String Sisters – Between Wind and Water

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Liam Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

Formed at Celtic Connections in 1998, String Sisters boasts no fewer than six of the world’s best fiddlers.  Annbjørg Lien (Norway), Catriona Macdonald (Shetland), Emma Härdelin (Sweden), Liz Carroll (United States), Liz Knowles (United States) and Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh (Ireland) comprise the powerful fiddle-driven engine of this supergroup whilst guitarist Tore Bruvoll (Norway), pianist Dave Milligan (Scotland), bassist Conrad Molleson (Scotland) and percussionist James Mackintosh (Scotland) provide a masterful and similarly international rhythm section.  Now in their twentieth year, String Sisters present Between Wind and Water, a wonderfully textured collection of twelve tracks that stir the soul and pluck at the heartstrings.  Conceived during the summer of 2017 in Shetland and recorded in Edinburgh during the autumn, the album glides puckishly between heartfelt ballads, agile tunes and haunting vocal pieces such as the jaw-dropping “Det Bor I Mina Tankar”, a traditional Swedish song chillingly sung by Emma Härdelin. Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh’s self-penned “Mo Nion O” (My Daughter O) is the kind of magical lullaby that can only come from the shores of Ireland whilst Tore Bruvoll’s “Vinterfolk” provides the perfect sparkle for a crisp winter’s day thanks to its delightful melody.  The album culminates in a live performance of three tunes by Liz Carroll.  The closing set, entitled “The Blooming Conductor”, showcases the talents of the band’s ten members and places the proverbial cherry on top of what is, indeed, a rather tasty birthday cake.