Album: I Crossed The Sea(EP)
Label: Storywheel
Tracks: 4

Storywheel are a duo comprising Patricia De Mayo and Keith Clouston, and by all accounts they made a strong impression when they performed at this year's Leigh Folk Festival. This EP is the first time I'd heard of them, and on this showing their music certainly warrants further investigation - and exposure.

Their distinctive sound is based on that of the oud (North African/Middle eastern lute), which has been part of the crossover world music scene since its modal tunings inspired guitarists like Davy Graham and Bert Jansch in the mid-to-late-60s when its distinctive sound also featured on albums by the Incredible String Band and US band Kaleidoscope. Both Patricia and Keith play oud, and aside from some electric bass, lap steel and ukulele the remainder of the EP's soundscape is provided by fiddle, synths, low whistle and hammered dulcimer courtesy of Gerry Diver, who's responsible for production of three out of the four tracks.

As you'd expect, the musical climate is exotic, with more than a nod towards prog, and provides a stimulating and busy backdrop for the duo's intriguing stories-in-sound. The title song, an original tale of love and longing, is especially attractive, while Nomad (Birds Of Passage) comes closest to authentic middle-eastern taxim. But to my mind the most successful moment comes with an adaptation of the traditional folksong The Welcome Sailor. I'm not quite sure that Storywheel will be able to extend their approach to a full-length album, however; time will tell..

David Kidman

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I Crossed The Sea

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