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LOUISE BICHAN - Out Of My Own Light: The Margaret S. Tait Project

LOUISE BICHAN - Out Of My Own Light: The Margaret S. Tait Project
Swanbister Records SWAN001CD

Orkney artist and musician Louise Bichan has created a sound sculpture of a journey her grandmother, Margaret Tait, made to Canada in 1950. The visit was a crucial one, enabling the lady to connect with family there, and also to help her decide which of two suitors to marry. In 2013, Louise traced her journey and the result is an album of tone pieces blending traditional folk violin with classical overtones.

The album’s 12 tracks, all composed by Louise, focus on significant Orkney places and people in the story; the title track referring to a phrase Margaret used to explain her need to find clarity in her thinking. For the most part, Louise’s fiddle is the main instrument, but she is finely supported by five musicians on piano, guitar, cello, percussion and bass. Vocals are shared amongst the group.

While in Canada, Margaret Tait recorded some traditional Scots songs for a radio station. These included The Bluebells Of Scotland, John Anderson My Jo and My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose. The original recording is reproduced, complete with the clipped precise tones of the studio announcer, standing in contrast to the swirling moods and impressions generated by Louise.

A booklet accompanying the CD has photographs and notes about the overall project.

Abstract, emotive and atmospheric, Out Of My Own Light explores intriguing links in the hinterland between different genres of music, perhaps reflecting the nature of family links and the interplay of change and continuity across generations.

Jim McCourt

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This album was reviewed in Issue 118 of The Living Tradition magazine.