ESSENTIALLY INVISIBLE TO THE EYE is Karen Tweed’s latest recording and, in being entirely solo, is a departure from her extensive collaborative work which has dominated her career since the early 1990s.
Born in London in 1963 to an Irish mother and English father, Karen took up the accordion at the age of eleven. Since turning professional in the late 1980s, she has appeared on over thirty albums from her early days with The Kathryn Tickell Band to being a founding member of the pioneering all female Poozies, through the Anglo-Swedish ensemble SWAP, American collaboration Undertoe with Stuart Kenney, Marko Packard and Rodney Miller, to The Two Duos Quartet with Andy Cutting, Chris Wood and Ian Carr. Karen’s duo work with Ian Carr, Andy Cutting and also Roger Wilson and John Dipper has left many an audience mesmerised at her breathtaking musicianship, while her trios with Hannah James and Becky Price in Hell Said The Duchess and with Carolyn Robson and Kevin Dempsey are more examples of her diversity and creativity. Continue reading Karen Tweed – Essentially Invisible to the Eye
Opening with a standard ‘blues’ riff, you feel as if you’re into conventional music pigeon-holeing until that is the introduction of Camac harp that adds such a deep, resonant texture it makes you think “wow”… this is really different! It’s that unusual texture and presentation layered by the evocative, almost eerie singing of the band on the Gaelic “Ho Mhorag” (imagine Harpies luring Jason and his Argonauts to their deaths) that the song gently adheres to the hypnotic beat so characteristic of indigenous waulking songs. Topped by an absolutely gorgeous tune “John Stephen Of Chance Inn” with its seductively simple arrangement this is what the girls do best. With four original members; Mary MacMaster (harps), Patsy Seddon (harps/fiddle), Sally Barker (guitars) Eilidh Shaw (fiddle) the quartet are now joined by the talented Mairearad Green (piano accordion/pipe drone) and there’s a sprightly ‘feel’ to the band that has been somewhat lacking of old. Moving into Puppini Sisters style barbershop harmonies on “Black Eyed Susan” proves an interesting musical diversion although I’m not sure about the mannered lead vocals. Painting a vivid musical portrait conjuring images of technicolour landscapes and a hoped for better life in Sally Barker’s exquisite “Canada” segueing into “Oh My Country” and hopefully you have some idea of where this album’s coming from. Perhaps not as ‘in your face’ as I thought it might be, the recording has plenty to challenge the listener and that’s no bad thing in this commercially led industry of ours. Contact www.poozies.com PETE FYFE