|Review in Folkworld (March 2013)
Sprangeen - Sprangeen
A prodigious gathering of individual and collective talent, many members of this all-women band have had impressive careers in traditional music since Sprangeen's rousing concerts and ceilidhs in 1980s Edinburgh. Fiddles, harps, concertinas, flutes and whistles, and one of the most diminutive double-bassists around: Sprangeen had a varied sound, even without the occasional comic effects. Their music stretched from the Borders to the Bothies and beyond, with dance-hall reels and jigs, songs in Gaelic and English, slow airs from both sides of the North Channel, and plenty of pipe tunes. Sprangeen specialised in subtle or startling arrangements, and this re-release is a welcome reminder of the creative energy as well as the musical skill which was knocking about the Edinburgh scene in the mid eighties.
Probably the most well-known graduates of Sprangeen are harpists and singers Patsy Seddon and Mary MacMaster. They soon formed the duo Sileas, and were founder members of both The Poozies and Clan Alba. Their singing and harping features strongly on this recording, as does Patsy's fiddling and Mary's little-known mastery of the oriental temple bells. Sprangeen were young enough to experiment, but wise enough to respect the beauty of traditional music. Airs such as The Braes of Lochiel and Miss Sine Flemington are played with beautiful simplicity, while the strathspey version of Ale is Dear and the mouth-music arrangement of Paddy's Leather Britches show the innovation and spark which has characterised Edinburgh's music ever since. The recording quality is of its time in places - small label meets seven-piece band in suboptimal suroundings - but this 1984 album is definitely worth hearing again.
Alex Monaghan, Folk World.
|Review of original LP (1984)
Sprangeen - Sprangeen
An impressive recording debut by this all-women septet from Edinburgh. The instrumentation includes concertina, two clarsachs, flute, double bass and, at one point, duck-call. And, in case anyone suspects that Sprangeen are all elegance and sensitivity, listen to the way they glide from the rounded beauties of the slow air "Miss Sine Flemington" (flute, clarsach and bowed bass) into the muscular strathspey time of "The Ale is Dear," which they also go on to play as a reel. It's true that the slow pieces are especially good -- there is even a slow reel, "Flora Macdonald," featuring clarsach. The singing is good too: notably Mary MacMaster's waulking song and the group's vivacious port a beul. And there's no lack of variety when four members of the band can play fiddle on one track with two concertinas.
Alastair Clark, The Scotsman.
Comment on Footstomping (August 2012)
We are absolutely delighted to get this recording as a CD! Sprangeen, a group of seven Edinburgh-based musicians was formed in 1982 for a special festival (Women Live in Scotland), and stayed together for another two years, recording this, their only album in 1984. With their unique and imaginative combination of fiddles, metal and gut strung Celtic harps, concertinas, flute, whistle and double bass, Sprangeen brought a new dimension to the spectrum of Scottish music. The band derived their style and repertoire from a wide range of traditional roots - from Gaelic waulking songs to Border fiddle tunes, and from Highland pipe music to Scottish traditional songs. All have gone on to contribute to the richness of the current Scottish traditional music scene. The two clarsach players, Mary MacMaster and Patsy Seddon, went on to form a duo 'Sileas', also becoming founder members of 'The Poozies'.
Women Live! 30 Years On : Reunion
A Women Live! reunion with performance from the specially reformed Sprangeen is planned for 7 September 2012. This took place in the Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh. The event was a great success Sprangeen on Facebook.
Iain Anderson Show BBC Scotland
Archive Album of the Week: Sprangeen - Sprangeen
|The List : Norman Chalmers
23 August 2012 Rating: ****
Here is a re-release from the Age of Vinyl, before CDs even existed, by the seven pioneering Edinburgh-based young women whose music (this was their only album) set a new tone, and light touch, within the Scottish folk scene. Patsy, Mary, Ann, Marta, Val, Rosa (and Kathleen) cut a swathe through the patriarchal, chauvinist bands of the period in cheerful smiles, colourful clothes and joyfully creative traditional music. Their two fiddles, flute. two comcertinas, two harps and a double bass, with vocals in Scots and Gaelic produced a rumbustious, sometimes delicate, often amusing and always interesting take on their own country's music. Now, nearly 30 years on, they've gone digital!