Here’s an ear-worm to start your week. The Queen’s Delight, a new album by François Lazarevitch and Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien, explores songs and country dances from 17th- and 18th-century Britain. The liner notes offer a fascinating background to the repertoire – of how broadside ballads and country dances bled into each other in a spirt of creative freedom, and how some tunes even crossed the Channel to influence French court music.
The opening track is Bonny Kathern Loggy, a ballad sung by Fiona McGown. It’s given some folky instrumentation with dulcimer and pipes – and it’s got plenty of oomph. I shared this on Facebook yesterday, and someone commented that they’d only heard this tune done instrumentally before. Well, listening to McGown valiantly tacking the lines with barely a pause for breath, I’m not surprised.
While in many ways it’s a typical ballad tune (see my recent blog on Slane) it’s also very memorable. It has a driving, earthy start, but the ear worm’s prime real estate is the high running scale figure in the third phrase, which crowns it all elegantly. I also love how none of the lines come to rest on the tonic – the tune keeps flying up at the end with a Saturnalian abandon, always ready to start again. And it’s so much fun that each time the track finishes, I’m ready to listen again too. Find out more about The Queen’s Delight here.