Review Archive

‘Swimmings of the Head’ from Kate in the Kettle - 'fascinating allure that enthrals and captivates'

(October 10, 2014)

‘Swimmings of the Head’ from Kate in the Kettle evokes a sense of deep mystery, delicate invention and expressive manifestation, there’s a feeling that you’ve opened a door to a place Kate in the Kettle Swimmings of the Headwhere ethereal and enchanting live side by side. This album is an exploration of vocal and fiddle journeying that entwines traditional and original material into a constantly moving and changing mélange. It coalesces influences and musical roots from Scottish, Scandinavian, Central-European, Middle Eastern and Asian folk traditions with inspired creativity to take the elements to unexpected and extraordinary places.

With soaring vocals that convey the poetry of English poet Nora Hopper Chesson, coupled with Säb Jon’s Polska,‘Fairy Fiddler’ opens into an exhilarating amalgam of fiddle and voice, and sets your expectations for this album. Starting with a traditional Northumbrian tune, Kissed Her Under the Coverlet, the involving ‘Mammoth’incorporates three Kate Young compositions into a set that exposes the influences of Scotland and India, while another original, ‘Green and Gold’, lifts into a sparkling melody that entreats you to listen. Ever so gently,‘Salmon’ begins with echoing birdsong sliding into liquid layers of sound before seething through a web of iridescent fiddle, chattering tabla and gorgeous vocals. The enchantment continues with ‘Lullaby for an Infant Chief’ deftly blending Sir Walter Scott’s poetry with mournful fiddle and lingering vocals across a melody from Young, there’s an irresistible progress into a slängpolska Swedish folk tune.

Performing on the album are Kate Young (fiddle, vocals, ankle bells, singing bowls) Marit Fält (låt-mandola) Victor Solana (tabla, cajon, percussion) Daniel Moser (bass clarinet) and Marti Tärn (bass guitar).

I have a feeling that this album may find itself classified as ‘love it or leave it’ music. Although, possibly not matched to all tastes and needing the listener to pay attention, ‘Swimmings of the Head’ once absorbed, emanates a fascinating allure. Find out more here:

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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