Review Archive

‘Haunting’ from Christina Stewart

(October 04, 2012)

Now here’s something of a rarity - a folk concept-style double album - one CD of song, the other of spoken Haunting cover cscomword. ‘Haunting’ from Christina Stewart raises the bar on the traditional interface between story and song. Rather than simply mixing spoken words with songs, this double album takes you through a collection of sung and spoken narratives with interwoven themes and morals.

No doubt about it, this album demands much of the listener and to get the most form the experience it requires your attention throughout. And yes, it takes time but accept the challenge, persevere and you will be rewarded. From ‘Blow, ye Winds, Blow’ with its warning based around quickness of mind to evade disaster through its counterpart story ‘The King’s Three Questions’, which emphasises the same skill; to ‘Tam Glen’ a retelling of Robert Burns' tale of young infatuation with a match more preferable than the local lord and its accompaniment story ‘Diving for Love’.

There’s an absolute wealth of myth and legend within, delivered in Gaelic, Scots and English. The fabled transformation tale of ‘The Grey Selkie’ is once again brought to life through the song itself and the illustrative narrative on ‘Selkies and Grey Seals’. Arguably the basis of Thomas the Rhymer, the Scottish ballad, ‘True Thomas’ delves further into fairyland folklore, which in spoken tale becomes ‘Thomas the Dreamer’, with yet another view of the legend.

The album launches on 06 October 2012 at Tulloch Castle in the Scottish Highlands. Details here.

Performing on ‘Haunting’ are Christina Stewart (songs and stories) Christine McClenaghan (songs) Alpin Stewart (songs) Andrew MacIntosh (folktales) Iain M Campbell (commentaries and responses) Grace Stewart-Skinner (laughter)  Martin MacDonald (guitar and arrangements) Jo Baird (cello) and Christine McClenaghan & Grace Stewart-Skinner (percussion).

Reviewer: Dan Holland

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