David Warwick of EFDSS
reviews Maid on the Shore by Niamh BoadleDoug 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.