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Josie Duncan and Pablo Lafuente - The Morning Tempest (Oakridge Records)

This rather splendid and tasteful debut by the award winning Scots/Spanish duo Josie Duncan and Pablo Lafuente, sees a musical partnership that finds little difficulty traversing the wealth of Gaelic and Scots traditions with nine immediately accessible songs. Whilst their handsomely printed press release recommends the opener The Night Visiting Song, my attention is immediately drawn to Josie's own beautiful The Great Escape, which fortunately has no tunnel digging scenes here, nor any 'Cooler Kings' scurrying down the hillside on their Triumph TR6 Trophy. Instead, what it does have is a delicate melody that suits Josie's and guest vocalist Colin Macleod's voices, and is well worth putting on repeat for a play through of several times.

As well as the original material, we are treated to some rather satisfying readings of traditional songs such as the portentous King Orfeo, the galloping He Called for a Candle and the ethereal closer Potato Puirt. It's quite possible, or should I say it's a dead cert, that the Gaelic songs will define Josie's singing career and it's quite easy to see why. There's a certain clarity in her voice on such songs as Thug Mi 'n Oidhche and Uamh An Oir, which resonates long after the songs have finished. A beautiful debut and a duo to watch out for this coming festival season.       

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky