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Review in the Scotsman 25th January 2007

Item posted: Thursday 25th January , 2007

Anna Wendy Stevenson


ANNA Wendy Stevenson's My Edinburgh is a glorious set of musical postcards to her home city, rooted in inspired folk-sessions at Sandy Bell's, the renowned folk music pub.

Her fine octet of musicians on strings, brass, percussion and piano performed sprightly tunes as if engrossed in lively conversation, imbuing the music with the experiences of those who live in the city.

Juxtaposing spirited music with poetry and local voices, the whole was melded together by huge shifting backdrop images of everything from gleaming wet cobbles to Christmas on the Mound to an aerial view of the New Town in winter.

Stevenson's thrilling achievement is to have created evocative moving pictures in sound that simultaneously embrace the past and the present.

Constantly grounding the personal in the city's architecture, geography and geology, one minute we're with percussionist and ceilidh caller, Colin MacLennan, watching the sun set from Newhaven harbour wall; the next we're on "smelly" Grove Street with Freddie Thompson, host of innumerable sessions at Bell's.

Stevenson and her group were blown in by Force Ten, four youthful, self-confessed "teuchter" winners of last year's Danny Kyle's Open Stage competition, who displayed a coolly modern take on traditional music.