LENA ULLMAN AND ANNA FALKENAU
This is a CD of fiddle and clawhammer banjo duets and songs, but it goes considerably outside the envelope of old-time music. Anna Falkenau (fiddle) is from Scotland and the Orkney Islands. Lena Ullman (banjo) is from further south in Britain. They open with Skip Gorman’s “Chilean Horsemen” which itself has a sort of cross-cultural feel suggested by its name. The traditional tunes and songs on the album include “Red Rocking Chair” (with a melody composed by Ullman, not too different from other versions, except that it sounds like a slow air), “Goodbye Girls,” “Black Jack David” (also with a not too different melody), and “Ways Of The World,” which is medleyed with Dave Landreth’s composition “Stranger In The Garden.” Other Ullman compositions include the “Blueberry”/“Snowdrop” medley, “Fog,” “Waiting For Anna,” and “Homeless.” Falkenau contributes her own original “Apatchy Hunting In The Garden.” The twelfth and final cut is “Easter Lambs,” a tune by Charlie Lennon, who is Irish. Lennon and Frank Livingston composed three other tunes, done as a medley.
Both musicians play impeccably and with a lot of feeling. Ullman sings in a high delicate voice with a noticeable burr in her accent. “Waiting For Anna” has a very Asian feel in some of the fiddling. I hoped to hear some old-time fiddling in W.M. Stepp’s famous tune “Ways Of The World,” but while they play the melody, the rhythm comes from a very different place than Kentucky. These are two skilled musicians from across the pond who filter everything through their own musical experiences. (www.annafalkenau.com)SAG