HANNEKE CASSEL – For Reasons Unseen (Cassel Records HJC2009)

As one of the most exploited instruments in folk music, the fiddle is probably my favourite and when it is performed with such fluidity by the likes of Hanneke Cassel then I’m sure that you too will be enchanted by its hypnotic sound. Gently ushering the listener in with the sumptuous piano chords (also performed by the multi-talented Cassel) “The Ides Of March” opens the recording in fine style. Joined on second fiddle by Lissa Schneckenburger and the deep throaty sounds of Natalie Haas’s cello and you indeed have a marriage made in heaven. The melody is haunting and in some ways could (I personally think) have been expanded such is the beauty and simplicity of the piece. Still, we have a whole album to go and the quality is maintained throughout with inventive use of dynamics on the sweeping, swooping jig “Blackberry Festival Footrace/For Reals”. This is a real master-class in how bowing technique can play a major part in the make-up of a tune and proves a more than pleasing audio delight to the ears. With the exception of one track, substituting bass with the use of cellos throughout the production drives the material along at a cracking pace and it’s nice to note that apart from the sparing but superb guitar accompaniment, the music is defiantly ‘string’ propelled. For an album that is more or less totally instrumental it certainly gets the thumbs up from me and I can’t wait for the next one!

PETE FYFE

Artist’s website: www.hannekecassel.com


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