New Internationalist


September 2010

By Eliza Carthy & Norma Waterson

The Waterson family are the nearest thing that Britain has to a folk-song dynasty, although Norma and her daughter Eliza won’t thank anyone for saying so. Despite Gift being an intimate, mother and daughter affair (with various other Watersons popping in for the fun), it’s also an album about the community of song that they encapsulate so well.

There are 11 songs on Gift – mostly traditional ones – and both women take an equal part. Waterson’s voice is distinct, curling and capable of great swoops and sudden pauses; Carthy’s is smokier and just as lovely. The selection showcases the two talents well and they are never muffled by the small band of musicians that accompany them. There’s much here, from the jaunty – ‘Bonaparte’s Lament’ – to the tingling modal cadences of ‘The Rose and the Lily’. Their version of Amen Corner’s 1960s hit ‘(If Paradise Is) Half as Nice’ is there for the ride.

The cover photo – a close-up of Norma and Eliza holding hands – suggests strength, continuity and generosity. For anyone who’s had the privilege of seeing Norma Waterson sing, watch her hands: she literally hands over her songs to her listeners with a grace that defies belief. Sublime.

This column was published in the September 2010 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

Comments on Gift

Leave your comment


  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

...And all is quiet.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

Gift Fact File
Product information Topic Records TSCD 579 CD
Star rating4

Get our free fortnightly eNews


Videos from visionOntv’s globalviews channel.

Related articles

Recently in Books

All Books

Popular tags

All tags

This article was originally published in issue 435

New Internationalist Magazine issue 435
Issue 435

More articles from this issue

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.