I first came across this couple whilst researching songs for our themed show on a Sunday on Celtic Music Radio when looking for male/female related duos. So when I heard they were playing at Celtic Connections, I jumped at the chance of seeing them live.
Their act varies from a duo to sextet and on this evening there were five of them on stage including also Kirstine Elise on cello, Mikkel Grue on guitar and Sune Rahbek on percussion. The set was a mixture of new material from their latest album along with traditional Danish songs interpreted so well by Helene. Her strenght is in the story telling of the Danish folklore through song as in the song about a giant asking nine questions to a traveller, which although all sung in Danish, Helene explained the background before each rendition.
In between the songs we had Harald delighting the audience with his virtuoso fiddle playing, taking old and new tunes, and giving them that sparkle which he does so well. My favourite piece that evening was a duet which Helene has recorded with English folk singer Martin Simpson called ‘When We Have Said Goodbye’ although as he wasn’t there, she sung this solo, however as it is written in dual languages, it was easy to imagine Martin singing his part with her.
First act on Friday night was Barluath – previous Danny Kyle Open Stage winners in 2012. Fronted on vocals by Ainsley Hamill, it was soon clear why she is a silver pendant winner at the Mod in 2013, as her interpretation of the gaelic songs is a joy to hear. These included ‘The Scarborough Settler’s Lament’, ‘The Sweet Sorrow’ ( a waulking song from the islands) and ‘Solus M’Aigh’ (Light Of Hope), a Blair Douglas composition written for Father Colin MacInnes when he embarked on a journey from South Uist to Equador.
Interspersed with the songs were various jigs and reels including ‘The Big Chief’ written by Eilidh Firth from the group, some Cape Breton tunes, ‘Rose Cottage’ by Donald Shaw and the finale set called ‘My Home Town’. A new album is imminent from the group and I look forward to hearing it very soon.
Presenter, Celtic Music Radio 95FM