‘East of Alexandria’ from Kadia “…tight-as-you-like close harmony singing”(March 20, 2015)
The debut album, ‘East of Alexandria’ from Kadia includes eight original songs and four traditional arrangements spanning classic traditional folk themes such as piracy, murder, beating the French, sailors’ shoreline adventures, seduced wives and death by the teeth of wild beast … somewhat death fixated, macabre and bloody but all perfectly acceptable folk song fare. There’s also some superb song writing, accomplished instrumentation and tight-as-you-like close harmony singing.
Their versions of ‘traditionals’ include a quick-fire run through the well-known ‘Raggle Taggle Gypsy’, recognised by numerous titles with multiple lyric variations, which severally describe gypsies stealing a lady or said lady running off with gypsies, then there’s ‘Mary in the Silver Tide’ with its tale of forced love, jealous rage and horrible murder and keeping the nautical theme, ‘Just As The Tide Was Flowing’ telling of a lucky sailor returning to shore and meeting a young lady. By contrast, Kadia take equally folk-orientated but original directions with ‘Beast of Bodmin Moor’ about a maiden who rides over misty fields to meet her secret lover and instead gets eaten by a wild beast, ‘The Navigator’, recalling an RAF career during World War 2, and ‘My Friend’ – an archetypal ‘man down on his luck’ story, who recovers, realises the value of friends and decides to help others.
Other gems include, ‘Origin of Fire’ a Native American legend, which has the fox discovering the secret of fire from fireflies, ‘The Rise and Fall of Mary Read’,whichthrough a selection of jigs and reels tells the story of England’s only female pirate, and ‘East of Alexandria’ inspired by Horatio Nelson’s victory at the ‘Battle of the Nile’. The album closes with a fine three-part harmony version of ‘The Parting Glass’, still commonly sung to close family events, social gatherings and even the odd gig.
Kadia are Lee Cuff (cello, vocals) Chris Bailey (guitar, vocals) and David Hoyland (ukulele, percussion, vocals) with Rachel Bell (violin on ‘The Rise and Fall of Mary Read’). Find them at: kadiaband.co.uk
Reviewer: Tim Carroll