The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Tony Hil­lier

The Twisted Twenty The Twisted Twenty Penny Fid­dle There isn’t a score of them and they’re not re­ally warped, but the septet known as the Twisted Twenty has un­doubt­edly suc­ceeded in put­ting a new spin on old Bri­tish Isles folk songs.

On its de­but al­bum, this quasi-clas­si­cal col­lec­tive has im­bued ma­te­rial col­lated from 18th-cen­tury col­lec­tions with 21st-cen­tury fresh­ness via the iron­i­cally novel ap­proach of us­ing pe­riod in­stru­ments.

With ex­em­plary tech­nique and dy­namic or­ches­tra­tion the Twisted Twenty bring in­ten­sity and (as­sumed) au­then­tic­ity to pieces oft ap­proached with stilted rev­er­ence by con­tem­po­rary mu­si­cians. An English writer has de­scribed the al­bum as: “A hot toddy for the ears and a sum­mer’s day for the mind.”

There’s no short­age of spirit or es­prit de corps in the open­ing cut. Any tar worth their salt would hap­pily horn­pipe along to the ful­some sound pro­duced by baroque vi­o­lins go­ing full bore in TTT’s take on The Ragged Sailor.

A poignant Robert Burns poem/song about mar­i­tal con­tent­ment ( John An­der­son My Jo), beau­ti­fully sung by Holly Harman, of­fers im­me­di­ate con­trast.

The band leader’s im­pec­ca­ble enun­ci­a­tion el­e­vates the set’s other song, The Three Ravens.

In a clas­sic Scot­tish strath­spey and an air, picked and strummed gui­tar and cit­tern (lute) un­der­pin fid­dles; pounded bodhran (one-sided drum) pow­ers another Cale­do­nian tune.

Bowed baroque dou­ble bass gives grav­i­tas to the group’s un­ex­pected in­stru­men­tal ver­sion of a re­cruit­ing song ( Arthur McBride) that’s been cov­ered by the likes of Bob Dy­lan, Paul Brady and Martin Carthy.

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