Nuala Kennedy - Noble Stranger (4 stars)

Acclaimed flautist mixes traditional songs with Casio keyboard-inspired material

Nuala Kennedy - Noble Stranger

(Compass Records)

While imaginary old folksters in woolly jumpers wave disapproving fingers, the younger generation continues to update the genre. Here acclaimed flautist Nuala Kennedy mixes traditional songs and instrumentals such as ‘My Bonny Labouring Boy’ and ‘Matt Hyland’ with newer compositions inspired, curiously enough, by a vintage Casio keyboard given to her by Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake.

As adept as she is at the classics, the newer tracks stand out (as they always do with Kennedy, a hugely talented composer). ‘Gabriel Sings’ is a cracking opener that’s almost Ani Difranco in its wonderful weirdness. ‘Lonely City’, meanwhile, conjures up heartrending, burning sorrow in the way the best folk ballads do. On this evidence the Casio is a good fit.

Noble Stranger, Nuala Kennedy

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