Once again, Christ Church Cathedral’s Coffee Concerts provided another rare international treat with the return of the Vancouver singer and flute player Norah Rendell and Minnesotan guitarist Brian Millar with their folksy brand of narrative songs, tunes and come-all-ye’s.
I remembered them from some years ago when the concerts were held in St.Olaf’s Hall during Cathedral renovations. Once again we had the very enriching experience of how music and songs travel out of one place and later return changed and revitalised by the different cultures.
Rendell is more a flute player but she has a clear unadorned voice, suited to narrative songs and Millar is an instrumentalist who sings in a deeper register in a plain, no frills style.
Their choice of logging and lumberjack songs was very informative with come-all-ye style and old timey music. Tunes and Irish resonances and I loved Millar’s courting tunes to Rendell – “Will You come Home With Me?”
Not only did we get lumber and logging songs but Rendell who spent years in French Montreal brought some almost Cajun sounds to Qui Me Passerale Bons and two fine Quadrilles showing German and Scandanavian influences like polkas.
A come-all-ye from Ontario, Canada – Save Your Money When You’re Young reminded of Maids When You’re Young, Never Wed An Old Man.
They encored with a rattling good Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore.