Lori Gordon

Bletherings From a Music Obsessed Mind

Fridarey – “Across The Waters”


I recently picked up the debut release Across The Waters by the Fair Isle group Friðarey. The group is composed of brothers Neil and Stewart Thomson, their sister Anne Sinclair, Anne’s daughter Lise and Neil’s daughter Eileen. The only member I had any previous knowledge of was Lise and I debated starting with this album vs. Lise’s solo recording. I opted for this one first based solely on the strength of one song: “Day Dawn”, which is one of my all-time favorite tunes.

The risk in getting an album based on one song is that you either end up with a disc of gems or an expensive single. Across the Waters is absolutely a disc of gems, even though “Day Dawn” is very different from all of the other pieces. The album features several a cappella songs; one listen of their soaring harmonies and you’ll understand the beauty of voice as instrument. Across the Waters is a mixture of traditional and original compositions, most of which pay homage to life on the Fair Isle or the Shetlands in general. Of particular note are “Far Away” and “Hello, Auld Boat”. For the adventurous, several of the songs are sung in the Shetland dialect.

Rounding out the collection is the American folk song “Cotton Mill Girls”, the Swedish song “Swedish Angel” and the South African spiritual “Halleluya”, which, having learned this song many years ago, I was very pleasantly surprised to find here. The crowning jewel, however, is the closing track “Day Dawn”, which features Lise’s exquisite poetry set to the traditional tune “(Da) Day Dawn”. This is the only solo piece on the album, with Lise accompanying herself on piano. The poignancy of it will leave you breathless and aching and longing for more.

You can find out more about Friðarey here or hear more from Lise Sinclair (including “Day Dawn”) on her MySpace page.


May 21, 2009 - Posted by | Album Reviews, Celtic, Folk, Traditional | , , , , , ,

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