes from the Isle of Man like the C’raad T’ou Goll My Caillin Veg Dhone? set but also in those from the ancient Celtic kingdoms that once extended as far south as Galicia in North West Spain. In the Muneira de Cabanas Curlew have echoed the call of the bagpipes to the drum.
DAVY TULLOCH and VERONIQUE NELSON (fiddles) were brought up at opposite ends of the British Isles. Shetlander Davy Tulloch was strongly influenced by the great tradition of fiddle playing for which the islands are so renowned. Particularly influential were the famous fiddler, teacher and tune collector Tom Anderson and the fiddler John Pottinger. Veronique Nelson is from the West Country. Her wide-ranging musical background includes several years in Spain and, more recently, her principal influences have been the fiddle playing of Davy Tulloch and that of Angus Grant.
It is the versatility and diverse influences of these two musicians, together with the charp contrast between their rousing fiddle style and their slow airs, which give rise to the unique quality of their music.
DAVE JACKSON (guitar & string bass) – Dave Jackson’s guitar accompaniments, with their emphasis on damped jazzy chords in conjunction with pronounced bass line, set him firmly in the tradition of the “Shetland style” guitarists. Since is youth in Arbroath on Scotland’s East Coast he has been attracted by the music of the chamber jazz ensembles of the 1930s and ‘40s, where the lead instrument is enhanced by the harmony and driving rhythm of the guitar. His greatest influence is Shetland’s ‘Peerie Willie’ Johnson, who developed the unique jazz-inspired guitar style for accompanying fiddle music in the islands.
First published by TOPIC 1985 / Recorded and produced by Tony Engle at Ideal Sound Recorders, London / TOPIC 12TS435