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Music Review Celebrating the women from the North East of England

STEVE JOHNSON recommends an album that tells the stories of women who otherwise may be hidden from history

Howay The Lasses Vol 1
Self-Released-howaythelasses.com

HOWAY The Lasses is an exciting new album which celebrates the lives of women from the north-east of England. A collaboration between singer, accordonist/pianist Annie Ball, father and daughter singer songwriters Gareth Davies-Jones and Bronwen Davies-Jones and cellist Katie Tertell, the 10 tracks on the album tell the stories of notable women from all walks of life in the north-east.

The opening song Janet Taylor tells the story of a mathematician who became the first woman to patent a navigational instrument. This is followed by Sheila Graber, a tribute to the noted artist and animator from South Shields who drew Paddington Bear for the BBC.

Going back in history the acoustic song Claudia Severa imagines the life of a Roman woman who wrote on a tablet in Latin discovered on Hadrian’s Wall in the 1970s.

While most of the songs are written by the artists The Collier Lass comes from a broadside ballad in the 1850s and is a lively song about Polly Parker, a girl working in the Lancashire coal mines.

The title track is an uplifting tribute to Newcastle United Women’s Team and Rachel Parsons tells the story of the first president of the Women’s Engineering Society whose work challenging gender norms in engineering and science is also paid tribute to in the final song The Wes.

However, the inclusion of Fiona Hill who went from a mining family in Bishop Auckland to become an adviser to the White House may not be the track Star readers are most likely to find favour with, fine though the vocal arrangements on the song are.

Notwithstanding the different backgrounds and experiences of the women being celebrated here and whether we will identify more with some than others this is an enjoyable album to listen to telling the stories of women who otherwise may be hidden from history.  

With great vocals and instrumentals and intended as a first volume, we can eagerly look forward to the second.

 

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