Angeline Morrison: review of The Brown Girl and Other Folk Songs – precision and poetry | Folk music

Multi-instrumentalist and singer Angeline Morrison has long been fascinated by ancient traditions. At 16, she fell in love with the Padstow May Day tradition of the Obby Oss after traveling to see it from her hometown of Birmingham. This inspired her to move to Cornwall, where she now works as an academic. His back catalog thrills with his interests in psychic and folk horror, but his main focus now is the place of people of color in British folklore. This will culminate later this year in an Eliza Carthy-produced project, The Sorrow Songs – but first, this collection showcases Morrison’s many talents.

Angeline Morrison: The Brown Girl and Other Folk Songs album cover

Her voice, highlighted in the a capella overture, The Green Valley, is soft but full-bodied. Full of meaning and feelings, it tells the story of a woman abandoned after a pregnancy with nostalgia, sadness and resilience; her lyrics also suggest racial factors at play. “A contented mind can’t stand slavery,” she sings. In Our Captain Cried, Morrison’s harmonies are double-tracked with melodies to startling effect; she also plays eerie medieval recorders on The Cruel Mother, a shrill autoharp on Bonny Cuckoo and a shimmering mountain dulcimer on the sacred harp song Idumea. All are simply but powerfully produced by Nick Duffy of Lilac Time.

Morrison’s version of the well-known ballad When I Was a Young Girl, about a young woman imagining her death, is particularly moving, slow and solemn against a dreadful buzz. The title track about a girl “as dark as dark can be” with “eyes as black as a pupil”, is even better, with Morrison immersing the listener in a story full of passion, rejection and revenge as She also masters the precision of storytelling. like his poetry.

Also out this month

Singer and violinist Lily Henley‘s Oras Dezaordas (Lior Editions) explores ballads dating back to the expulsion of Sephardic Jews from Spain in the 15th century, as well as original compositions in the minority language of Ladino. Carrying the voices of women throughout history and Henley’s work in American roots music, it’s a compelling and beautiful release. You wanderers‘Nine Waves (River Lea) is the second album by Irish brothers Diarmuid and Brían Mac Gloinn. Their sanguine harmonies remain soulfully tender, while contemporary Irish classical band Crash Ensemble add stimulating textures to their songs. Bryony Griffith and Alice Jones‘A Year Too Late and a Month Too Soon (Proper) is equally fun, a peppy collection of old Yorkshire songs about blind girls, cockfighting and charcoal-burning boys, inspired by characters from their communities local.

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