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Derek Gifford of Folk Northwest

reviews Sideways by Moirai

Moirai are a trio with Jo Freya, Melanie Biggs and Sarah Matthews as its members. The rather strange name for the group means 'Spinners of Destiny' but there is nothing strange about the wonderful music they make.

This album is a rich mixture of tunes and songs. They open as they mean to go on with two lively bourrees originally written for hurdy-gurdy. There follows Twiddles which is an amusing song by Janie Meneely about the antics of the women who are left behind when their men go to sea.

Then they are back to the tunes with Kusnacht from Ireland coupled with La Chapka from France. These lassies are true Europeans! A number of the tunes are self penned and the combination of saxophones, clarinets, whistles (Jo), melodeon, flute (Melanie), violin, viola and guitar (Sarah) works extremely well especially when played in the lilting style that they adopt. Of these I particularly enjoyed the tuneful Half Maid/Italian Mix pairing and the lovely Muriel's Waltz/Cellar Door Key (OK - I'm bound to single out the latter tune with my track record!) which are from Brian Pickell and the 16th century respectively.

The songs are shared with each of the group members taking a turn. All of them are lovely solo singers and their chorus harmonies are very well blended especially on Candlelight which is dedicated to the late Maggie Boyle.

All of songs are completely new to me and are all interesting and/or amusing with the children's song Magpie Sitting on a Broken Chair and Bed and Breakfast, which is all about that strange breed of creatures known as landladies, being among the most notable. The only song I couldn't get on with was Garden of Love. The tune set to it by Dave Walters is very appropriatebut the poetry of William Blake doesn't do it for me.

Overall this is a well crafted album and very enjoyable listening. Well worth adding to your collection. Available from Wild Goose direct (see their web site) or through Proper Music distributors.