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ROISIN WHITE - With Thanks (Le Buiochas)

ROISIN WHITE - With Thanks (Le Buiochas)
Veteran VT156CD 

This is her second recording for John Howson’s label and remedies a long gap since Roisin’s debut, The First Of My Rambles.  It was originally on cassette and was released on CD in 2000. This fine singer from Co. Down came to prominence in the 1990s in a pairing with another Northern Irish singer, Rosie Stewart and whilst learning much of her repertory either directly, or from recordings of such acknowledged source singers as Paddy Tunney, Len Graham, and her friend Sarah Anne O’Neill, it could be argued that she’s now to be regarded as such herself? Academics could and do debate “where do we draw the line?” constantly but assuredly she is what this magazine would term a Tradition Bearer. Certainly there was music and song in her family and Roisin refers to her Mother’s hand-written songbook in the extensive notes forming part of the attractively presented CD booklet. 

Her style is a straight-ahead, no frills conveyance of lyric with a clarity of diction and a confident, sauntering approach which is quite engaging. Jaunty is the word I’m seeking! There’s no what I would call ‘stunt singing’ here – her Bold Jack Donohue tells the story purely and simply in a direct ‘the-song-speaks-for-itself’ manner that is echoed throughout. McGuinness is an excellent version of (Roving Around) The County Tyrone from Sam Henry’s collection, whilst Tandragee is appropriately rollicking!  Ornamentation? – spare. Vocal swoops and slides? – look elsewhere; - here there is nothing to distract from narrative and melodic thrust.

Following an illness some four years back, and her retirement from teaching, she now spends much of her time in West Clare and doesn’t travel as extensively as previously. It’s been some years since I saw her sing in person but thanks (Buiochas) Roisin, for this welcome and rewarding reminder of your significance in the scheme of things.

Clive Pownceby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 86 of The Living Tradition magazine.