The student council members also lend a helping hand in the distribution of the contribution.
David Kidman April June Tabor - At The Wood's Heart Topic An absolutely beautiful, nay sublime set of mostly sad, ruminative songs on the timeless emotional themes, interpreted by June with all the matchless poise, magisterial maturity and unrivalled thoughtfulness that are her hallmarks - and yet I can't help feeling that she's surpassed even her own supremely lofty standards here.
The curious thing is that even though you know that with a recorded artefact you'll get to hear exactly the same performance on each and every replay, you really do feel that June's responding to the song texts afresh each time rather than just wheeling out a predetermined response with exactly the same inflections and emphases.
And another factor which makes this new CD so special is undoubtedly the close rapport that June achieves with the members of her backing crew; in a manner of speaking, June enjoys the best of both worlds with her collaborators, with gifted exponents of both what you might call "art-song folk" pianist Huw Warren and violinist Mark Emerson and for want of a better term "strummed folk" ace guitarist Martin Simpsonall three being musicians with whom June's worked extensively in the past.
And as if that weren't enough, on some tracks there are well-judged contributions from Andy Cutting accordion and Mark Lockheart and Iain Ballamy saxesand it's all reliably underpinned by Tim Harries' sensitively-moulded double-bass work.
June's careful adoption of specific instrumental timbres and combinations for voicing the mood and tenor of each song is remarkable and unerringly perceptive. For instance, there's a distinctly Schubertian air to the piano's short prelude to Ah!
The Sighs a 16th century song of courtly lovegiving the piece more of a Romantic resonance than the basic acknowledgement of its source might normally call forth.
Interestingly, this contrast is turned on its head when Martin Simpson's poised guitar accompaniment to Heart Like A Wheel invests that song with something of the character of a courtly troubadour ballad, allowing us to concentrate on June's heartbreaking sorry, there's no other word for it!
These are but two acute examples of the sheer intelligence within June's new interpretations of the songs presented on this CD.
Just over half of the twelve songs are genuinely traditional in origin, and their selection was galvanised by the inspiration June gained from a series of concerts she undertook with this particular group of musicians including an In Session broadcast for BBC4. The repertoire June's chosen contains contrasts aplenty, too, with standout interpretations of Robert Burns' Lie Near Me the album's final, extended trackBill Caddick's powerful The Cloud Factory June's always had a striking empathy with Bill's writing, as you know and Duke Ellington's Do Nothing 'Til You Hear From Me to name but three interpolated with some slightly more uptempo fare such as Oh!
Then, on classic folk standards like The Banks Of The Sweet Primroses, June's incredible innate talent for storytelling transcends the occasionally rarefied, quasi-classical nature of the song's arrangement and presentation that description's a statement of fact, not a criticism, I hasten to add!
So let's force those doubters who habitually think of June as a cool, unemotional singer to take a close listen to this CD, and prepare for the backlash - the sound of words being hastily eaten!
So, without qualification, this often profoundly moving CD forms another dark and bitter masterpiece from June, and right up there on the 'A-List' in both the obvious and the oblique senses of the term.
David Kidman June Tabor - Always Topic This latest box-set to come our way from Topic celebrates the intense artistry of arguably the finest British female singer currently operating within what might loosely be termed the folk scene her province is normally viewed as such by dint of convenience, purely because she has long operated primarily in acoustic music contexts.
June had been singing and gigging ever since her college days at Oxford the booklet includes a page-stealing photo of "Tabor" captaining the St. Hugh's team on a late edition of University Challenge!
The tiny handful of pre-'76 performances unearthed for inclusion on this box-set prove invaluable mementoes of June's early accomplishment as an unaccompanied singer of traditional song. The earliest recording featured here is A Week Before Easter captured in by Andrew Cronshawand this gives a potent indication of her individual approach to pace and metre that even then was idiosyncratic, albeit encompassing both a mature approach to decoration and a quality of considered understanding that was rare for someone of her relative youth.
June's first solo album proper, Airs And Graces, initiated the Tabor Template by serving up what in appropriate restaurateur-speak might be dubbed "a traditional repertoire garnished with a few choice contemporary morsels".
It also initiated - whether consciously or not - the enigmatic Tabor practice of beginning her album titles with the letter A a device which, disappointingly, remains obstinately unexplained in the booklet, which otherwise contains more than a fair share of enticingly revealing snippets of background information.
It's probably somewhat of an over-simplification to observe that over and during the course of her career thus far, June has moved from being a classy interpreter and transmitter of songs mostly traditional, if accompanied then mostly by guitar for an extended period of time her principal accompanist was Martin Simpson, indeed until he moved to the States in the late 80sto being an equally superlative interpreter and transmitter of modern, composed song in tandem with her expertise in traditional repertoire, and accompanied most often by piano-based or, latterly, chamber-textured instrumental arrangements.Students at Stranmillis University College have been working with the Ulster Chess Union to develop chess clubs in our primary schools.
In addition to looking at teaching strategies and resources, the students have been focusing on how to develop thinking skills and strategic thought through chess.
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