With her own compositions and reworked traditional arrangements, this Irish harpist has conjured up a debut album of serious quality
On her debut solo album, Irish folk chanteuse and harpist Brona McVittie blends her own creations with a host of traditional arrangements. In many ways it’s a continuation of the work she has done with bands The London Lasses, Rún and Littlebow, finding new ways to explore the world of folk music.
When The Angels Wake You introduces both McVittie’s expert harp playing and the otherworldly feeling that swaddles the album. “Sometimes it feels like I fell out of the sky” she sings, accurately describing what is to follow. Balancing familiar sounds with the unexpected Under The Pines twinkles with both electronic fairies and sounds of nature and the harp on Broken Like The Morning cascades like droplets of dew running down a branch.
Though a solo record, McVittie is in great company. Her harp might be the star of the show but the supporting cast play a crucial role in framing her work. Richard Curran’s string arrangements are an undercurrent sweeping everything along. The trumpet of Hutch Demouilpied adds a cinematic feel to We Are The Wildlife and a similar effect is created by Myles Cochran’s atmospheric slide guitar on And The Glamour Fell On Her.
Yet even without the help of such stellar musicians you suspect that McVittie would still be able to create captivating music. Her talents may be revered already but We Are The Wildfire reveals even more of her strengths as both a harpist and songwriter. In doing so, the album presents a yardstick that the folk world will do well to match in 2018.
Verdict: Inventive modern folk