Ailie Robertson is an acclaimed harpist from Scotland who is touring with a guitarist and percussionist as a trio. They took to the floor at Christ Church Cathedral recently at a midday coffee concert. In that care-free folkie tradition, they provided no programme, no doubt giving the impression of playing as the spirit moves them. Or else the title of some jig, reel or hornpipes, tell us nothing, like O’Connors Jig or something quirky like Shave The Bacon. No, she didn’t say that, as far as I heard and perhaps it was her accent or the poor mic technique but six rows back her intros were indistinct.
She walked out to the harp and set a gentle scene with a rippling Scottish Air. She was joined by Paul Jennings, a percussion player from Shetland, with a green mickey mouse logo on an orange tee-shirt and Alan, a Mayo guitarist who favoured a soft tuning technique that masked apparent shortcomings.
The percussionist played the box he sat on like some flamenco artist as well as two cymbals on a stand and a shallow drum about the depth of a bodhran on a stand. The sharp box sound got in the way of the finer harp tones and grace notes.
Jig and reels don’t shine on the harp but the slow airs were beautiful, especially the solo passages. Two tunes about whiskey making caught my interest and what little contemporary work she played was innovative and musically clever.