FULL REVIEW HERE
the bright young folk review
The third album by acclaimed trio Words of a Fiddler’s Daughter, namely fiddler Adam Summerhayes, accordionist Murray Grainger and poet and storyteller Jessie Summerhayes, is a surprising adaptation of the well-known and dark folk tale of Jenny Greenteeth. It was conceived as the soundtrack for a folk ballet including six dancers who, whilst on the stage, interact with the musicians and the narrator.
This story and its main character, generally associated with a feeling of fear and horror, are set in a wider context of a greater community suffering from the poisonous effects of human greed and anger. The tale runs through a series of twists and turns towards a finale where good and evil epilogues are equally possible.
If much of the musicians’ work is normally focused on real places and stories, The Tears of Jenny Greenteeth provides a shift to a folkloric tale with the almost inevitable amount of magical and supernatural elements. These are vividly reproduced, not only by the lyrical and refined storytelling, but also by the spontaneous fiddle and accordion interplay we can always expect from them.
Words and music unfold, change pace and mood as a unique entity, accompanying the listener through an intricate and refined arabesque of music and words to grasp the message of love and humanity of this version of the tale.
Melancholy and joy, obscurity and hope interweave in this beautifully conceived and masterfully crafted work, which provides a new and very modern angle from which we can observe this tale. A meaningful call to action in our troubled times delivered through an ancient story and a notable array of musical and literary talent.
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.
FULL REVIEW HERE