London Performance of Singing the Storm

The Stage

Graham Gurrin


Trio whips up stormy delight.

Superb – June Tabor and Danny Thompson joined Savourna Stevenson for their final London performance at Union Chapel by Graham Gurrin

This was the final performance by this trio of Singing the Storm, a set of new and traditional border ballads set to music by Savourna Stevenson, having been commissioned for the Borders Festival in October 1995 and taken on occasional tour since then. It is hard to see how the evening could have gone better.
You take one of the finest double bass players in the land, Danny Thompson, as quietly unassuming as he is totally in control, gently easing along the rhythm one minute, the harmonic progression the next. You add June Tabor, a very fine singer and collector of traditional songs. And you put Savourna Stevenson in charge, master of the Scottish harp and an extraordinarily intuitive composer, who has the bardic aim of storytelling well in mind in her settings of lyrics by playwright Liz Lochhead, songwriter Michael Marra and poets Val Gillies and Les Barker.
Tabor’s unaccompanied singing on Willie’s Drowned in Yarrow was superb – if you have not heard her sing in a church you have not lived. By contrast, the arrangement of Twa Corbies was complex – all bowed chords from Thompson and high-pitched tinkling from the harp – and spinetingling in a different sense.
All three musicians are noted for their desire to move on to different projects and different styles. This no doubt has some bearing on their ability to remain so fresh and exciting…

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