AILIE ROBERTSON First Things First Lorimer Records
By Siobhan Long
Shattering preconceptions about the fragility of her chosen instrument, Scottish debutante harpist Ailie Robertson basks in a heady excavation of the driving rhythms that lie dormant between the strings. Forget misty images of lovelorn maidens at lattice windows. Instead, step into a world where Robertson’s harp jousts (alongside the energising confidence of fellow Scots harpist Catriona McKay) with percussion, bass, guitar and piano. Her opening salvo, The Exploding Bow, sets the tone for a funky excursion around a trio of contemporary jigs, the final one written by Robertson herself. Another of her original compositions, Good Spirits, is paired cannily with a reel, The Humours of Scariff. The tunes revel in the unpredictability of newfound company. Robertson’s genius is in straddling the Irish and Scottish traditions with a fresh-faced and utterly bearable lightness of being.