Uddevalla is a beautiful album and, in its own way, delightfully unconventional. Lauren is a fiddle player and singer, originally from Irvine – just across the water from Arran – now living in Glasgow and this record, named after a town in Sweden, is her debut album. She is supported by Calum Muir on guitar and synths, drummer and percussionist Paul Jennings, James Lindsay on loan from Breabach and whistler Ross Ainslie.
The music is a mixture of traditional, originals and covers and the traditional songs and tunes come from all over the world from Haiti to Greece. The opener, ‘Padangbat’, is written by Lauren and sounds quite Scottish when it isn’t soaring off into flights of musical fantasy. ‘Kouman Nou Ye’ combines a Haitian song with Lauren’s delicate riding over synths and hand percussion with a French branle. I should say that Uddevalla passed my concentration test with flying colours – listening for the first time while doing some other jobs I was constantly drawn back to check on what I was hearing.
‘Myrakle’ is a tune by ill-fated Shetland fiddler Leonard Scollay paired with ‘Psychopomps’ by Ali Hutton, a track that gives the band the chance to cut loose a bit in contrast to the traditional ‘Talariya Magarlya’ from India, a hypnotic song resting on an unobtrusive drone and decorated with more of Jennings’ percussion and what I presume to be Ainslie’s bansuri. It’s quite gorgeous.
Then we’re off to Macedonia and Greece for ‘Horo’, then Scandinavia for ‘Reiseslått’ by the prolific Gjermund Larsen before returning home for ‘Rhesus Macaque’ written by Collier, Muir and Jennings, which is another flight of musical fancy. It’s only for a quick shower and a change of clothes, however, before ‘Traktor’ combining a tune by Donald Shaw with one by Olav Mjelva, described as a hardcore Norwegian fiddler! Finally, the title track pairs two traditional Swedish tunes, one of which reminds me of ‘Those Were The Days’.
I can only repeat what I said initially: Uddevalla is beautiful and unconventional in its combination and interpretation of the material. In addition there is so much going on to keep you happy. If you hurry you might be able to get a copy for Christmas.
Artist’s Website: https://www.laurencollier.co/
‘Kouman Nou Ye’ – official video:
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