‘Nae Sweets for Shy Bairns’ by Heather Downie - thoroughly captivating(January 24, 2018)
There’s more than a certain magic to the harp ... it’s capable of producing a multitude of moods and reflecting an abundance of imagery. To make that happen requires skilled and inventive hands and seriously outstanding talent ... Heather Downie possesses that ability making her able to draw so much from the instrument. There’s both innovation and tradition woven into her debut album ‘Nae Sweets for Shy Bairns’, an album that demonstrates patently obvious skill coupled to that essential requirement ... empathy with instrument and composition.
‘Nae Sweets for Shy Bairns’ features Heather’s own work, contemporary compositions and also pays homage to the tradition ... the blending of originality and heritage on this album is seamless and flawless. From originals like ‘Stalky Nightmare’ part of a set with a Tia Files original, and the absorbing ‘William and Wizards’ a collaboration with a Jay Ungar original, to the ‘Messed Up Marches’ set combining ‘Fingal’s Cave’ with Heather’s ‘Midtown March’ and fascination of the multi-layered ‘Under The Stars’, the attraction never waivers. The album also pays homage to the tradition with that poignant lament ‘Neil Gow’s lament for the Death of His Second Wife’ and Donald MacLeod’s intricate ‘The Field of Gold’.
To sum up ‘Nae Sweets for Shy Bairns’ in a couple of words ... thoroughly captivating.
Playing on ‘Nae Sweets for Shy Bairns’ are Heather Downie (harp, vocals) Tia Files (percussion, guitar) and Corrina Hewat (guest vocals)
Review: Tim Carroll