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Jacqueline Patten of Whats Afoot

reviews The Heart Gallery by Hen Party

A few years ago I was asked to review an album by Hen Party and was immediately captivated by their style of singing: it is female a capella at its best. I was, therefore, very pleased to be asked to review The Heart Gallery, and was full of anticipation. I have not been disappointed, in fact, if anything it surpassed my expectations.
    The opening track, Come From The Heart, is a perfect start, expressing the sentiments:
          Sing like you donít need the money
         Love like youíve never been hurt
         Dance like nobodyís watching.
Throughout the album, they sing as if they mean it. The material is varied with traditional material represented by such songs as All Things Are Quite Silent, William Taylor, Greenwood Laddie, The Blacksmith and Blanche Comme La Neige, a French-Canadian song collected by Maud Karpeles. The humour of How Do I Look? by Claire Chapman and Chocolate Song by Martin Turner, adds a lighter note: both are sung heartily with evident enjoyment while Ray Nobleís Love Is The Sweetest Thing and the music-hall song Now I Ďas to call Ďim father by Ada Jones endorse their versatilty, both are delightful. Other tracks include songs written by John Warner, Bob Davenport, Rick Kemp, Walter Robinson and Richard Thompson. There is one solo item, Keep You In Peace, one of Sarah Morganís own compositions, inspired by a traditional Celtic blessing: she sings it beautifully.    
     Sarah Morgan, Alison Muir and Heather Bradford have been singing together for some time and the ease with which they blend their voices is apparent. When I reviewed the first album I had not had an opportunity to see them live. Since then I have seen them several times, as well as Sarah Morgan as a solo performer. If you have not seen them, do. Meanwhile buy The Heart Gallery.
     If you would like an opportunity to sing with Sarah Morgan, she will be leading workshops during Singiní Spring: a celebration of singing in Devon, to be held on 29th March, in Morchard Bishop(for details contact the Editor of Whatís Afoot).