Kathryn Tickell and Corrina Hewat - “The Sky Didn’t Fall”
Produced in 2006, this is a two-girl collaboration between Tickell (Northumbrian pipes, fiddle, vocals) and the Scottish musician Hewat (Scottish harp and vocals).
The one piece on this that really made me sit up was Kathryn’s own tune "Peewits Hornpipe", on the pipes with the harp coming in second time round - I think it’s a marvellous tune, and when played well the harp and Northumbrian pipes are just made for each other. For a Northumbrian pipes afficionado the disc’s worth buying for this tune. Like other tune composers Kathryn’s written some also-rans and some which, well, work, but every now and then a real stunner (such as "Brafferton Village"), and I think this is one of them.
(Peewits are medium-smallish black-and-white-looking birds that nest in the hills of Britain and I assume Ireland, and have a cry that is utterly characteristic of the uplands in Spring.)
The rest of the album is bracketed between read reminiscences of country life ("Favourite Place", #1 and #2); it includes quite a lot of rather muted singing (by both at times) to the harp, whose effect, for all my praise above, tends to make much of the material, vocal and instrumental, sound rather at one remove - to my shell-likes, anyway.