The alignment of the past and the now often provides the most fascinating exploration and that is certainly the case of the creative adventure that is Tam Lin. It is a 17th century ballad from the Scottish Borders which has been embraced and brought to 21st Century life by the union of ELLIOT COLE, FIONA GILLESPIE and MAKARIS. It offers a twenty six minute plus folk opera which with increasing strength enthralled with its tale and seduced with its creative beauty.
Telling the story of Jenny, “a girl with an unplanned pregnancy who defies social pressures to turn a bad situation good, pursue an unconventional love, and then perform a daring rescue of her beloved from the hidden world”, Tam Lin echoes many issues which still resonate today. It is a ballad which captivated FIONA GILLESPIE, a classically-trained soprano, folk singer, instrumentalist, songwriter and arranger who grew up in a family of Celtic musicians.
She drew in composer, singer, songwriter and friend, ELLIOT COLE, to help bring the story to new life in the embrace of their original music. Then they drew on the prowess and enterprise of MAKARIS, its collective of medieval, baroque and folk musicians uniting with the pair to bring it all to life; the result a piece of folk and traditional drama with a rock opera heart which is simply sublime in its craft and captivation.
The track is a tapestry of music and adventure, every passing second bringing an evolving tale of word, imagination and instrumentation with slight momentary breaths in its passage the turning of a page to a new chapter in the story and Jenny’s journey. It is also a creative tale of twists and turns which equally sparked the imagination, each a moment of unpredictable invention cast in a fusion of traditional and classical instruments.
Similarly, the song vocally bewitched, the beauty of Gillespie’s tones as Jenny joined by the just as magnetic vocals and characters within the story of Cole (Old Grey Knight), Bradley King (Tam Lin), Molly Netter (Narrator), Tracy Cowart (Fairy Queen), and Kivie Cahn-Lipman(Father). Equally their craft on the myriad of instruments they bring to the piece is matched by that of Sian Ricketts, Ben Matus, Caitlin Hedge, Loren Ludwig, Paul Morton, and Dylan Greene.
Even with the craft and enterprise of all involved, it was the pure imagination in the kaleidoscopic like tale of music which burrowed deepest under the skin, as we say every minute bringing a new adventure for ears and pleasure alike which perpetually caught out expectation and predictability.
Tam Lin is a masterpiece of temptation and artistry; an uplifting treat for all lovers of Celtic tradition, dark stories of fairies and defiant heroines and quite simply majestic sounds.
Check out the ‘Tam Lin’ video @ https://youtu.be/ZsY-O6rN8BA
Pete RingMaster 04/11/2022
Copyright RingMaster Review