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Folk Centre: Reader's digest
Folk and trad news with Greg McAteer
Greg McAteer, 05 Jun 2007
While plenty of traditional singers are enthralled with the idea of mainstream success, the number of pop performers who travel in the opposite direction is considerably smaller.
The financial rewards of traditional singing are such that only the truly committed would ever consider it a worthwhile path to follow. One such person is the magnificent Eddi Reader, who will be headlining the opening night of the Fiddler’s Green Festival in Rostrevor this year on Sunday July 22.
Having found early success as part of Fairground Attraction, Reader moved to London to escape the kind of claustrophobia she felt in the surroundings of her native Glasgow. It was when she revisited the city after the death of her father that she started to re-connect with her essential Scottishness and to take an increasing interest in Scottish traditional song. An invitation to work with the Scottish National Orchestra switched the focus to the songs of Robert Burns specifically. The result was 2003’s Eddi Reader Sings The Songs Of Robert Burns, one of the most intense and beautifully focused albums of traditional song to see the light of day in a long time.
The release of Peacetime in 2006 saw her reiterate her commitment to traditional music, this time side-by-side with original compositions by herself and long-time collaborator Boo Hewerdine.
As this is the Fiddler’s Green Festival’s 21st anniversary, it is only fitting that they are pulling out all the stops to make it the best ever and it looks likely that Flook will also be performing at this year’s festival.
Flook are already confirmed as one of the acts on the bill for this year’s Celtic Fusion, just up the road in Castlewellan, where they’ll be closing proceedings at roughly the same time as Eddi Reader opens the festivities in Rostrevor.
This year’s Celtic Fusion kicks off on Sunday July 15 with a concert featuring Kate Rusby, whose star is still very much ascending after her own flirtation with the mainstream in the company of Ronan Keating. Support on the night will be from Cora and Breda Smyth, the Mayo-born sisters who have been described by Michael Flatley – who’s probably an expert on this sort of thing – as “the cutest and sexiest girls in the business with limitless musical abilities.” Having recently returned from a trip to India with the President, the sisters are fitting in a couple of Irish shows over the course of the summer around their other solo commitments.