Album Review: Josie Duncan and Pablo Lafuente – The Morning Tempest

Josie Duncan and Pablo Lafuente are a musical duo quite unlike anything you have ever heard before. With an eclectic heritage between them where they call The Isle of Lewis, Glasgow and Spain home the duo create a blend of music that draws influence from across the world as this globe trotting duo combine their experiences to create the album that has become The Morning Tempest.

Opening with The Night Visiting Song you are met with a song that despite being gentle and acoustic, can only be described as a wall of sound. Jovial, dancing and bold The Night Visiting Song gives credence to the powerful and exciting changes that this duo can make to the folk scene as waves of happiness drench you. However, to further showcase their talents the duo immediately juxtapose this with the more dark and sombre Thug Mi’n Oidhche. Thought it might be slightly jarring after such a warm and enriching opening this juxtaposition is actually yet another refreshing aspect to their music as they prove their considerable skills and show how they can enrapture you throughout their every song. They can make your spirit soar with a carnival of sound or they can steep you in emotion with their sparse, tender and almost melancholic tunes. The music that the pair produce is among the most infectious we have ever heard. Stunning guitar melodies from the genius hands of Lafuente that can flick between the haunting and the invigorating at the drop of a hat. Combining this talent with dextrous fiddle tunes, tender pipes and dark cello tunes the result is an album that can move you foot and heart.

‘The Great Escape’ – with Josie and guest vocalist Colin Macleod walking around the gorgeous Isle of Lewis.

Atop of this is the fact that Duncan has a voice that could shame an angel. Smooth, sweet and soulful her vocals ring out like a bell loud and clear. With a tender Gaelic lilt to her name she houses a voice that is every bit as infectious as the music she surrounds herself with. As if this wasn’t enough, as Duncan and Lafuente place their roots across the world it hasn’t just influenced their music but their lyrics as in the space of just nine songs Duncan sings in a stunning blend of Gaelic, Scots and English. The talent of this powerhouse duo has made them one of the most demanded acts on the folk scene since they first came to light back in 2016 and with The Morning Tempest it is easy to comprehend this global love. Music that can either haunt you or elevate you that is then combined with one of the most charming and beautiful voices of the century is something that very few can boast. The whole experience that this pair bring is something the can bring prickles to your skin.

Duncan and Lafuente are one of the most dextrous and delicate folk acts on the scene today. They combine a careful collection of old and new as they turn their hands to old folk ballads as well as their contemporary original compositions. Their music is a conveyance of emotion like a journey through time and they head it all up with a voice that could guide a ship to port in a storm. The Morning Tempest is one of the most wonderous albums this year and serves to make you hungry for their next release.

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Review by Joe Knipe