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Album Review

This nice melding of Celtic and Scandinavian musics is represented by the Kelpie — a Scottish mythological creature that has a parallel in Scandinavian culture. The Celtic music is performed outstandingly, with vocals from both performers fitting perfectly into the song structures, Kerstin Blodig (a musicologist) providing the light Celtic-esque range, and Ian Melrose (of Clannad fame) providing the counterpoint. At its essence, it's traditional Celtic acoustic music with tinges of northern sounds adding color here and there. The songs all work well within their framework, while the players pump out various soulful ballads and such. The music can just as easily pick up into a reel as needed, with Melrose switching over to a whistle for a time. Perhaps the best highlights for non-Celtic fans would be the two outstandingly non-traditional tunes visited along the way. Jethro Tull's "Kelpie" is performed midway through the album (apparently a song unknown to Blodig and Melrose until well after the duo had been performing under the name, with the same inspiration as Tull's Ian Anderson), and "Paddy Goes to Tunisia" is a stunning Celtic guitar adaptation of Dizzy Gillespie's classic "A Night in Tunisia." Those two alone make the album worthy of one listening, and the wealth of Northern European music makes it worth some more.

Biography

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s

Celtic guitarist Ian Melrose was born in Middlesbrough, England but raised in Scotland; chiefly influenced by British folkies like Davey Graham, John Renbourn, Bert Jansch and John Martyn, he was fascinated by traditional music as a youngster but ultimately earned a law degree, only performing professionally after relocating to Berlin in 1981. A year later, Melrose formed the acoustic folk-jazz trio Twlight, which in 1985 won the group competition at the Edinburgh Folk Festival. After releasing the...
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Kelpie, Ian Melrose
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