Dublin-born Christine Tobin began singing in the early 1980s and, pursuing her interest in jazz, moved to London where she studied at the Guildhall School of Music. She sang in clubs, formed a band with pianist Simon Purcell, at whose urging she wrote lyrics for some of his compositions, and also sang with Lammas.
In the early 1990s, Tobin briefly stepped away from music to study anthropology, then formed another band and made the first of several albums on Babel Records. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, she continued to perform, mainly in the UK, her material ranging through several aspects of contemporary jazz while never losing sight of the music of the land of her birth.
Tobin continued composing music and writing lyrics, often in association with the existing work of poets past, W.B. Yeats, and present, Paul Muldoon. The latter, a commission from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, resulted in the 2016 album, Pelt.
Facets of many of Tobin’s interests continue in this new album, whereon all the compositions are hers. So too are the lyrics, with one exception – Still, Life is her setting of a poem by Eva Salzman. This album follows upon Tobin’s decision to return to Ireland where she has chosen to live in a rural community. Stylistically, she has also returned to her roots, subtly blending echoes of Celtic music with contemporary forms. These echoes are enhanced by the instrumentation of the group with which she collaborates.
Always thoughtful, this is restful and romantic music that is comfortingly far removed from the often unsettling urgency of today. While not for the jazz hardcore, Christine Tobin’s wistfully appealing vocal sound should ensure this album’s appeal to those with wider tastes.
Loch Glinne (part 1); Gennie’s Welcome; Callow; Mullach Na Sí; Still, Life; Loch Glinne (part 2); Hare & Crow; Sedges And Heather; July (48.57)
Tobin (v); Steve Hamilton (p); Phil Robson (g, elec); Cora Venus Lunny (vn, vla); David Power (uilleann pipes, whistles). Rosemount, Co. Westmeath, Ireland, August 2022.
Trail Belle Records TBR05