We’ve all played a recorder sometime in the dim and distant past, whether we wanted to or not, but we never played like Finn Collinson. These days we usually hear recorders played in baroque ensembles or slightly fey folk groups but they don’t play like Finn Collinson either. Finn is a multi-instrumentalist but he makes various recorders the lead instruments on his debut album, Call To Mind, its title a play on the Latin recordari. He is supported by Emma Beech on oboe and cor anglais, Archie Churchill-Moss on button accordion, Rowan Collinson and Katriona Gilmore on fiddle with bass by Tom Leader and Josh Clark and percussion by Clark and Jonno Gaze.
The opening set, ‘The January Walk’, has all the hallmarks of the Celtic tradition but comprises three modern tunes while the second pairs the old-time ‘Elk River Blues’ with the old English ‘Chain Cotillion’ for a lovely slow set. Unexpectedly, Finn switches to song with a jaunty take on ‘Hanging Johnny’ which, as he points out, has nothing to do with execution. He also features banjo and mandolin on this one. ‘Evie’s & Emma’s’ are two of Finn’s own tunes which he plays on F whistle but he reverts to recorder for ‘Ordinary Streets’ which he pairs with the Morris tune, ‘Orange In Bloom’.
The second song is ‘Banks Of The Nile’, given a driving beat with the lead vocals shared with Emma. That is followed by three original tunes, ‘FolkEast Waltz’ (did I forget to mention that Finn is from East Anglia?), ‘Aardvark’ and ‘Black Mountains’. The third and final song is, appropriately, Jimmy Rankin’s ‘Orangedale Whistle’ before the record closes with the 18th century ‘Tune For The Bullfinch’ from a volume of tunes supposedly used to teach birds to sing. Did it actually work?
Simply by changing the emphasis of lead instrument, Finn has produced a lovely album which wouldn’t work anywhere near as well with all strings. Call To Mind is not revolutionary and it won’t scare the traditionalists’ horses but its delightful style should bring his name to a wider audience.
Artist’s website: www.finncollinson.com
‘The January Walk’ – live: