Penguin Eggs

Tuesday, 31 March 2020 14:40


Written by Tony Montague | Tim Readman | Roger Levesque
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Skye Consort, Maìri Rankin and Eric Wright and Dayna Manning.

Skye Consort - by Tony Montague

With an instrumental lineup that features nyckelharpa (keyed fiddle), cello, and cittern/bouzouki; a lead singer from Sweden with a golden voice; and a repertoire rooted in traditions that span the Atlantic, Skye Consort and Emma Björling is a one-of-a-kind quartet.

“Skye Consort has been doing baroque and folk music fusion since 1999, based in Montreal,” says co-founder Seán Dagher. “We’ve released a series of albums with different singers—classical and folk—and played Welsh, Scottish, Irish, French music—always taking folk songs and giving them interesting new arrangements.

“This collaboration with Emma Björling started about two years ago. Alex Kehler, our fiddle and nyckelharpa player, knew her from the folk music world and brought her onboard for a project we were doing with La Nef, a much larger ensemble. Emma’s flight home was cancelled because of an ice storm in Iceland, so she spent three days with me and Amanda [Keesmaat], our cellist, sleeping on the couch. During those three days we got the idea for a Skye Consort project with her. We’d really enjoyed working together on the La Nef thing, and she wanted to do something in particular with cello and the soundscape it brought.”

Last year’s eponymous Skye Consort & Emma Björling is the fruit, a wonderfully varied collection of tracks, six of them Scandinavian songs and tunes. The lilting opener, Herr Hillebrand, sets the tone with its spirited yet intricate accompaniment of Björling’s emotionally nuanced voice....

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