When you, like me, average 25 concerts a year (not counting the festivals), it's easy to become a little jaded, a tad blasé. But once in a while I am pleasantly surprised.
Our annual Hellevoetsluis Celtic Festival has introduced me to gems like Sarah McQuaid and Albert Niland in the past, and this year it was the duo The Lasses.
The Lasses are Sophie Ter Schure and Margot Limburg, and they are down-to-earth in looks and approach, not an eyelash out of place whilst joining another singer on stage just for the hell of it, whilst waiting for their own performance. This "Oh, hey, let's sing along with this tune, as we know it anyway" whetted my appetite for their own set, for they out-sang their hostess..., so I hurried along to the secondary, tiny, stage where they were to sing their own list of traditional and original celtic songs.
They were to play three 30 minute sets and were quick to inform us they wouldn't be doing any doubling, good for them. And straight off, with their rendering of Bill Monroe's The One I Love Is Gone I was totally hooked.
Talk about voices blending gorgeously, made for each other. The guy who brought these two women together deserves a statue in front of the Amsterdam Irish Pub (Mulligans !) where they have regular music nights as far as I'm concerned.
So far they have produced two CDs: the first, simply called "The Lasses", with 11 tunes, ranging from the sweet traditional Next Market Day to the iconic Dougie McLean Caledonia to the wonderful Hole in the Heart by Karine Polwart (my favorite from this CD).
The second is called "Daughters" and it is a bit more elaborate, carrying 13 songs. And it is super. My favorite is Hush Hush (Jim McLean), a poignant lullaby remembering the forced emigration from the Scottish Highlands, where you can almost hear the sheep bleat and see the sad farewell on the people's faces. But I also love Stretched on Your Grave (Frank O'Connor and Philip King) with guest singer Victor Lacken, whose voice again blends in beautifully.
Obviously I will provide a link for your perusal:The Lasses with Cobbler's Daughter
(from their second album)
The Lasses with The One I Love Is Gone
Typical loud pub audience... sorry about that. But you'll get the gist.
Did I say too much? Nooooooo...did not, did not.
You can find The Lasses for yourself on www.thelasses.wordpress.com
and...they are currently in The USA, I believe...