Rachel Sermanni is perhaps one of the most beautifully enchanting and beguiling acts on the stage today with her smooth and soulful tones that she deftly weaves into a series of delicate and jubilant melodies. Her evocative tones ring out like church bells and her latest release So It Turns is a truly breath-taking work that carries all the warmth and familiarity as if she was drawing you in for a close hug.
This tenderness and familiarity is something that Sermanni carries with her throughout the entire album. This warmth, this passion; it works for her in a peculiar and unique way, making her seem somewhat distant and yet also overwhelmingly passionate. It’s as if you can hear a trace of vulnerability wavering in her voice but also the fierce and fervent control with which she brings it to life. Sermanni is a performer who glows like embers but seems as though she could ignite again at any moment. Her voice is as natural as daylight and every bit as uplifting as she applies them to her careful melodies that echo the likes of Nico with her soft and slightly husky vocals that overly sparse and melancholic tracks. The main difference is how Sermanni interacts with her music, swirling and meandering with it she seems to channel herself through the flow of the sounds she brings to life.
What’s uplifting with Sermanni’s work though is how it feels as though she has perfectly balanced folk music with its modern-day contemporary counterparts as well as peppering the whole album with country here and there. Songs such as What Can I Do highlight the disparate work that she has collected but in the most inimitable way. It is as though she has fleshed out her songs again and again until she has a grandiose masterpiece that anyone would be proud of. But instead of stopping there she then proceeds to strip it all the way back to the roots, back to what can be called the bare essentials. The result of this effort is an album where not a single note is wasted. Sharp and concise; her music is bold and bracing with a collection of earnest lyrics that anyone can identify with.
Sermanni’s Scottish heritage has clearly influenced her music over time but these days it feels as though she has absorbed something from across the globe from country to blues and she has used this to create a heady cocktail of experimental songs that will tear down folk music as you know it and reconstruct it in her own image.
10th August – Album Launch – Edinburgh, Summerhall
11th Sep – Aberdeen, The Blue Lamp
12th Sep – Inverness, Eden Court
13th Sep – Stirling, The Tollbooth
19th – 22nd Sep – Shetland (Songwriting Festival)
27th Sep – Galway, The Black Gate
28th Sep – Dublin, Lost Lane
2nd Oct – Album Launch – Glasgow, St Andrews in the Square
10th Oct – London, St Pancras Church
11th Oct – Husthwaite Village Hall
12th Oct – Bury, The Met
13th Oct – Kingskerswell Parish Church
19th Oct – Durham, The Old Launderette
Review by Joe Knipe