Album Review | Rumford Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson
Cutting her musical teeth in the late Jim Johnstone’s acclaimed band and other notable dance bands, whilst also working in collaboration with dozens of diverse musicians, Marie Fielding’s self-taught musical prowess shines through the ten compositions on this, the fiddle player’s latest project. With three and a half decades of experience, Marie’s versatility as a musician, composer and teacher dominates her music and the Spectrum Project provides a glimpse into her world, a world further enhanced by her credibility in the visual arts, having also created the cover painting.
Sandwiched between an introductory piece and its companion outro, the other eight mostly self-composed pieces feel like a showcase of Scottish and Irish traditional music, which demonstrates Marie’s credentials as a fine and expressive interpreter of the tradition, whilst bringing to the table something new and vibrant. With a focus on ‘the moment’, the compositions were created in the studio rather than having been rehearsed beforehand, which gives the project a sense of immediacy and flow, allowing her fellow musicians, Tom Orr, Luc D McNally and Donogh Hennessy, the space to express themselves. Standout pieces include the strident “Aran Islands” and the comparatively graceful “Gracie’s Lullaby”, whilst “Muriel’s Oatcakes” has all the ingredients of a firm festival favourite.
Choice Track: Aran Islands (NSV 504)