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Live Review: Ruskin Mill

Kitty Macfarlane, a Somerset singer/ songwriter presented her debut album, ‘Namer Of Clouds,’ to a large and near reverential audience at Ruskin Mill on Friday evening. Reminiscent of Karine Polwart, she has used this album to explore the symbiosis that exists between humans and nature and which she expresses personally through her love of the European Eel, a passion which she wryly observed might leave her in a category of one. So we are told about murmurations of starlings, of oyster beds and wading birds, the myth of Avona and the Two Giants as well as a visit to an island off Sardinia to meet the last spinner of sea-silk, a lady who seems to be as mystical as the product that she may not sell, as it has to be given away as a gift.

All of these acutely observed details are then crafted into song and pre recorded sounds and words help to enhance Macfarlane’s hauntingly beautiful and gentle voice. The exquisite guitar work hangs and shimmers around the lyrics highlighting the passion that Macfarlane exhibits throughout the backstories that she tells. Her obvious skill in creating an almost instant rapport with her audience draws the listeners in until the spell is broken by the interval. It will be interesting to see what a second album brings and whether her undisputed talent builds on this album or develops in a totally different direction.

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