This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 9/02
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Well, I'm stumped. Malvina is not listed in my dictionary. So what does the name mean? Oh, I get it (after sneaking a peak at the web site of this group). In honor of the late folksinger and political activist Malvina Reynolds, Beth Cahill, Gina Forsyth and Lisa Markley, aka The Malvinas, have adopted her first name as the moniker for their threesome.
Do they do Reynolds justice? An unqualified yes.
These are three women who can write and deliver songs. Their initial effort encompasses most of the arc of human relationships--longing, seeking, settling, losing. You get the picture--none of these performers would list Mr. Rogers as an influence. If it's true that the truth sets us free, most of the characters in these songs haven't completely unshackled as yet.
But quite often there is a quirky twist.
Exhibit A: Gina Forsyth's "Home Of St. Francis." An individual is attracted to a young woman named Mary Lou and inexplicably misses the fact that the young woman in question is a nun. Might love truly be that blind? And yes, Forsyth closes the song with "tell her hello Mary Lou, good-by heart."
In "Maria," all take turns singing about an alternative religious emissary:
"...mama mia avo"Sun Salutation," lays out the remnants of a failed relationship, with an obliquely optimistic message:
rosary beads rattle soft and low
the temple veil's fallen down
can't go to father, fear the son...
...she'll intercede, say a prayer for me
maria, maria, maria
lady at the gate, take us in the back way..."
"...tell you don't even tryThe limb all artists climb out on is portrayed in "Everyone's An Artist." A singer is playing at 2 a.m., with just the bartender in attendance:
to make sense of this mess
just clutch your flag and hold it high
as you greet the sun in the east
lay your grief to the west
empty yourself of all the rest
the earth will spin..."
"...the lights have been up a good fifteen minutesForsyth provides ironic humor, reminiscent of Cheryl Wheeler, with "Like This." After an apparently not-so-simple kiss turns her into a gooey state, she worriedly sings of her condition but then comes to embrace it:
she's just hoping I'll quit
but I'm not tired and I'm thirsty
I've got a following you just can't see it..."
"...years of educationBoth Markley's sultry "Resonate" and Cahill's "Sepia Tone" pinpoint the affirmation so often needed by one person of another.
now it's all a muddle
years of psychotherapy
turned into a puddle...
...will it always be like this?
please tell me I don't have to go
will it always be like this?
God, I surely hope so..."
The subject matter of this release may be somewhat somber but the quality of the artistry makes this an attractive release. Add in some touches of humor and there's no excuse for failing to pick up this CD. Malvina, they've done you right.
The Malvinas are Gina Forsyth on vocals, fiddle and guitar; Lisa Markley on vocals, guitar, dobro and percussion and Beth Chaill on vocals, tenor guitar and mandolin. Martin McCall on drums and Andy Chiles on bass assisted on this release.
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