Link to Living Tradition Homepage






Trad Records TRAD011 

A debut solo album of 10 self-penned tunes on melodeon, Waterman reflects on Hartwin Dhoore’s place of residence, Saaremaa, an Estonian island. Hartwin is one of the popular band of Belgian brothers, Trio Dhoore, fans of which will be displeased to hear that the group had planned a farewell tour for 2021 – perhaps the coronavirus will turn this into a longer goodbye!

The album itself is a low-key, highly melodic affair, which will be a breath of fresh (coastal) air to those becoming tired of large-scale ‘shock and awe’ arrangements of traditional and neo-traditional instrumentals. There is a corresponding risk of listeners treating this sort of material as merely pleasant background, not actually a crime in itself, but a mode of listening that would not do justice to the compositions.

There are some lovely tunes here (I particularly liked Lighthouse and Coastal Walks – you get the idea with the titles) and it’s worth noting that Hartwin is far from an inexperienced writer – prior to this album he had already published a book of 100 of his tunes.

In the same way that Trio Dhoore’s albums should probably be on the shelves of those who have enjoyed groups such as Leveret and Moore Moss Rutter, Waterman is worthy of investigation by, for a start, fans of Andy Cutting and Karen Tweed. I also think this album might have a wider appeal; it might be attractive as a means of providing some contrast with the louder records in one’s collection, but the tunes stand on their own merits.

Hartwin has a YouTube channel on which he has posted short films explaining the inspiration behind these tunes – he walks the viewer around the relevant locations. This is a great idea; it’s also a good way of sampling the album. A very enjoyable project altogether.

Paul Mansfield


This review appeared in Issue 137 of The Living Tradition magazine