Salamander was recorded in Castlesound and features Gabriel’s Step, which has become Bellevue Rendezvous‘ opener at gigs, the beautiful Herding Song and the imagined mysteries of the Trip To St Kilda…
“Elemental, mesmeric, extraordinarily beautiful. The second CD from this string trio is an absolute triumph. Bellevue Rendezvous combines the formidable fiddle talents of Gavin Marwick with Ruth Morris’ spinetingling nyckelharpa and Cammy Robson’s exceptional accompaniment on cittern and jaw harp. A repertoire of darkly enchanting tunes from all over Northern Europe, arranged for maximum effect: Salamander really is something special. The exotic build-up to Gabriel’s Step is full of the earthy power and edgy elfin grace of a certain type of French folklore: the fact that it’s in 5/4 time goes almost unnoticed. Changing into the angelic sweetness of Byss-Calle 32, the Swedish nyckelharpa really shines – a glow which persists throughout the album.
Take the inspired combination of a Breton Dro, hypnotic and repetitive, with the simply gorgeous Tuolpagorni from Lappland. A stately Swedish waltz glides into the jaws of a ravening polska. Cliff Stapleton’s gyrating Man in the Brown Hat is paired with the equally frenzied La Sensonette, another French gem. The final Herding Song provides a total contrast, gentle and understated, a musical de-tox before you press the play button again.
A range of composers feature on this album, but Gavin Marwick’s compositions are numerous and noteworthy as ever. The title track combines three of his tunes, the distinctively Scots Trip to St Kilda, the trancelike triple-time Joel Turk, and the fiddle fiesta Salamander. His Firedance medley is another salamander reference, dramatic and powerful like a midwinter bonfire. Gavin’s stately march Nyckelharpa is followed by a joyous jig he calls The Fourth Health. As if this wasn’t enough, Bellevue Rendezvous add a couple of Eastern European tracks, the sorrowful Macedonian Devojche and the pair of Klezmer dances from Warsaw. Salamander is truly fabulous, cathartic and invigorating: very highly recommended and already likely to be in my 2010 top ten. Google it.” – Alex Monaghan