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CD Reviews

Duanag — Claire Hewitt

It is so refreshing in these days of manufactured music and synthesisers to listen to Claire Hewitt's pure clear voice with the soothing and tranquil notes from her harp. The 10 tracks on 'Duanag' reflect the title of her final song 'Deep Peace'.

While Claire's vocals and harp takes centre stage on most tracks, she and co-producer Stuart Duncan have added depth to the album by using a variety of instruments, including piano, fiddle and lyre.

At The Birks, Aberfeldy

And the opening track begins with a poem written to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Corbenic Camphill Community at Trochry features five members of the community paying handbells. Corbenic is a community of 46 people, including 26 adults with special needs, who share life on an extended family basis.

In this hectic and troubled world Claire certainly succeeds in her aim of offering a "peaceful interlude" with her debut CD, which is both well performed and produced.

The CD will be launched tonight at the Scottish Crannog Centre, Kenmore. Claire from Aberfeldy, used to be a guide at the centre and regularly performs at summer music evenings in the thatched roundhouse.

The tracks were recorded at Red Barn Studios, Longforgan, and 'Duanag' is released on Birnam CD.

Alison Anderson, Perthshire Advertiser

Storyteller records work

A Clarsach musician, singer and storyteller from Aberfeldy launched her first CD yesterday at the Scottish Crannog Centre, Kenmore.

Entitled Duanag, Claire Hewitt's CD is a collection of 10 self-penned songs and arrangments of traditional Celtic airs and lullabies for voice, harp and lyre.

The inspiration for the collection comes from Claire's work as a music therapist for a children's hospice and for adults suffering from autism and Down's syndrome.

The Courier

Duanag — Claire Hewitt

Duanag (little songs) — Claire Hewitt's first CD — is a collection of beautiful self-penned songs and arrangments of traditional Celtic airs and lullabies for voice, harp and lyre. Claire recently performed some of these songs in Glasgow for representatives of the Dalai Lama. Essential ambient music to help you unwind after a busy day at the office.

Birnam CD review, The Living Tradition

… Finally, it's always very pleasant to be on the spot when someone realises a dream. Several years ago, a young lady — new to Aberfeldy — impressed a lot of people with her fine singing voice.

Singing was her hobby, however, and had to be fitted into the allegedly more important items which go together to make life's rich tapestry. But she persevered, learned to accompany herself on harp and — vitally important — began to believe in herself and her ability.

Claire with harp by waterfall, Aberfeldy

She gained experience through singing for, and with, adults with autism and Downs syndrome (and, of course, getting grandchildren of to sleep) and now it's all come good for Claire Hewitt with the release of her first CD Duanag (little songs). It's a beautifully arranged and produced album, recorded at Stuart Duncan's Red Barn Studios in Longforgan, and is a collection of Celtic airs and lullabies for voice, harp and lyre along with some self-penned songs.

The standout track is a shiver-sending-spinewards version of Turn Ye To Me, with excellent piano from Stuart Duncan and fiddle from Gavin Duncan but it's Claire's voice supremely first, last and always on each track. There is a natural beauty and peace about this album which elevates it from the ranks of the ersatz Celtic Twilight crowd.

It's released on Claire's own label and you can find out more at Let's hope it will be not only the fulfilment of a dream but also a stepping stone to greater things.

Alan Brown, Comment

Music downloads

CD cover design for Duanag Download mp3 extracts from Claire Hewitt's album Duanag:

Bressay Lullaby (extract, 224 KB)

Turn Ye To Me (extract, 152 KB)

Deep Peace (extract, 152 KB)

Claire Hewitt logo: starfish
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