Friday, 29 June 2012

Sarah Makem: The Heart is True

Listening to a new CD, Sarah Makem:  The Heart is True.

'The first complete CD devoted to the influential Northern Irish Traditional singer Sarah Makem.
 The Heart Is True is selected and presented by Rod Stradling from classic recordings made in the 1950s and 1960s...'

It is part of Topic Records The Voice of the People series, choreographed by Reg Hall.

The CD comes with a little booklet, which includes Rod Stradling's notes, and A General Introduction to the Series by Reg Hall.  I'll see if I can find this General Introduction somewhere on the web - it makes good points about the changing shapes of our traditions.  (So many of Reg Hall's comments on music can be found only in sleeve notes - I sometimes think we need a little book, The Collected Sleeve Notes of Reg Hall.)

Remember to have a look at Rod Stradling's Musical Traditions Internet Magazine.

Sarah Makem, austere, accurate, emotional, controlled.  Rod Stradling quotes A L Lloyd on Sarah Makem's repertoire, which included Irish, English and Scots songs - but he adds that she also had a number of American songs.  The first track I listened to was, of course, It Was in the Month of January - Rod Stradling calls it her finest song.

Discussion of the song and Sarah Makem's influence can be found on Reinhard Zierke's English Folk Music web site:

And after listening to Sarah Makem I immediately put that original alongside Bradford's own Stephanie Hladowski, singing that song.

Stephanie Hladowski - It was in the month of January

You can hear the tradition.

Patrick O'Sullivan