‘Continuum’ from The Shee - expressing a mix of musical mood and character

(September 04, 2016)

‘Continuum’ the latest album from The Shee comes with origins that fall squarely into the ‘must buy just to find out’ category. Which some will do but that’s precisely where any possible hype stops dead in its tracks for this is a splendidly crafted, superbly delivered album. Releasing 23 September 2016, ‘Continuum’ celebrates the band’s continuum the shee album coverfirst decade together, with essentially a collaborative project featuring originals from The Shee and the same from contemporary composers ... Andy Cutting, Brian Finnegan, Karine Polwart, Martin Simpson, Kathryn Tickell and Chris Wood ... each member of The Shee approached their chosen artist and asked for their contribution, and the result is ‘Continuum’.

The songs move from Laura-Beth Salter’s powerful and faintly ominous ‘From The Shadows’ through Karine Polwart’s deeply moving ‘The Jute Mill Song/ Song For Mary’ commissioned by Rachel to tell the story of Scottish mill worker, socialist and trade unionist Mary Brooksbank, to Hugh Lipton’s lyrics put to Chris Wood’s composition of ‘Cradle Song’ complete with evocative stormy wind effects. Instrumentals include tune sets from Kathryn Tickell, ‘Ower Late For The Lassies/ Sheepolska’ commissioned by Shona, in response to Amy’s request Andy Cutting’s ‘Lady Grey’ and Brian Finnegan responding to a Lillias with scintillating set ‘The Birdsof Salim Ali/ On The Breathing Road/ The Soaring Seas’ ... and not forgetting the Pythonesque-titled ‘The Vampire Rabbit of Newcastle’.

‘Continuum’ is a stunning piece of work on every level, finely expressing a mix of musical mood and character to create something individual and distinctive. The Shee are Lillias Kinsman-Blake (flute) Shona Money (fiddle) Rachel Newton (vocals, electric and acoustic harp) Olivia Ross (vocals, fiddle, viola) Laura-Beth Salter (vocals, mandolin, tenor guitar) and Amy Thatcher (accordion).

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Review: Tim Carroll

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