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Planet Ulster 

Planet Ulster.
Ulster-Scots Folk Orchestra. 16 tracks.  Total playing time 44 minutes, 57 seconds.
. UsFO, 125 Grange Road, Ballymena, Co Antrim BT42 2EJ. £12.00 including p&p.

SOME PEOPLE still persist in their claim that the Ulster-Scots tradition doesn’t exist. Folk like the Irish News cartoonist, Ian Knox, claim that it is a fabrication. Well, they may say that, but they really are flying in the face of the facts, as anyone listening to this superb CD could testify.

The artwork on the cover might deceive the casual browser that this is some kind of rave album. Not a bit of it! In fact it’s the third CD in the Ulster-Scots tradition to come from the Fowkgates stable after the success of A Clatter o Fowk and Fae oot o Slemish.

You’re getting excellent value for your money too. There are sixteen tracks combining a variety of instruments - fiddles, whistles, flutes, accordions, bagpipes, lambeg drums and some lovely singing voices. There’s even a viola.

If I must single anyone out it has to be Laura Sinnerton. She has a pure, sweet singing voice. Just listen to her singing Bonnie Kellswater. Close your eyes and she’ll take you there!

Bob Spiers’ musical interpretation of Hi Uncle Sam – a poem by the Bard of Ulster, WF Marshall – is a much-needed powerful reminder of the crucial rôle of the ‘Scotch-Irish’ in the American War of Independence.

My favourite track though has to be Willie Drennan’s Dancin tae tha Fiddle. I nearly want to get up and dance to this infectious piece myself – and I’ve got two left feet and couldn’t dance to save my life. I defy anyone to listen to this and not react!

David Kerr

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