HARP I DO REVIEW
This is a remarkably crisp and sharp-sounding album of solo harp music. The recording is absolutely first class, capturing not just the melodies themselves, but the palpable tension as each string is firmly plucked and the enduring, humming resonance that follows. Try listening to this with headphones on at a decent volume -- this is music you can feel, it shivers your nerves and shudders your bones, it's like having your ear pressed up against the soundboard of the harp. This may be an album of solo harp, but it's played with a vigour that an ensemble would struggle to match.
The album starts out with a somewhat manic-sounding tune, "The Beserk," written by Hewat following a difficult personal period and one can detect a tangible sense of frenzied despair in the frantic melody, before Hewat segues into the more hopeful-sounding Johnny Cunningham tune, "Nana's Walkabout." I was immediately struck by the intricacy and fervour with which Hewat plays, building to dramatic crescendos and then falling away to a delicate whimper.
Tunes like Ian Carr's "Amberanna," Hewat's own "Dodging The Frogs" or Charlie McKerron's "The Rizla" skip along gleefully, with complex and captivating melodies, played with a pace and precision that almost beggars belief!
Hewat saves the most reserved moments for the end of the album, tenderly playing her way through the traditional tune, "Sister's Lament" before finishing off with her own composition, the mournful "New Voice." In the sleeve notes Hewat recounts her original performance of "New Voice," played with musicians that included the late Martyn Bennett and Johnny Cunningham -- her performance here is a telling and moving tribute to these exceptional talents, played with utmost grace and dignity.
Harp I Do makes for an intense listen, from the pluck of the very first string, right to the dying hum of the last note. It's an extraordinarily intimate and often moving album, played with an unerring commitment that will likely set a high benchmark to which many musicians can only aspire.
By Mike Wilson for folking.com
CORRINA HEWAT BIOGRAPHY
Nominated Instrumentalist of the Year 2004 at the Scottish Traditional Music Awards, Corrina has toured throughout Europe, the Far East, Israel, Canada and parts of the USA taking the Small Harp to a new level of excellence, combining traditional style music with contemporary attitude. She is also blessed with a stunningly individual voice, which resonates with her years of soaking up Scotland’s musical tradition, while exploring contemporary elements and jazz.
She directs a 22 piece Scottish Folk big band with David Milligan called the Unusual Suspects, nominated for Best Live Act 2005, while also touring with Kathryn Tickell (Northumbrian piper) and a vocal trio with Karine Polwart & Annie Grace.
A versatile and exciting musician, performer and teacher at the traditional degree courses RSAMD and Newcastle University BA in Traditional Music, she has recorded over 30 albums in the last twelve years with Bachue, Shine, The Unusual Suspects, Chantan and Kathryn Tickell among others. Her Harmony Singing Worshops across the country have been growing in numbers (the last one at Celtic Connections had 103 participants). She has also been part of the Edinburgh International Harp Festival committee since 2002. Corrina has one book of tunes and arrangements with accompanying CD, called ‘Scottish Harp’ with Taigh Na Teud music publishers. She also has six 30-minute videos available for download on for post beginner/intermediate harp players on ayepod.net
"Corrina Hewat is one of the top harpers in the world, playing with a crisp, clean technique and giving her music a strong rhythmic beat with her inventive accompaniments.” Jo Morrison, Greenman review
"She blends a jazz singer's flexibility, a blues singer's economy and a folk singer's heart into a style that's both natural and her very own."
Rob Adams, The Herald
She has her own named website and myspace.
The Unusual Suspects 2003 onwards (The Unofficial Scottish National Folk Orchestra/Big Band)
Annie Grace, Corrina Hewat and Karine Polwart, vocal harmony trio
Kathryn Tickell and Corrina Hewat duo of Northumbrian pipes, fiddle, Scottish harp, voice
Scottish Women 2000 – 2003 (20 women musicians performed and toured around Scotland)
Shine 1999 – 2003 (vocal and two harp trio with Alyth McCormack and Mary Macmaster)
Chantan 1996 – 1999 (vocal trio with Christine Kydd and Elspeth Cowie)
Bachue 1994 – 2006 (duo with David Milligan on piano, which became quartet with drums and trumpet)
The Two-Ring Ceilidh 1995 – 96 (two halved concert incorporating a ceilidh dance)
A Winter’s Tale 1999 – 2003 Christmas show at Queens Hall, Edinburgh
My Ain Countrie 1998 – award winning Scottish Women show at Celtic Connections
Seannachie 1994 – 97 (traditional Scottish band with fiddle, harp, voices, bouzouki, guitar, bodhran)
Guest musician with a variety of musical artists and musically contributing to over 30 released albums
Second solo cd to be released in May 2008 on her own record label “Big Bash Records”
Unusual Suspects - co-directs the 22-piece with jazz pianist David Milligan
TMSA Young Trad Tour 05, 06, 07, 08 – winner/finalists of Hands Up For Trad Young Musician of the Year tour
Songs of Conscience 07 & Scottish Men 06 – high profile shows at Celtic Connections with singer-songwriters, such as Peggy Seeger, from across the world & Scottish men from Gaelic and Scots traditions
Folkestra – guest musical director of youth orchestra run by Kathryn Tickell
1996 “Song of Redshank” Highland Festival commission, 22 minutes, 10 musicians
1997 “The Sea King’s Daughter” soundtrack and song settings for an audio play of George Mackay Brown’s 1998 “Making the Connection” Celtic Connections Festival ‘new voices’ 50 minutes, 10 musicians
2000 “Photons in Vapour” commission by An Tobar, Isle of Mull, 46 minutes, 6 musicians
2003 “Silhouette” commission by An Tobar, 22 minutes, written for 6 singers in the Dunedin Consort
2005 “The Ballad of Eppie Moray” commission by Women In Music, 12 minutes, 7 Unusual Suspects women
2007 “The State of the Union” commission by Brampton Festival written jointly Corrina Hewat & Kathryn Tickell
2007 “The Lovely Wife O Kelso” commissioned by The Splore at the Aberdeen International Youth Festival
2007 “Lorient Suite” –commissioned by the Scottish Government for the Unusual Suspects Gala Performance at the Lorient Interceltique Festival Scottish Year celebrations August 2007.
Currently guest harp tutor on Traditional Applied Music Degree Courses at Newcastle University
& Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow
Summer Schools: Splore, Folkworks Summer Schools, various European & American Harp Weeks
Previously: Strathclyde University, City of Edinburgh Broughton School, Selkirk High School, Fettes College, Balnain House, Feis Rois, Edinburgh International Harp Festival
Harmony Singing Workshops – largest workshop ws held in January with 103 “Come & Try” participants
Vocal Workshops – Scots Song, Robert Burns Songs, Scottish Lullabies,
Harp Workshops – including 6 online lessons hosted by ayepod.net available for download
Adjudicator for New Hampshire Highland Games and Ohio Scottish Games, USA
Committee member of Edinburgh International Harp Festival
Scottish Harp book & cd of compositions and arrangements published by Taigh Na Teud 2002
Second volume to be released in 2008