Trad & Folk
Artists and Albums
Hello! This page is part of an opinionated overview of Celtic and British folk music, with record reviews by me, Joe Sixpack... This is not meant to be taken as a "definitive" resource, but rather as a record of some of the music which has caught my interest. I am always looking for more good music to explore, so your comments and suggestions are welcome.
This is the second page covering the letter "S"
Sileas "Beating Harps" (Green Linnet, 1987)
Sileas "Play On Light" (Green Linnet, 1999)
The Scottish duo of Mary MacMaster and Patsy Seddon, who have also played in the Poozies and Clan Alba. I must confess, I'm not overly fond of the Celtic harp... it's one of those instruments, like the soprano sax, that lends itself to just one kind of musical experience, and is very difficult to place inside a new context, so that you can hear something new in the instrument itself. To their credit, while Sileas are drenched in the sugary confines of the harp, their vocal work -- two female voices singing harmony in Celtic -- do help in this regard. This is still too goopy for me, but there is a depth and a pleasant feel to this music that certainly makes this disc worth checking out.
Silly Sisters "Silly Sisters" (Shanachie, 1976)
What a wonderful record. One of the greatest '70s trad albums... Maddy Prior and June Tabor's voices and musical sensibilities are a perfect match, and the material they chose is also a delight. The elusive English traditionalist Nic Jones plays fiddle or guitar on most of these tracks. (Followed up by the 1988 album, No More To The Dance... HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Silly Sisters "No More To The Dance" (Shanachie, 1988)
A nice follow-up to their first legendary pairing, although this time around the music is a bit glossier and less strictly trad. A couple of songs go over the line for my personal sensibilities (into "new age-y" territory) but these tunes are definitely the exception. On the whole, a lovely album. Includes a fine version of Colm Sands' delightful cautionary tale, "Almost Every Circumstance"... Worth checking out.
Silly Wizard - see artist profile
Martin Simpson - see artist profile
Sin'e "Deep Water Dropoff" (BMG-Wicklow, 1999)
Yikes. Pretty tacky, jazz-tinged, world-beat-y crossover material, with undulating, amorphous soundbeds, ostentatious use of congas (and what sound like tablas) and many an irritating key change and production touch. Plus, the bovine, Gothish vocals of singer Taz Alexander give me a sweet pain: she has a terrible voice. Besides all the horrid aesthetic choices, this band also seems to have little natural flow, their performances sound rigid and unrelaxed... That may be because so much of it is a studio creation: the meter is kept all-too perfect, and the fiddling, etc. is just one more tightly contained element in a stiffly constructed, high-tech musical morass. Trust me: this is a horrible, horrible album, one that you are well-advised to stay away from. I feel like I need to flush my ears out now. Yuck.
Sin'e "It's About Time" (Rhian, 1999)
Celtic/Brit Folk Albums -- More Letter "S"
Main Celtic/Brit Index
Main World Music Index