Alasdair Roberts & Robin Robertson: Hirta Songs – review

(Stone Tape Recordings)

The Scots singer Alasdair Roberts continues his singular path with an eighth outing that's a collaboration with the poet Robin Robertson. Their focus is the remote Hebridean archipelago of St Kilda, abandoned since the 1930s, with verse set to bare bones backings of guitar, bass, fiddle and harp. Recorded live, it has the sonic sophistication of a dusty church hall, yet its evocation of bleak seascapes and harsh lives is transportative. There's an almost medieval lilt to Farewell to the Fowler, a masterful recital of Robertson's Leaving St Kilda, with the "Atlantic flat as steel", and harp solos from Corrina Hewat that are sweet laments.

Contributor

Neil Spencer

The GuardianTramp

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