Violet Jacob was a poet and novelist born of what would have been called a noble family back then. She died in 1946 aged eighty-three, her life spanning the turn of a century and two world wars. A number of musicians have adapted her poetry over the years but recently the “prettier” ones have been selected and anglicised. On Ghaists In The Air Hector Christie and Chris Edwards remain faithful to the Scots language and the Angus accent in which Violet wrote and having a dozen pieces all together lays the scope of her work open for public approval.
The first track is ‘Hogmanay’, a tale of drunken revelries, and not what you’d expect unless you were familiar with Jacob’s work. It’s set to a traditional tune and grabs your attention from the off. Chris and Hector have provided tunes where necessary and borrowed some of the best. The late Jim Reid provides three of them including ‘The Wild Geese’ which has become a great favourite. The other composers are Sandy Stanage and Carole Prior whose ‘Baltic Street’ I’m sure I heard her sing when she and Alan lived in the benighted south.
Violet’s only son died on the Somme and two poems here reflect on the losses. ‘Halloween’ is a superb juxtaposition of the absence of a young man with the season of ghosts and spirits; another tune by Jim Reid. Chris wrote the tune for the rather angrier ‘The Kirk Beside The Sands’
Chris provides the multi-instrumental accompaniments aided sparingly by Dean Clay and Kathy Gentles providing double bass and cello and Jane Hinks whose hurdy-gurdy and spoons add touches of jollity. The music does enough to maintain interest but keeps the words front and centre – a perfect balance, in fact.
Artists’ website: www.hectorchrismusic.wordpress.com