This year sees the release of East, a form of concept EP release from Iona Fyfe Band. The six track CD is focussed on the oral tradition of Eastern Scotland and aims to encapsulate Eastern Scottish folksong and bring it back into the modern day. Not to spoil the surprise but this is something that they have done with roaring success.
Overlaying each and every track on this CD is the sweet, soothing and honeyed vocals of Iona Fyfe herself. When it comes to folk music, she has one of the most stunning voices on the circuit today. Her beautiful and subtle Scottish lilt flickers in her words and catches in your ears with every syllable. Her voice is soothing and versatile, as adept with happy, dancing folk tunes as she is with morose and tender ballads. Songs such as Cairn o’ Mount really bring her talents to life as this is where she performs solo and uninterrupted by any musical score. This song is a perfect example of how stunningly powerful her vocals are.
The music of the band is understated and gentle in a perfectly complimentary way as it accompanies Fyfe’s tender vocals. Fiddles soar however with bhodrans, tinkling piano keys, gently plucked guitar strings and of course a scattering of bagpipes. Even when songs such as Earl Richard do burst to life there is still something beautifully calm and collected about these perfectly crafted songs. With East they have created a series of songs that are so soft and subtle that they swirl around you like the breeze on a summers day.
There are plenty of Celtic bands on the circuit today so it might seem crass to say we’ve never heard anything like this before but this is a CD that really does make you think ‘I’ve never heard anything like this before’. Between Fyfe’s vocals and the music that she is enveloped in there is s quiet power to these songs that feels almost mythical. In just six tracks they are able to transport you to a mist dappled Scottish hillside in another time and take your very breath away in the process.
More info can be found at https://ionafyfemusic.com/
Review by Joe Knipe