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reviews Scatter Pipes by Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer

I fell in love with this album on first listening and couldn’t wait to hear them live, so I looked avidly through the artists’ lists for the festivals that I was going to this summer – and caught up with them at Whitby Folk Week. Vicki plays the Scottish smallpipes and she explained to me how they differed from the better known Northumbrian smallpipes, although I’ve now forgotten! Anyway, they produce a smoother and more mellow sound when Vicki plays them. Jonny sings and plays guitar. This album is a fine collection of tune sets, many of which were composed by Jonny, and traditional songs including a lovely version of Seven Yellow Gypsies with the traditional ending where the Lord hangs the gypsies but if you catch them live you can vote to hear an alternate happy ending. There is well over an hour of music on the CD, so at the album’s launch at Whitby they only had time to perform some of it, leaving a very appreciative audience hungry to hear more and, hopefully, eager to buy this excellent recording. Because of the nature of the smallpipes the music, which is almost all English, sounds Scottish to me, although when Vicki and Jonny tour Scotland they are told it is too English! Vicki has a wonderful website at www.smallpiper.co.uk in case you’re interesting in learning how to play the pipes. And they’re based just across the border in Essex so hopefully there will be many opportunities to see them.