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Catriona McKay & Chris Stout Seavaigers (MSM)

In their duo performances, Dundee-born harper Catriona McKay and Shetland fiddler Chris Stout almost routinely take traditional music into the realms of high art as each inspires the other into spontaneous dicing with danger while remaining aware of the value of great melodies.

Something similar is at work here, although on a grander scale, with composer Sally Beamish providing new music for McKay, Stout and the Scottish Ensemble in her gloriously atmospheric Seavaigers. With its aptly titled Storm, Lament and Haven movements, Beamish has caught the pair's strengths perfectly with a variously unsettled, forlorn and elated depiction of sea voyaging. The natural sounding collaborative partnership with the Ensemble continues in the superb Moder Dy which follows: a three-part musical examination of tidal currents and their effects, moving from keening notes to dancing rhythms into a final sequence, Sunstone, that sounds like McKay and Stout's other meeting place (Shetland band Fiddlers Bid) writ large, bold and beautiful.

Rob Adams

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