The debut from the Hen Hoose project (a “female/nb production house” founded by Tamara Schlesinger, aka Malka) matches up a large number of female artists for collaborations, and ‘Monochrome – the first single taken from this full-length release and featuring Emma Pollock and Pippa Murphy, was simply sublime.
The other eleven tracks are just as good, with track 2 featuring Rachael Swinton and Pippa Murphy in a slow-burning, almost lullaby of guitar arpeggios and breathy vocals, just lovely. Following tracks feature folk mainstay Karine Polwarth teaming up with Malka in a very funky workout entitled ‘These Are The Nights’, while Carla J Easton, Malka and Amuda (aka Amanda from Bossy Love) get groovy with ‘The Best is Yet to Come’.
There are further tracks featuring the likes of Elizabeth Electra/Susan Bear with the glitchy but soulful ‘Hush Hush’ and Admiral Fallow’s Sarah Hayes makes several memorable contributions. The last track features the incredible voice and talent Beldina Odenyo Onassis (aka Heir of the Cursed) whose tragic and untimely death was announced a couple of weeks ago. Her collaboration with Inge Thomson is spooky and skewed track, and is entitled ‘Burn It All’. RIP Beldina, BM for once is lost for words but is thinking of her family and other loved ones.
If the aim is to redress the gender imbalance in the Scottish music industry with regards to performance, writing and production, these collective efforts certainly make it clear what most of us already know – there is a wealth of talented people who are not male. And it is also a pointed message to the major gig and festival promoters in this neck of the woods who seem intent on recycling past-it male “rockers” as headliners wherever possible…
Point made – succinctly, passionately and memorably.