The Wild Myrtles at the Swallow Theatre

The Wild Myrtles
The Wild Myrtles

The Wild Myrtles, who performed at the Swallow Theatre on May 17, were reviewed by David Sumner.

David said: “The Wild Myrtles describe themselves as ‘singers of rare and beautiful songs’. And so it proved when they came to the Swallow Theatre for the third time last Saturday. The Wild Myrtles are a group of eight women who sing songs from all over the world, many in their original languages, in this concert ranging from a Latvian harvest song to a traditional Norwegian dance. Scottish song was especially well represented, and included the beautiful Eriskay love lilt, a love song from Tiree and a boat song from Shetland. Frances Cockburn, who directs the group with an unobtrusive authority, had made several of the musical arrangements, including an unusual setting of the very well known ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’ and the Burns poem ‘Let me in this ae night’.

“The songs, which were all performed with impeccable timing and dynamics, were interleaved with readings from local poets in a neatly crafted sequence which made interesting connections between adjacent items: a Latvian song was bracketed by two Baltic love stories, the sea shanty ‘Bound for South Australia’ was followed by Banjo Paterson’s saga of ‘Mulga Bill’s bicycle’, and a tender love poem followed what is thought to be the oldest surviving love song written in English.”

The next event at the Swallow Theatre is quite different – an adaptation of Dickens’ ‘David Copperfield’ on May 31.