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Ivan North of Folk London

reviews A Handful of Sky by Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll

Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll describe themselves as `highly respected fiddleplayers and composers firmly rooted in North Devon. Their unique sound is a joyful collision of English traditional music and contemporary bowed strings. Their music blends melodic, emotive violin and viola with driving fiddle chords and powerful vocals and will take you on a journey from the dark side of the English ballad to toe tapping tunes and songs'.

Nick sings and also plays fiddle and viola, Becki does the same and also adds bassoon. On this CD they are joined by James Budden (double bass) and Ellen Driscoll (French horn).
Most of the material is trad and the opening track Rambleaway is a lively arrangement put together from several sources and features all the performers with Nick's lead vocals and Becki harmonising. Nick also tackles The Cornwall Apprentice which tells of the perils of moving to London. He also leads on The Torrington Ringers, another recreation of a trad song. Becki chips in with the ballad The Cruel Mother and finishes off the CD in style with the spirited The Exmoor Ram.

The instrumentals are either trad or written in the trad style and appear to be derived from their fiddle workshops, so feature arrangements based on the two fiddle format. There are bright jigs one such set is Regent's Fete / Take a Dance / Darby Kelly / Cock of the North. A Handful of Sky is a self composed piece which starts off slow (and sounds as if it should have words) then builds up to lively finish.