‘The Seas Between Us’ from Sophie Ramsay - ethereal beauty translated into song

(October 19, 2016)

Search out a dozen old Scots and Gaelic songs that move through facets of tradition, deliver them with gently reflective caressing vocals, involve arrangements and instruments that lift them to somewhere new and the result is ‘The Seas Sophie Ramsay The Seas album coverBetween Us’ from Sophie Ramsay. And should you care to experience the definition of ethereal beauty translated into song then this is an album you should own. The songs take in Burns’ poetry, oft turned into song, plus those older songs often attributed to him, along with one from Hector Macneil, the rest come from traditional roots.  A kind touch, for those who want to understand the songs, is the translation of lyrics into English in the accompanying booklet but it’s equally rewarding to just listen to the native tongue.

The splendour begins with the deeply affecting ‘Ae Fond Kiss’ progresses through ‘Bothan Airigh Am Braighe Raithneach’ and ‘By Yon Castle Wa’ to ‘The Lea Rig’ and a delightful piano-led ‘My Love's In Germanie’. There’s the almost obligatory ‘Song Composed In August’ (aka Now Westlin Winds) and ‘MacPherson's Rant’ but both subtly and softly delivered to stand them apart from the commonly heard delivery. And that’s part of the beauty of ‘The Seas Between Us’ ... tradition combined with origination.

Playing on ‘The Seas Between Us’ are Sophie Ramsay (voice, guitar, piano) Matheu Watson (guitars, fiddle, mandolin, harmonium, prepared instruments, synthesiser) Fraser Fifield (low whistle, lowland pipes, kaval) Jim Rattigan (French horn) Ben Cashell (cello) and Findlay Napier (vocals).


Review: Tim Carroll

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