Mary and Anahata small pic

Mary Humphreys and Anahata

Traditional English Folk Music


Reviews->Eddie Upton, EDS

Eddie Upton, EDS, September 2005

Mary Humphreys and Anahata

Floating Verses

This is a charming and delightful CD. If you read the list of contents you might be tempted to think that this is a recording of lots of old favourites,but the CD lives up to the artists' boast that they '...specialise in finding unusual variants of songs and tunes from the English tradition and take great delight in putting them back into circulation.'

When you listen to the quality of the singing and playing, that delight is there for all to hear. Mary has a very clear and uncluttered voice, She sings straight at you. She has plenty of vocal power at her disposal but is in full control of that power. She sings like the old singers. She tell the story and you know that while she is singing she has a very clear image in her mind of the song and its characters.

The accompaniments are terrific and I particularly love Anahata's cello. The instrument blends so well with Mary's voice that there are times when the cello almost becomes another human voice. On some tracks the accompaniment provided by cello and banjo, seemingly a bizarre combination and one that might allow for little subtlety, but this recording gives the lie to that. After hearing Mary and Anahata I don't think I could think of anything more natural. I can't imagine why nobody else does it.

I don't like singling out particular tracks, but they have taken one song ('I wish I had never known') from the EFDSS book Still Growing. As one of the editors of the book, and having recorded the song myself, I have very clear ideas about how it should be treated. It is a strange sensation to listen to someone else performing your choice of song, but I have to say I think they have got it absolutely right. Cecil Sharp and Emma Overd (the collector and source singer) would have been just as pleased as me.

I don't think everything is right about the record and sometimes the melodeon and concertina sounds are just a little too "in your face", but that doesn't deter me from giving the CD 5 stars and a hearty recommendation.

Eddie Upton
EDS autumn 2005