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Andy Turner of EFDSS

reviews Sideways by Moirai

Moirai is made up of Jo Freya, Sarah Matthews and Melanie Biggs; if, like me, you’ve not heard the band before, there’s a good chance that you’ve come across some or all of them in other guises. All three sing, and between them they play a range of instruments including violin, viola, guitar, sax, clarinet, whistles, melodeon and flute. The majority of their instrumental pieces are modern compositions and/or from continental Europe (or sound as if they might be). There’s some really nice interplay between fiddle, melodeon and clarinet/sax, and it’s clear that the trio have put a lot of thought into the arrangements. This is music for listening to, but the performers are experienced dance musicians, and this shines through, for example on the ‘Ufton Court Schottische / All Saints’ set (composed by Mel and Sarah respectively).

The six songs are also modern compositions (well, one’s a modern setting of a Blake poem). ‘Twiddles’ is a lighthearted song sung by Sarah, which points out that the corollary to sailors having a girl in every port is that ‘the lasses have a lad on every ship’. This segues nicely into the Irish hornpipe ‘The Rites (sic) of Man’, and you even get a snatch of ‘A Drop of Nelson’s Blood’ at the end. I won’t spoil the surprise by giving away the subject matter of the title track, written and performed by Jo, but it’s likely to raise a smile, particularly, I think, with female listeners. This CD may not set the world on fire, but there’s much to enjoy, and they’re clearly an act worth looking out for (or booking) at your local folk club or festival.