‘Varieties’ from Alma - variety delivered exactly as promised

(June 22, 2016)

The recipe sounds simple, bring together three highly accomplished musicians and let the magic happen, unfortunately such groupings can result in a somewhat fragmented sound as each individual vies for position. Alma CD front coverThis is emphatically not the case with Alma, the coming together of fiddlers John Dipper and Emily Askew with guitarist and tambura player Adrian Lever. Their debut album ‘Varieties’ could not have a more apposite name for Alma take their inspiration from fiddle traditions in England, Tunisia, Iraq, Sweden and Poland then add their own edge to create the most harmonious array of varieties.

The album positively sweeps and soars as the instruments interlace and entwine to take the listener on an incredible aural journey through its rich diversity... hornpipe, bouree, polska, mazurka, jig and a morris tune. Inspired arrangements of traditional expression reside in perfect harmony with original composition ... ‘Clark’s Hornpipe’ and ‘Bourees’ sit happily alongside ‘A-Mollpolskan/ Happy Outcome’ and ‘Bishop of Chester’s Jig/ Winterbourne’. Softly reflective themes engage in agreement with frenzied enjoyment, gentle illustration sits together with precise enunciation... and ‘Varieties’ delivers exactly as promised.

Playing on ‘Varieties’ are Emily Askew (fiddle) John Dipper (fiddle) and Adrian Lever (guitar) with guests on selected tracks Louise Duggan (percussion) and Duncan Lyle (double bass).

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Review: Tim Carroll

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