Maid on the Shore

by Niamh Boadle

Niamh Boadle Young up and coming singer at home with both traditional and modern folk music.

Growing up on Lancashire’s Fylde Coast, though with an Irish father, Niamh has been immersed in both English folk music and the Irish song, music and dance tradition from an early age. A multi-instrumentalist with a lilting voice, she has represented Britain at the All-Ireland Fleadh many times and was also a YFA finalist at the age of fifteen. It was, therefore, a natural progression to study on the Folk and Traditional Music degree course in Newcastle. This has expanded her musical horizons even further, and helped her to explore her role in the Irish diaspora through study at the Irish World Academy of Music & Dance in Limerick…

“What comes over is a conviction, rare in younger performers, that the song can speak for itself.” Paul & Liz Davenport “Great songwriter!!! She is magic!!!” Anthony John Clarke “A voice to listen out for, a future to keep an eye on!” Sandra Kerr

1 Forget-me-not 
Niamh Boadle 
This is based on a Preston Chronicle newspaper clipping from August 1881. Annie Ratcliffe was the young daughter of a publican in Preston who started dating an older lad. Annie’s father, recognising John Aspinall Simpson for the wastrel he was, banned them from seeing each other. However, he couldn’t prevent the tragic spiral of events that then unfolded. The song title refers to the poignant plea on Annie’s memorial card. 

2 Dark Inishowen 
A beautiful song from north Donegal - I learned this from the singing of Mary Dillon. When I sang this at the Inishowen Singing Festival, they were delighted that it had made it out of the area! It’s a place name-dropper, centring on a young man searching for love. 

3 Green Bushes 
My sister gave me a collection of Australian folk songs a few years ago. This was one of the first that caught my eye on account of its tune, also used by Vaughan Williams, Grainger and Butterworth. When the new man asks her to forsake her true love and only be true to him, I can’t help but feel it’s never going to end well… 

4 The Only Life Gloria Knows 
Anthony John Clarke 
This song is about a homeless girl in Belfast. It was one of the first I heard from AJ and has always been a favourite of mine. 

5 Ice on the Water 
George Reynolds 
This tune came from the teaching of Julian Taylor when I was a part of the Lancashire-based Palatine Fiddlers. This is, however, an American waltz by Reynolds, who used to play in The Rhythm Method String Band in Boston. It has undergone a sea change in my playing.

6 The Flower of Finae 
Thomas Davis 
A fascinating song I learned from Karen Casey whilst studying for a semester at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick. Written by Thomas Davis in the 1840s (a founding member of the Young Irelanders) its setting is the Battle of Ramillies in 1706, when the exiled Irish, the ‘Wild Geese’ led by Lord Clare, fought alongside the French against the British and Dutch armies. Seen through a love story, it reprises themes of Irish courage and resistance, with the intention of inspiring a new generation. 

7 I’m a Fading Day by Day 
Trad./ Mrs Elizabeth Smith 
Elizabeth Smith was a gypsy from Elsecar, South Yorkshire. It is thought she created these lyrics by plundering One Monday Morning or The White Cockade hence some familiar lines. Sam Henry’s ‘Songs of the People’ also has a version called Pining Day by Day and in some versions there’s even a happy ending! I gained this version from Paul and Liz Davenport’s collection ‘Down Yorkshire Lanes’. Interestingly, it has no Roud number! 

8 Roll you Sweet Rain 
Kate Fagan 
I first saw Kate at Sidmouth Folk Week on one of her rare visits to the UK. Taken from her first album, ‘Diamond Wheel’, this is a thoughtful song about setting out on life’s journey. 

9 Creggan White Hare 
Another song learnt from Karen Casey - Tyrone ‘sportsmen’ go down to help Barney Conway hunt the legendary white hare. It turns out to be a little unsuccessful. 

10 Bill’s Missed the Last Boat Back 
Niamh Boadle 
A song for my grandad, Bill Boadle, who was an RAF wireless operator in WW2 in the Far East. All the events in this song are true – at least that’s how he told it! No ducks were harmed in the re-telling of Bill’s tale. 

11 Boys of Mullaghbawn 
Squire Jackson of the Forkhill Estate in County Armagh was respected as an unusually fair landlord, but when he died in 1787 his successor reverted to type, treating the estate workers harshly and then sending a group of local men for transportation for being involved in the United Irishmen. The level of outrage in the song suggests that these ‘heroes’ were betrayed to the authorities. 

12 Red Dust Road 
Niamh Boadle 
Visiting my sister Roisín in Australia, we travelled around New South Wales, driving for many hours each day and camping at night. This memorable trip inspired this song. 

13 Maid on the Shore 
A lovely young lady is walking along the shore when the captain of a passing ship spots her. Eventually, she is enticed aboard and offers to sing. Maybe she’s a siren? Maybe they’re pirates? Anyway, there’s definitely robbery on the high seas in this song! 
This is based on a Preston Chronicle newspaper clipping from August 1881. Annie Ratcliffe was the young daughter of a publican in Preston who started dating an older lad. Annie’s father
Dark Inishowen
A beautiful song from north Donegal - I learned this from the singing of Mary Dillon. When I sang this at the Inishowen Singing Festival
Green Bushes
My sister gave me a collection of Australian folk songs a few years ago. This was one of the first that caught my eye on account of its tune
Sample not available
The Only Life Gloria Knows
This song is about a homeless girl in Belfast. It was one of the first I heard from AJ and has always been a favourite of mine.
Ice on the Water
This tune came from the teaching of Julian Taylor when I was a part of the Lancashire-based Palatine Fiddlers. This is
Sample not available
The Flower of Finae
A fascinating song I learned from Karen Casey whilst studying for a semester at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick. Written by Thomas Davis in the 1840s (a founding member of the Young Irelanders) its setting is the Battle of Ramillies in 1706
Sample not available
I’m a Fading Day by Day
Elizabeth Smith was a gypsy from Elsecar
Sample not available
Roll you Sweet Rain
I first saw Kate at Sidmouth Folk Week on one of her rare visits to the UK. Taken from her first album
Sample not available
Creggan White Hare
Another song learnt from Karen Casey - Tyrone ‘sportsmen’ go down to help Barney Conway hunt the legendary white hare. It turns out to be a little unsuccessful.
Sample not available
Bill’s Missed the Last Boat Back
A song for my grandad
Sample not available
Boys of Mullaghbawn
Squire Jackson of the Forkhill Estate in County Armagh was respected as an unusually fair landlord
Sample not available
Red Dust Road
Visiting my sister Roisín in Australia
Sample not available
Maid on the Shore
A lovely young lady is walking along the shore when the captain of a passing ship spots her. Eventually

Northern Sky

Allan Wilkinson

Niamh Boadle's second album release is a showcase for the various areas this young musician covers; her fine interpretations of traditional and contemporary songs for instance, or her command over her own songwriting skills, not to mention her credentials as an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, particularly a flair for the open-tunings on her trusty Fylde. The only area not covered here is her nifty Irish step dancing, but that can be witnessed elsewhere. Born and raised in St. Annes, Lancashire, Niamh has grown as a musician over the last five years, since her debut WILD ROSE in 2010. This could be attributed to her studies up in Newcastle, the breeding ground for many a future folk star these days. With Niamh though, a lot of that knowledge and experience was already there in her Irish blood on her dad's side, especially her singing style, which is at once imbued with that distinct Irish authenticity.

As a song writer, Niamh takes one or two artistic liberties, such as on the opening song Forget-Me-Not, which is devoid of rhyme, a largely accepted songwriting device, which might have been awkward but manages to succeed due to its engaging storyline.

The story telling continues with a fine reading of Anthony John Clarke's The Only Life Gloria Knows, which not only clearly demonstrates the sweetness of Niamh's voice but also showcases her informed guitar playing as well. Sometimes the guitar is put down for one or two unaccompanied songs such as the traditional Dark Inishowen from Donegal and Thomas Davis' The Flower of Finae, both of which require little more than her voice, with just her own bodhran accompaniment on Creggan White Hare.

Niamh also demonstrates her handling of the fiddle with Ice on the Water, a tune she learned whilst playing with the local Palatine Fiddlers. Helping out on the album is Bellowhead's Paul Sartin on piano who also adds some of his trademark oboe on Kate Fagan's Roll You Sweet Rain, one of the album's little gems.

Folk Northwest

Derek Gifford

I'm now going to embarrass Niamh (pronounced 'Neve') with my opening remarks because I remember a young girl who bounced around (literally) many of our Folkus workshops in the early days and drove us all mad with her endless energy! That lively youngster has now come of age and all that energy has been channelled into the form of a talented performer.

From the first track, the self-penned Forget-me-not, Niamh illustrates several talents including her song writing skills, guitar work and fine vocals. Throughout this album Niamh's Irish influences show. The lilting and the decoration of the voice is typical of the old style traditional Irish singers. There are a number of great traditional songs on this album including Dark Inishowen, Green Bushes, Creggan White Hare, Boys of Mullaghbawn (try saying that after a drink or three!) and the title track Maid on the Shore. All are well performed with her clear diction and in a relaxed vocal style. Her voice has matured since her last album and it shows.

Niamh also takes on songs from other song writers such as Anthony John Clarke's The Only Life Gloria Knows, and Kate Fagan's Roll You Sweet Rain which is particularly well arranged. Thankfully Niamh doesn't fall into the trap of putting on a false mid-Atlantic accent on any of the songs.

She even manages to include a song she wrote for her grandad Bill called Bill's Missed The Last Boat which lilts along as it tells its true tale. The only tune on the CD is Ice on the Water where Niamh demonstrates her excellent fiddle playing. She also plays bodhran, whistle and mandolin on some tracks. Paul Sartin provides extra accompaniment with piano and oboe on some of the tracks too making this a very complete album.

This is good stuff from Niamh showing that all those Folkus workshops and her Folk and Traditional Music degree course at Newcastle have stood her in good stead. She has the makings of a top notch professional folk artiste.

The album is available direct from the Wild Goose web site and from Proper Music distribution or from Niamh at her gigs.

UK Folk Music

Alan Morley

This is a brilliant album by Niamh ( pronounced Neeve ) released on the WildGoose lable. It's hard to believe that she is just twenty one years old as she displays the skills and accomplishments of a very experienced performer. She has an arrestingly clear voice which allows you to hear every word she delivers with a soft lilt with a hint of Kate Rusby.

In addition, she is a classically trained guitarist and violinist. As if that's not enough, Niamh is also an Irish Step Dancer and involved with Star & Shadow rapper sword dancers. There should be a law against possessing all that talent at such a young age 😉

As for the CD, it's a well thought out mix of Traditional items and her self penned songs with as you would expect, some tasty guitar and fiddle playing included too.

The first track 'Forget-me-not', written by Niamh has a jazz feel to it with confident guitar and vocals underpinning an excellent lyric based on a newspaper clipping from August 1884 in the Preston Chronicle. It's a great way to pick up inspiration for song writing and this track raises your expectation for the rest of the album.

Track two is a cracking unaccompanied version of the tradition song 'Dark Inishowen' and really showcases the confidence and maturity of Boadle as she injects feeling and texture into the performance.

I'm really tempted to review each of the remaining eleven tracks because each offering is of high quality vocally, musically with impressive arrangements and sympathetic mixing and recording. The title track 'Maid On The Shore' was featured as the opening song on my UK Folk Music Radio Show for May 2015. I selected the song purely because it's the title track of the album but I would have been more than happy if I had picked something at random to include in the show, they are superb.

To sum up�.

I have rarely heard and enjoyed an album so much for a long, long time. My usual yardstick is whether or not, I could listen an album all the way through ( I get get so many sent in ).

This album 'Maid on The Shore' is a delight and certainly merits repeated listens to explore the musicality and depth of the lyrics. Go and buy it, go and see Niamh Boadle. She is one to watch��


David Kidman

Lancashire-born Niamh's one of the new generation of performers who've been immersed in tradition from an early age (in her case not only that of English folk music but those of Irish song, music and dance too!). A veritable veteran of the North-West's Folkus workshops, Niamh rapidly became incredibly well versed in several different disciplines, going on to garner multiple awards (BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards Finalist and winner of competitions at various folk festivals including Bromyard and Wath) - all by her mid-teens! And in 2016 she's due to complete Newcastle's Folk & Traditional Music degree course. So it's almost inevitable that by now she'll have attained an artistic maturity beyond her years, a state which album number two, Maid On The Shore, certainly confirms, while still harbouring plenty of promise and signposting to a future secured within the top echelons of the folk circuit.

Although I've been incrementally impressed by Niamh's stage presence on each successive occasion that I've seen her perform live, I'm unable to comment on her parallel artistic progression on the recording front since (sadly) I never received Niamh's debut album (Wild Rose) for review. However, it would appear from Maid On The Shore that the recording studio environment is currently beneficial for Niamh in that it enables her to indulge in a modicum of creative overdubbing, while WildGoose producer Doug Bailey's expertise and abundance of skilled guidance and encouragement have resulted in some very believable arrangements that well convey the essence both of Niamh herself and of her chosen material.

First, though, it's hard not to be won over by Niamh's singing style, which in addition to its exemplary control and clarity of diction also achieves an added degree of character (and yes, drama too) through her natural and adept (yet not overblown) use of decoration. Her blend of relaxed poise and deliberate pointing at times calls to mind the singing of June Tabor, although the individual voices of the two women are quite different. I'm glad that Niamh has chosen to present three of the disc's songs a cappella, and her reading of Thomas Davis' inspirational The Flower Of Finae (learnt from Karan Casey) is an exceptional achievement that makes a powerful centrepiece for the CD. The other two a cappella selections (The Boys of Mullaghbawn and Dark Inishowen) may feel less substantial, if only by virtue of their brevity, but Niamh's treatments prove no less distinguished. By contrast, Niamh also turns in a delicious syncopated canter through The Creggan White Hare that's almost a cappella (only her graceful bodhr�n lolloping along for company). Elsewhere, Niamh proves herself a singer capable of even greater diversity of expression on the scatted, jazzy phrasings of a song she wrote for (and about the wartime exploits of) her own grandfather. This is just one of three self-penned songs here, all disc highpoints as it turns out: Forget-Me-Not is based on a tragic story in a Preston newspaper clipping from 1881, while Red Dust Road was inspired by a recent Australian road trip Niamh made.

Second, there's Niamh's instrumental prowess to consider: again impressive, but not so overwhelming as to be knowingly showy. Her guitar technique is steady and assured, with a good sense of rhythm; pushing ahead with the requisite urgency and yet at the same time feeling quite unforced (the disc opener Forget-Me-Not provides a ready example of this). Niamh's guitar, in common with any other instrument she plays (fiddle, whistle, mandolin or bodhr�n) is heard to genuinely support the song she's singing rather than accompanying it for its own sake; this is such a welcome change from the �look at me, I'm wonderful� stance of so many young-folk pretenders. The album's one purely instrumental track, Ice On The Water, is an intriguing reworking of an American waltz composed by George Reynolds into a rather more Scandinavian-sounding piece whose performance style seems influenced almost as much by Niamh's classical fiddle training as her folk-cred.

Niamh's repertoire is commendably even-handed, with half-a-dozen traditional songs given due balance by the three own-compositions mentioned above and two contemporary pieces (by Anthony John Clarke and Kate Fagan - the latter's Roll You Sweet Rain being a special delight, with its added vocal harmonies and Paul Sartin guesting on oboe to provide counterpoint for Niamh's fiddle lines). Whatever the source, though, Niamh's well-developed skill in arrangement is well to the fore, especially on Green Bushes and the album's title track where the instrumental parts mirror the tension in the narrative.

With attractive design and artwork to boot, Maid On The Shore is most appealing product: a significantly accomplished and well-sounding disc that one might say boadles extremely well for Niamh's future career in the folk world.

The Living Tradition

Grem Devlin

The second album by this accomplished Lancashire songstress, the first on the Wildgoose label, demonstrates just how far she has come in a relatively short time, in folk terms. Still only 21, she has a maturity of delivery that others take a lifetime to develop.

Six of the 13 songs here are traditional arrangements of chiefly Irish songs, reflecting her paternal heritage (and I suppose her studies at Limerick University will have helped�). She contributes three of her own songs, all of which are worthy of praise, but the first, the album opener Forget-me-not, is a triumph of the songwriting craft, teasing out the salient points from a Victorian newspaper article and constructing a gripping musical tale of merit. Her telling of the Traditional Dark Inishowen sounds authentic to the song's Donegal origins, due in no small part to her disciplined vocal delivery. She also has a creditable take on Boys Of Mullaghbawn, another Irish tale filled with emotion. The standout cover is of Anthony John Clarke's The Only Life Gloria Knows, which is now my favourite version of this song.

Her fingerstyle guitar accompaniment is first class throughout and my only criticism is that there are too many squeaky chord changes � but I know myself how hard those are to eliminate. Minor crits aside, this is an excellent 51 minutes of musical charm, delivered with aplomb and well worth a pop. This lady is one to watch out for � and indeed has delivered what is likely to be a front runner for my album of the year (and we're only half way through as I write).

Folk London

Brian Cope

Destined to join the rapidly expanding body of successful graduates from Newcastle University, Niamh has yet to complete her course, which she is not due to finish until next year. With several accolades already under her belt, 2 CDs and support from numerous veterans on the folk scene, doubtless she will succeed.

Maid On The Shore, her second CD, presents an interesting and diverse selection of material including the contemporary of which Niamh has written half, six traditional songs and one tune. The tune /ce On The Water, an American waltz, showcases her skill as a sensitive fiddle player while Niamh's multi instrumental talents are used successfully on accompanied tracks, where she plays all instruments with the exception of piano and oboe, which are contributed by Paul Sartin. A few bars into the CD and one is left in little doubt that Niamh is an accomplished guitar player and songsmith. Her self penned Forget Me Not which opens, is a powerful recounting of a late 19th century newspaper report from the Preston Chronicle of the tragic variety. As a song it sits well alongside those of more established writers such as Anthony John Clarke's poignant The Only Life Gloria Knows and a striking rendition of Kate Fagan's Roll You Sweet Rain, both of which Niamh makes her own. Red Dust Road another Niamh composition has wormed its way in to my subconscious and become a stand out track. Cleverly crafted lyrics turn a road trip around New South Wales with her sister, into a thoughtful reflection on injustices meted out to the Aboriginal population. Combined with skilful musical arrangement, engaging harmonies and a frustratingly catchy chorus she makes a point without appearing to preach.

Her Anglo/Irish heritage is apparent throughout, her voice reflecting the lilt and decoration characteristic of many traditional Irish singers, most notably on the three unaccompanied tracks which include versions of the traditional Dark Inishowen and Thomas Davis' song of Irish resistance The Flower of Finae. A varied and interesting CD, with a hint of maybe even better to come.

Folk Monthly

Bob Taberner

The cover of the CD contains a tribute to Niamh's songwriting ability from Anthony John Clarke and there are three examples on this CD. Though the accompaniment for two of them is quite busy, they don't distract from the songs at all and they've been well crafted. In return, Niamh (pronounced Neeve) does one of Anthony's songs 'The Only Life Gloria Knows'; about a homeless girl, which is one of my favourite tracks.

But it was here sensitive treatment of traditional songs that impressed me most. Although she's only 21, Niamh has a wealth of experience including Young Folk Awards Finalist and winner of the unaccompanied singing competition at Bromyard and three of the traditional songs, all Irish, are tackled unaccompanied. Three others (including the title song Maid On The Shore') get a sympathetic guitar accompaniment and 'Creggan White Hare' is sung to a bodhran rhythm, which suits it perfectly. There's also a fiddle tune 'Ice On The Water'.

Two countries seem to dominate in her song selection. Ireland, naturally, as she has an Irish father, and Australia, where her sister has gone to live and where Kate Fagan (sister of James and an influence) comes from. Niamh is now on the Folk and Traditional Music degree course at Newcastle.

On the evidence of this CD, she displays a maturity far beyond her years.

Highly recommended.

Folknews Kernow

Chris Ridley

The maturity of this 21 year old Irish lass is amazing; she is able to sing a wide range of traditional and contemporary songs (two of her own) with a fine voice and spot on choices. She also plays guitar fiddle and flute, and Paul Sartin, piano and oboe, joins her on three tracks. Best track: "Creggan White Hare"


Val Haines

From an Irish family in Lancashire, 21 year old Niamh is currently studying for a Folk Music Degree at Newcastle University but has been involved in music and dance for many years as a classical guitarist and violin�ist, step dancer, rapper dancer and as a BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards finalist. She is primarily a singer, accompanying herself on guitar, but on this album adds fiddle, bod�hran, whistles and mandolin.

It's a showcase for her original interpretations of traditional and contemporary songs and also for her own excellent skill as a songwriter. The al�bum opens with her own song Forget me not, based on an 1881 newspaper story concern�ing the tragedy of local lass Annie Ratcliffe. Another of Niamh's own songs is the jazzy Bill's Missed the Last Boat Back, about her grandfather during World War 2, with a pi�ano accompaniment from Paul Sartin. Kate Fagan's Roll You Sweet Rain is a treat, with Paul Sartin this time adding an oboe track. The album finishes with the traditional Maid on the Shore given the original Niamh Boadle treatment. Niamh has a style of her own, which is really refreshing to hear. With this in mind, I would definitely like to see her live show.

June 2015

R2 4star review

Ian Croft

This is a highly  accomplished offering from  an Anglo Irish singer who  is still at university. For her  second album, Niamh Boadle has linked up with the dependable WildGoose label to produce a selection of songs, traditional and modern, that is always compelling.

Niamh is a fine singer and multi instrumentalist who demonstrates prowess on guitar, fiddle, bodhran, whistles and mandolin throughout the album. Bellowhead's Paul Sartin offers assistance on piano or oboe on three tracks.

Traditional songs account for about half the album. Niamh makes a really good fist of the three that she sings unaccompanied, most notably the transportation ballad 'Boys Of Mullaghbawn'. There's also an excellent version of 'Creggan White Hare' adorned with solo bodhran.

The three self composed songs show promise, but I was more taken by two of Niamh's covers Anthony John Clarke's 'The Only Life Gloria Knows' is a poignant tale of a homeless girl in Belfast, while Kate Fagan's 'Roll You Sweet Rain' is enhanced by guitar, fiddle, oboe and double tracked vocals. Title track 'Maid On The Shore' is taken at a jaunty lick, backed by guitar and whistle, to end this confident album in fine style.

R2 Insight Article

Ian Croft

With a year still to go on her Folk and Traditional Music degree at Newcastle University, Niamh Boadle has found time to make an excellent new CD, Maid On '> he Shore I interrupted Niarnh as she wrestled with four essays and a recital due the following week.

Born in England, Niamh picked up most of her musical influence from her Irish father. "My parents don't sing or play, but they always listened to a lot of Irish music round the house. I started Irish dancing when I was about four, copying my older sister. She had decided early on to start playing the whistle and other Instruments, and when I was old enough I did the same. We were encouraged to play, and I carried on with it."

Age six, Martin had learned whistle from her sister, and bodhran mostly through Comhaltas Ceoltoirf Eireann (in Preston), where they would "bang along to a tape". The next year, dancing at Fylde Folk Festival, she met a guitar teacher and "she started me singing, too". Her parents were always very supportive. "Dad said, 'If you're going to do It, you might as well do It to your fullest potential.' I learned classical violin and guitar up to grade eight which is really great for technique."

Niamh performed with her sister's band Trasna, aged twelve. "I was really annoying and hung around a lot, and they roped me in to do a bit of bodhran and dancing, and then I did a couple of songs " Developing as a soloist, Niamh appeared at fleadhs, won a couple of folk festival singing competitions, and released a sehproduced album, Wild Rose and she was still only fifteen.

Around that time she was in the band Tri with Neal Pointon and Ciaran Algar, which reached the semi final of

the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, but stopped playing in 2012 because of changing priorities  Niamh was off to university, while Ciaran was having success in his duo with Greg Russell.

At university, Niamh "...carried on doing a few gigs here and there. The course wants you to do stuff but doesn't actively push you. But if I was going to start playing more, I definitely needed a new CD and a label to help me out I contacted VVildGoose and they invited me down to record It was meant to take a week but I had the most awful cold ever, and had to do just the instrumental tracks. I came down three weeks later for the vocals, but It worked out all right."

Apart from a bit of help from Paul Sartin, Niamh plays all the instruments guitar; fiddle, bodhran, whistles and mandolin. "If you can play the instrument, it makes it easier because you know how you like It." On the CD are three of Niamh's own songs. "Songwriting is always going to be there but I find it Incredibly difficult so It will never take over. I still love traditional songs, and picking up stuff from the likes of Anthony John Clarke and Kate Fagan."

Another three tracks are unaccompanied. "Singing unaccompanied was the first thing I did, specifically on Irish songs. I always try to get one or more Into each set."

As for the dancing that started her off, "I still do some Irish dancing but it's difficult to find anywhere here. I thought of clogging but a friend took me along to a rapper practice and I tried that instead " (Niamh is row part of the Star And Shadow rapper dance team.) She will be appearing at several festivals and gigs this summer before returning to finish off her degree.

Shire Folk

Barry Goodman

Niamh Boadle has an astonishing voice   strong yet lilting, unaffected and clear as a bell. She's also a multi instrumentalist, responsible for all the guitar, fiddle, bodhran, whistles and mandolin contributions to this remarkable album, although Paul Sartin makes guest appearances on three tracks, playing oboe and piano.

Niamh's roots are in Lancashire and Ireland, and this CD contains fine examples from both the English and Irish tradition, as well as contemporary songs, three of which are written by her. She is able to move between musical styles with ease   the jazzy, selfpenned 'Bill's Missed the Last Boat Back'really swings, while her unaccompanied rendition of 'Boys of Mullaghbawn' is as traditional a sound as you could want to hear, with just enough decoration to engage the listener without detracting from the tune.

The opening track, 'Forget me not; demonstrates Niamh's formidable songwriting talent in a tragic tale taken from a true story of ill starred love. Anthony John Clarke's 'The Only Life Gloria Knows' is given a beautifully sensitive treatment with just guitar and piano weaving an intricate pattern around the vocal line; Kate Fagan's 'Roll you Sweet Rain' builds through a complex arrangement of multi tracked voices, guitar and oboe, and the one instrumental track, 'Ice on the Water' by George Reynolds, features multitracked fiddles to add depth and vitality to a truly haunting melody.

Superbly engineered by Doug Bailey at Wild Goose Records and with brief, but informative sleeve notes, this fine album by previous New Roots finalist Niamh Boadle could not come more highly recommended she has poise, confidence and a great talent which deserves to be heard.


David Warwick

Doug Bailey, founder/producer of WildGoose Records has an uncanny knack of discovering new talent in the folk world.  His shrewd ability has succeeded in helping launch and sustain the careers of many a performer, and Niamh Boadle is an exceptional addition to his catalogue of artists.

Still only 21, yet already an award winning artist, and in the final year of her Folk and Traditional Music degree course at Newcastle, she displays a precocious talent as a singer, songwriter and instrumentalist. As I write this I'm listening yet again to her haunting rendition (on the fiddle) of 'Ice on the Water', a tune learned when she was a member of the Lancashire-based Palatine Fiddlers. It's followed, in a piece of inspired sequencing (Doug's influence?), by an unaccompanied song, 'The Flower of Finae', which shows her voice to be fine, clear, uncomplicated.  Niamh is part Irish, although brought up on the Fylde coast, and the Gaelic influence of her father's heritage is plain to hear. As well as fiddle, she plays guitar, bodhran, whistle and mandolin, and is given able support by her 'lone session musician' Paul Sartin (of Bellowhead) who adds piano and oboe.

There are 14 tracks in total: a blend of traditional, three from other writer/ performers and three of her own selfpenned songs. Of the latter, I liked the departure from the folkie feel in 'Bill's Missed the Last Boat Back', an up-tempo, tongue-in-cheek ditty she wrote for her grandad; and the opening track, 'Forgetme-not', a poignant reminder of the tragedy surrounding thwarted young love.  A finalist for the BBC Radio 2's Young Folk Award at the age of 15, Niamh has a bright future written very clearly in her stars.  Keep your eyes on the heavens.