January News and Reviews

The reviews of the CD are starting to come in now, so here are a few for you! For the past five weeks we’ve also been serialised on Genevieve Tudor’s BBC Radio Sunday Folk  Show. If you missed it, you can hear some of the episodes for a little while – but worry not. You can just buy the CD or come and see us live!

Vicki, Jonny & Nick

Folk NorthWest Review: (Derek Gifford)
Serious Kitchen are internationally renowned story teller Nick Hennessey and popular internationally well known musicians and singers Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer who joined up in 2012 to produce the show ‘Whispering Road’. With so much individual talent this trio is bound to make an impact with anything they produce. This CD is no exception and it features a story based on two Scandanavian legends with musical and vocal accompaniment.

Nick is probably one of the best story-tellers on the folk scene as well as having a good singing voice and Vicky is the UK’s leading expert on the Swedish nyckelharpa and also has a great voice. Finally, Jonny is a fine singer and instrumentalist and, on this CD, plays accordion, guitar and kohorn (cow horn!) to great effect. The close harmony singing on this album is also superb.

You might think I’m going over the top in my overall praise for this album but I’m not the only one because the show was nominated for The British Awards for Storytelling Excellence and I quote from one of the nominators who stated:
‘I found the whole performance completely enthralling. Not only was the tale related beautifully but the accompanying music enhanced it wonderfully.’

Without wishing to give the plot away, let me just say that the story involves a handsome prince, a beautiful girl, an otter, a raven and a wolf and, of course, trolls! Nick holds the listener’s attention throughout with his excellent characterisation of the participants and the accompanying music provides a very appropriate atmospheric background. Vicky is fluent in Swedish and is therefore very well placed to perform the Swedish songs and words that form part of the story.

The one question that came to mind when I was listening to this album was ‘Would it bear repeat listenings once you know the complete story?’ The answer has to be ‘Yes’ because the plot is so involved, the delivery so entertaining and it is quite a long tale too that I’m sure I shall be making a return to it several times in the future.

This album is a must for afficionados of traditional tales and will also appeal to those who normally don’t venture into the genre.

Folk Diary: (Vic Smith)
Over the last five years, Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer have established themselves as one of the most accomplished and talented duos on the folk scene. Another of the performing irons that they have in the fire is giving shows with the master storyteller, Nick Hennessey – and this is Serious Kitchen.

The spellbinding long story presented here is of Scandinavian origin – frightening trolls, handsome prince, talking animals – the lot! Nick has a great skill and grabs the attention throughout. Vicki & Jonny provide the music and the singing; sometimes as an augmenting background, sometimes as an interlude and at other times to accentuate important moments in the mounting tension with usually multi-instrumental Vicki sticking to her Swedidh Nyckelharpa for this show and basing much of the music on her roots in Swedish music.

The modern storyteller is often a performance artist but even on an album without the visual appeal, this is pretty gripping stuff.