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Songs Of Separation

5.0 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (29 Jan. 2016)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Navigator Records
  • ASIN: B017752X3M
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,149 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

'Songs of Separation' brought together ten female folk musicians from Scotland and England, to create a recording which reflects on the issue of 'separation' in its many forms, through traditional song.

The SoS musician team features the musical skills and "big thinking" of Eliza Carthy and Karine Polwart, two of the UK's most celebrated voices, Mary Macmaster and Kate Young, two boundary-breaking Scots, Hannah James, Hazel Askew and Rowan Rheingans, from the award winning English ensemble Lady Maisery, Jenn Butterworth and Jenny Hill, brilliant backline players who have worked in both English and Scottish trad scenes, and Hannah Read, a New York-based musician who spent much of her childhood on the Isle of Eigg.

Taking place on the beautiful Isle of Eigg in June 2015, the musicians spent an intensive week rehearsing and recording, including site recordings at the two sites central to the 'Big Women of Eigg' legend.

Celebrating the similarities and differences in our musical, linguistic and cultural heritage, and set in the context of a post-referendum world, the work aims to evoke emotional responses and prompt new thinking about the issue of separation as it occurs in all our lives. The collected songs aim to get to the heart of what we feel when we are faced with a separation, both good and bad. Providing a 'thread through time', joining us to previous generations who shared the same human experiences and responses to separation, and to the generations that will follow.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I was lucky enough to see one of the handful of performances on the short tour that launched this magnificent album at the Met at Bury on Saturday 23rd January, and it was a fantastic ensemble performance that will stay in my mind and ear for a long time to come, and was a truly memorable night. So I have had the benefit of listening to this album at home now for a few days in advance of its official release, and it has grown in stature and enjoyment with repeated plays. it is already a strong contender for my album of the year before the end of January is even reached!
Jenny Hill conceived the idea of gathering a super group of English and Scottish female folk singers together for less than a week to write, rehearse, then record an album of Songs based on the theme of Separation. The stellar line up seems like a role call for a dream band and includes Eliza Carthy, Hannah James, Hannah Read, Hazel Askew, Jenn Butterworth, Jenny Hill, Karine Polwart, Kate Young, Mary Macmaster and Rowan Rheingans . Some of these players had never met each other before, let alone played together, and there could have been a danger of one upmanship and prima donnas trying to dominate. But these female folkies are not like that, it was obvious from the concert that they were having a whale of a time together in this superb group collaboration, and the sum of the parts and the final album proved to be far greater than that of the individual players combined, producing something truly special.
They assembled for a week last June off the West Coast of Scotland on the remote wild beautiful island of Eigg (total population of 76). It took almost 3 years from inception of the concept for Jenny Hill to manage to get all the players together in one place due to their hectic touring schedules.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This was an excellent album the first time I played it, and I find that I appreciate it even more with every listen.

I happened to be volunteering on the Isle of Eigg the week ‘Songs of Separation’ was recorded, and had the chance to see the band perform in the island’s tearoom/bar prior to recording the album. It was a magical evening for all of us in attendance, with beautiful songs, brilliant musicianship, and all around good fun. It was clear that the ten women in the band were excited to perform together—remarkably, it was their first time playing as a group, though several of the musicians had worked together before (e.g., in the band Lady Maisery).

The album captures the same joyful chemistry I observed at the band’s debut performance, but with richer musical textures and a wider range in mood, from gentle and contemplative to mystical to powerful and uplifting, with some definite rollicking moments thrown in. Though the album’s 12 songs differ significantly in their style and tone, all are thoughtful and compelling in their own unique way and deserve attentive listening.

While I would certainly recommend ‘Songs of Separation’ to anyone who appreciates the Scottish and English folk traditions, I would also recommend it to people who enjoy diverse styles of music but might not naturally gravitate toward the folk genre, as the songs on this album demonstrate how music can transcend categories and be dynamic and relevant whatever its classification.

A good example is Track 5,
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By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 6 Feb. 2016
Format: Audio CD
I think this is fantastic. You'd expect it from this line-up, of course – and they really have created something special, I think. Ten of the finest folk musicians in Scotland and England today have collaborated on this album of traditional and co-written modern folk songs. They are all women, but they don't need the qualification "ten of the finest female folk musicians" – they are among the best we have and that's that.

The result is a fabulous album of superbly performed music. There's great instrumental work and magnificent singing throughout, incorporating elements of many of the wonderfully diverse traditions of these islands. All these musicians have their feet firmly rooted in tradition, they love and respect it and also look forward to produce fine new songs in a traditional style, sometimes with a very modern seasoning. It's just great, so we get, for example, the modern, politically angry Poor Man's Lamentation immediately followed by the traditional, hauntingly beautiful S Trom an Direadh. If you're familiar with the work of Lady Maisery or the great Laylam album you'll know what I mean – and this is the equal of them.

Forty-five years ago I began to sit in smoke-filled folk clubs and dance the Morris. I can't do any of that any more, but it really does an old folkie's heart good to know that our traditions are in such brilliantly capable hands, both treasuring them and developing them. This fabulous album shows some of the very best of current British folk music, and I can recommend it very warmly indeed.
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