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Niamh Ni Charra, Edinburgh Folk Club

Niamh Ni Charra may have joked that she would be playing jazz after her concertina developed a dodgy A note in transit but her whole performance followed in the spirit of a grand jazz tradition: the visiting soloist playing with a local rhythm section, a situation that pitches together musicians who possibly haven't even met before and who have no preparation beyond a quick run-through beforehand.

Ali Hutton, of the Treacherous Orchestra and many another outfit, was that local rhythm section, and a fine job he did of it, lending guitar accompaniments that spurred on Ni Charra's fiddle and concertina tunes with well-judged impetus and framing her songs with apposite harmonic colour and shape.

Kerry-born Ni Charra is an able musician – she had to be to improvise her way around melodies in trying, not always successfully, to avoid that rogue note – and her fiddling especially has character, her woody tone redolent of a long tradition being carried on, whether through venerable jigs, reels and hornpipes or her own tunes such as the now cheekily renamed The Rhubarb & Ginger Jam That My Grandmother Used to Make.

Her singing, while never over-demonstrative, follows the emotional thrust of her always informative introductions. This was particularly evidenced by a lovely version of the immediately post-American Civil War cautionary tale, Paddy's Lamentation, an apt choice and performance on this first night of the Carrying Stream Festival, held in honour of the late folklorist and song collector Hamish Henderson. The festival continues until next Wednesday (www.carryingstreamfestival.co.uk).


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