The group And Did Those Feet was founded in 1992 by composer/performer Richard Ellin to showcase his own compositions. He was joined by vocalists Ina Williams, who has won many awards in singing contests in Wales and abroad, and Celia Jones, born in Canada but active on the music scene in Britain for over twenty years. Forgetting the Shadows of History is their third release.
Although all members of the group can demonstrate backgrounds in traditional music, this disc doesn’t really reveal that foundation. If I had to characterize the music, I would call it New Age, in the quiet, restful mode (fortunately, I don’t have to do that). The songs themselves are lovely, graced by beautiful melodies and sensitive performances. “Hope for Thee,” for example, is an excellent showcase for Williams’ voice, which is indeed magnificent, while “Aching Light” displays an ethereal quality in Jones’ singing that is more than a little appealing. “Angelus,” which concludes the disc (save for a spoken-word hidden track that is quite well hidden), is another beautiful work. The one song that is listed as traditional, “Mil Harddach Wyt (at least the melody and the first verse are) is given a loving and engaging performance.
And given all that, I truly wish I could be more enthusiastic about this collection. Although individual songs are lovely, the overall sound lacks teeth. I admit I prefer music that offers a bit of an edge, whether it be sensual or intellectual, and in this case it’s just not there. It may be an example of artistry overshadowing the material, because the artistry is there, not only in the performances by Ellin, Williams and Jones, but in support from Jacqueline Sen Gupta, who offers some gorgeous supporting vocals; Harvey Summers, who produced the album in addition to programming and accompaniment; Wyn Jones and Hugh Lewis, providing subtle keyboards; Michael Cleaver on classical guitar; and Hilary Stone as the narrator in “Reverence.” As it stands, all I can really say is that it is pleasant music, easy to listen to, but not offering me, at least, any serious engagement.
(Osmosys Records, 2006)