Pippa Reid-Foster, Driftwood Harp. Album Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Whilst some tales can be told without the aid of music, no music can be felt, expressed or admired without a tale being held within its heart, its core, it matters not a jot whether there are lyrics binding the music together or if indeed the work offered by the artist is an instrumental piece, a journey into the wordless activity, what matters that in the listener’s mind there is a narrative they can grasp hold of and not let go, that they can imagine flowing with gentleness, lapping at the banks deep inside the brain and then rushing to a dramatic but scintillating conclusion.

Words like the delicate strings attached in numbers to the polished wooden frame can bring greatness to a tale but occasionally a whole album can appear which avoids all contact with the letters in the alphabet, its sentences and long lingering plot and which instead finds a way to show that music itself, even one instrument, can be just as much a testament to art as any novel by Daphne du Maurier or any poem written in honour of a newly crowned queen.

It is in the lyrically silent world of Pippa Reid-Foster’s Driftwood Harp that the story comes vibrantly alive, in which it sounds the bell in which to become attached to another art-form, one which might have the connotations of being performed by the heavenly choir but which instead is played by the honest bone of humanity.

As each track opens up, a new chapter begins, each mysterious pluck is doubled in time to mimic the heart finding a new beat in which to hopefully find respect and enjoyment in and the instrumental flows, so too does the knowledge that not everything needs words to have power.

In tracks such as Colours of Autumn/Pip’s Jig, Iona Sraid nam Marbh, the fairy-like stealth of Kintraw and Deidre In dreams, Ms. Reid-Foster gives such a wonderfully performed account of the harp that it really does guide the imagination into living in the depths of the imagination, of feeling the Scottish soul of ancient beings, of lands now lost in the mists of Time; it is a story that needs no words, like the expression felt between two friends in a single smile, words are not needed but the music supplies it in kind.

A fantastically well understood album, the combination of harps and soul not in question and one that offers a story of redeeming hope.

Ian D. Hall