on 16 April 2002
I got a copy of this cd right before I left for Japan for a nine month stint. I couldn't bring even half of my cds with me, but threw this one into the bag after the first listening. I have never regretted that choice. This cd goes everywhere with me, and I never tire of it. Well produced, well played, beautiful tunes, great arrangements, I can't find fault with it anywhere. If you like traditional music, fine fiddle and small-pipe playing then this is the cd for you. Me, I can't live without it.
on 14 March 2006
There's something quintessentially British about this album. I was in Luton airport in about 2001, about to fly off to Strasbourg to work for a few weeks. I was feeling a bit apprehensive (never worked abroad before), I was in the tail end of a long relationship, I felt I was stepping into the unknown. I felt a bit lost, to say the least. Then this album came over the PA system (yes! at Luton airport, believe it or not.) I went straight to the record shop (there in the terminal!) and bought it. It kept me sane during the next few weeks and has been a loved possession ever since. Thank you, Kathryn! I treasure this album and would recommend it to anyone. It's HOME.
on 3 March 2010
This CD is brilliant. I like Folk music but have never really felt much affinity with the Northumberland pipes. However I think Kathryn Tickell takes the instrument to a new level, her brilliance as a musiciam shines through and her own compositions are outstanding. This album needs to be savoured and enjoyed like a fine wine, its evocative, catchy and emotional. I especially like The Magpie and Debateable Lands but its all great. It takes 'folk' to a new level and I think Kathryn is just not appreciated enough nationally, but then I do live in the North East of England
A few years ago I spent a New Year`s holiday with some friends in Northumberland. What struck me most - apart from the dislocated yet indisputable charm of Lindisfarne, some good beer, impossibly white wide sands, and a castle on a beach - was the sheer amount of space under massive skies, vast stretches of land to the horizon, clear pure air and only Scotland to the north.
It`s all here, in Kathryn Tickell`s poignant album of traditonal and self-penned tunes, each one filled with the same slightly otherworldly atmosphere I felt in her home county.
There is a less feisty, more enigmatic sound that the Northumbrian pipes exude in comparison with Scottish bagpipes. To me it is, unsurprisingly, more English, in the way Malory, Falstaff, Hardy or the Brontes are English. Here is that peculiarly English melancholy (which we often don`t even notice) in abundance. Perhaps it is something to do with emanating from a borderland. This is old music. It is music from the very bowels of this ancient earth.
It is also almost unbearably beautiful. There`s no other word for it. A few musicians have it within their mysterious power to `bring us home`. I only know my heart heaves when I hear this music. It isn`t patriotism or anything as banal as that, but something deeper, more primal, of the essence.
No point in going through the tunes on this impeccably played set, as there are no highlights as such - though the brief melody Our Kate, that is the first part of the second track, might just break your heart, so lovely is it. No, it isn`t about Ms Tickell, rather it was composed by the latter as a tribute to Catherine Cookson, local bestselling novelist of life below-stairs.
The small group of musicians play as one, contributing also to the writing of this perfectly progmammed selection.
It is good to see Kathryn Tickell`s profile now much higher than it was when I had the break in Northumberland. Nobody deserves it more than this wonderful musician.
I am filled with gratitude for this timeless, haunting, heart-melting music.