Celtic Connections 2023: Jenna Reid with Harris Playfair

Shetland fiddler Jenna Reid has for a long time been one of the most visible and impressive of Scottish fiddlers. As a member of Blazin’ Fiddles and with already a few solo albums in her catalogue, she is a household name among the Celtic music community.

In 2022, Jenna recorded, with pianist Harris Playfair, an entire album in one day. Today, January 25, the album entitled One Day, with Jenna and Harris giving a concert in the Glasgow City Halls Recital Room.

The Recital Room is a small, fairly intimate space with great acoustics; it is absolutely perfect for a solo artist, duo or a very small ensemble. It served Jenna’s album release gig perfectly.

The 75 minutes of music we heard was a gourmet serving to anyone who tealky appreciates the fiddle. On small scale gig like this, Jenna’s stunning technique and deep understanding of the music itself combined with her personality. The faster tunes in particular saw her approaching the classical music and violin tradition and integrating that seamlessly into the trad music framework.

She projected a forceful musical voice of her own while clearly enjoying the occasion; “for once, I don’t have to worry about microphones”, she quipped, as the fiddle and the piano don’t need amplifying in the Recital Room. She was free to play as she felt, and it reverberated throughout the room.

Harris Playfair’s brilliant work on the piano must also be mentioned, absolutely masterful playing from him too, as witnessed by one especially stormy piano solo.

To cap: a magnificent performance by an amazing musician and surely one of the artistic high points of CC23. The Recital Room only holds maybe a hundred people but the album is now out for all to listen. It’s called One Day and I warmly recommend you check it out.


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