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Folkwords album review: ‘Spinning Yarns’ – an important custodian of heritage

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Exploring the traditional music of her native Canada, researching the roots and stories behind rare songs coupled with an enduring passion for conservation as much as innovation, Norah not only keeps memories fresh but invigorates them with new life. – Tom Franks, Folkwords

Folkwords review posted on March 23, 2015

This lady has pursued her musical trade as a singer, flute and whistle player, worked with bands, in trios and duos, and built a solid reputation as a solo artist. Now with ‘Spinning Yarns’, Norah Rendell combines her talents with those of Brian Miller, Randy Gosa and Ailie Robertson, with Dáithí Sproule and Adam Kiesling, to revisit a selection of traditional folk songs of Canada recalling influences gleaned from Ireland, Scotland and England. Old songs evoke memories of times, places and people, and keeping them ‘alive’ not only retains meaningful links with heritage, it some small way it helps to anchor nations and peoples.

Exploring the traditional music of her native Canada, researching the roots and stories behind rare songs coupled with an enduring passion for conservation as much as innovation, Norah not only keeps memories fresh but invigorates them with new life. The simple fact that young musicians exhibit a genuine feel for these songs is enough to ensure their continuance. Through a the multi-versioned, multiple-titled, ‘The Sailor’s Bride’ and yet another ‘original meaning lost in time’ song ‘The Carrion Crow’ to this version of ‘Lost Jimmy Whalen’ and the much-travelled song ‘The Pinery Boy’ to a re-tuned take on’Biddy Rooney’ and the Scottish broadside ‘Sir Neil and Glengyle’ this album is a venture into tradition.

‘Spinning Yarns’ rightly deserves a place among the annals of Canadian music, standing as an important custodian of heritage. For added pleasure the album comes complete with comprehensive notes on the sources, known origins and compositions for the songs. Website: norahrendell.com

Reviewer: Tom Franks

Read the review online

Norah Rendell