The Tears of Jenny Greenteeth – Folk Wales Review

Spectacular fiddler Adam Summerhayes, inspirational accordionist Murray Granger and Adam’s daughter, poetess Jessie Summerhayes, have been incredibly prolific on a scale of industrial proportions these days. Adam and Murray – The Ciderhouse Rebellion duo and one-half of Anglo-Irish quartet The Haar – are busy creating many spontaneous and uplifting freeform musical works and albums; it was only inevitable that Jessie would join them in a trio, which has been re-named Words Of A Fiddler’s Daughter.

The Tears Of Jenny Greenteeth is their third album, and it’s Jessie’s epic 14-track adaptation of the traditional folk tale Jenny Greenteeth; Jessie wrote the narrative for a collaborative live production with Ballet Folk. In the show, she shares the stage with Murray, Adam and six dancers. All nine interact throughout, transporting the audience to the valley of Greenwater and Jenny the miller to witness a dark yet triumphant story. The production is originally the brainchild of Ballet Folk UK founder and pioneering director/choreographer Deborah Norris; Katie Whitehouse of From The Whitehouse folk agency is the co-producer. So far, it has been performed live in folk festivals at Cambridge, Purbeck Valley and Summer By The River, with more shows to be announced.

Adam and Murray very ably rise to the occasion – in fact, their mesmerising and intoxicating accompaniment paints a vivid picture of love and forgiveness overcoming fear, sadness and greed, where nature triumphs over the poisons of industry. I won’t reveal the story, but the musicians swoop effortlessly between serene beauty, deep and dark evil and frenzied, joyous abandonment; in the final narration, ‘The Tickity Trees Are Dancing’, Jessie, Adam and Murray wildly cavort and jig together as one, her verses forming hypnotic and insistent drumbeats; their sense of timing is immaculate.

Jessie says that she wrote the script in collaboration with Deborah Norris and talking to the team: “It’s a huge narrative – 23 pages – drawing on fundamental human concerns such as the environment, concerns about over-industrialisation and the flow of the river. The story has a traditional feel but is very relevant to current times.” Jessie, Adam and Murray have shaped such wonderful aural creations since they came together as a trio; and I’m really looking forward to their future albums.


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