Little Lights Review – Living Tradition

Lorimer Records LORRCD03
Harpist Ailie Robertson’s third solo release, following First Things First and the Traditional Spirits project, is a selection of traditional and contemporary Scottish, Irish, Québécois and original tunes arranged for clarsach with Tim Edey (guitar, accordion) and cellist Natalie Haas discreetly and gracefully supporting some pieces.

Her express intent was to “make an album that was very much solo harp” using it “in as creative a way as possible”. Much of her harp’s tonal output is left crisply clean and natural. Creative development of its sonic output includes some subtle use of wah-wah pedals and plug-in effects and percussive beats derived from striking it “with hands, brushes and beaters”. These more adventurous techniques are perhaps most evident on concertina player Padraig Rynne’s reel Lunchtime Boredom resulting in a very catchy and contemporary feel reminiscent of Myhrdin’s trio release Run: musique d’ici et d’ailleurs with Philippe Lefèvre and Gabriel Jégo. In general, the layered tracking of her varied sound techniques is always tastefully executed providing some delightfully deep and shimmering sonority in the bass undercurrents and cleanly precise ringing right hand detail in the expression of the melodies.

There are very elegantly expressive presentations of the slow Irish air The Wild Geese and Turlough O’Carolan’s The Fairy Queen, whilst Quebecois band Raz-de-Marée’s La Gueussinette, performed in duet with beautiful cello accompaniment, and charming self composed set piece elements Trip To Dinan and Lili’s Hornpipe and her atmospheric parting piece Glimmer each display the dynamic variety and sophistication of her more modern soundscapes; all is brightly lightsome here.

Kevin T. Ward

5***** review in The Scotsman

I was delighted to receive the following 5-star review of my solo concert at the Edinburgh Harp Festival:

Another Scot, Ailie Robertson, opened the evening concert with a dazzling solo selection of material from her recent CD, Little Light, and demonstrated why she is so highly regarded in both harp and folk circles. The resulting mix of her own polished compositions with tunes from Scottish, Irish, and Québécois sources made for an engrossing set.