Julie Abbé – Numberless Dreams

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson

Two things initially drew me into this album of songs and poems from both England and Ireland; Julie Abbé’s richly honeyed voice and the smouldering cello played just as it should be played, courtesy of Dominie Hooper, but it doesn’t stop there.  The traditional songs are well chosen, especially “Courting is a Pleasure” and the gorgeous “Kellswater”, both learned and adapted from Nic Jones and Andy Irvine respectively.  Raised in the Poitou-Chaentes region of France and steeped in the Bal Folk music tradition, Julie Abbé looks west for the material that inspired her debut folk album Numberless Dreams, produced in collaboration with Sid Goldsmith.  

Written on Brexit Day, this review is marked with a certain sadness and the songs will probably serve as a reminder of the day whenever I return to them, which could be often, especially after hearing Sid’s concertina on the “Flagstones” instrumental, which in this case could serve as a French accordion, but we won’t dwell on today’s events here.  One of the other important aspects of Numberless Dreams is the fact that Julie has managed to successfully transform a handful of poems by the celebrated Irish poet W.B. Yeats into viable songs that truly work.  Comfortable with both accompanied and unaccompanied a cappella singing, Julie Abbé brings to the folk table a new voice to celebrate.

Choice Track: Kellswater (NSV 494)