JigDoll is an exciting new project created by singer, musician and dancer Hannah, whose career to date has involved a number of col- laborative permutations (Kerfuffle, Sam Sweeney, Maddy Prior, Tuulikki Bartosik). Currently, Hannah’s a member of the trio Lady Maisery, several of the strands of whose combined music-making flow both into and out of her own musical explorations. It’s always been apparent that her own strongly individ- ual talents were bound one day to brim over into a solo act both unique and yes, genuine- ly original. Such is JigDoll, in which Hannah combines music, songs and footwork in a spellbinding and dynamic show featuring her accordeon, voice and foot percussion and using the innovative technique of pedal-free live looping, whereby she’s able to build the textures live and create a thoroughly magical atmosphere. She sees this as the personal embodiment of the music of her life so far, weaving together the spheres of sound and movement. Of course, having both heard music as a dancer and seen dance as a musi- cian, Hannah is ideally placed to express this synergy, in taking the age-old concept of the travelling-minstrel-cum-one-person-band into the technological age.
Hannah has composed all the music on this album-of-the-live-show; she’s been influ- enced both by her continual moving-around and by her open-mindedness and eternal thirst for new experiences. She’s taken her natural cue from folk traditions, the core of which for her has always been clog dancing, now layered with rhythms and techniques from the traditions of song and tune inextri- cably melded with the dance. Deriving much inspiration from her great-great grandad Walter Andrews, a travelling music-hall per- former, she is also cognisant of the need for tradition to evolve. The JigDoll album pre- sents a wonderful sequence of simple yet imaginative musical experiences, beginning and ending with mesmerising lullabies and moving through broadside ballads, original songs and ethnomusical tunes; some linked by the theme of wood, others reflecting on attitudes towards refugees and the displaced. A real feast for the senses.
JigDoll brings to the scene a fresh, hyp- notic and invigorating experience, fusing the old and the new to create something which, while authentically personal, is to be seen as but a staging post in a life of perpetual wide- eyed adventure.
David Kidman