Sussie Nielsen - Day is Dawning
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Sussie Nielsen
Day is Dawning
Go! Danish Folk Music (

cd cover I am always amazed at people who not only master a foreign language, but also manage to sound like a 'local'. Sussie Nielsen from Denmark is one such person. I really thought she was Irish, not just because of her accent, phrasing and intonation, but because she has captured a quality in her singing which I would not expect to hear from outside the island. According to the liner notes, she has studied with some of the best - Ni Uallachain, O Lionaird, Graham and Karan Casey - and this must go some way to explaining her ability. However, I have a feeling it is more than simply that; Nielsen has a love for this music and it shows.

She is the singer with the ensemble Flax In Bloom, and this is her second solo album. She has a high voice, clear and pure. She uses ornamentation and vibrato sparingly and has a yearning in her singing. Like Casey and Kate Rusby, she adopts traditional songs in such a way that they belong to her.

"Lady Margaret" came to her from Len Graham by way of Paddy Tunney, yet her interpretation makes it distinctly her own. Similarly, "The Bay of Biscay" is a relatively common song, yet this album-opening track is outstanding, instantly drawing your attention to the longing in Nielsen's version.

The accompaniment throughout the album is generally subdued and moody, provided by eight musicians featuring guitar, bouzouki, harp, piano, accordion, fiddle, cello, nyckelharpa and moraharpa. Perhaps this is the weakness in the recording for me; although the players are good, their instruments create a 'medieval' sound. On individual tracks, this can be very effective and moving. But when combined with the overall gentleness of the album, the songs eventually merge into a oneness. Yet Nielsen can handle up tempo songs with gusto, as "She Didn't Dance" demonstrates. I wish she had added more like this to the album. - Jamie O'Brien

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