Folk musician and singer/ songwriter Elsa McTaggart started of her Fringe 2023 run with a dazzling show. A few technical difficulties during this preview attested that McTaggart does not need fancy projectors and sound systems to shine, only her guitar (and Irish bouzouki). Whilst this was a showcase of great women in folk, McTaggart introduced each song with tales about the women in her own life, such as her mum and sister, which added a personal depth to her song choices.
McTaggart started of slowly with “Tulsa Queen” by Emmylou Harris which foreshadowed the great show to come. As she quickened her pace, she showcased incredible playing on all three guitars. She navigated tight-turns with ease and her finger plucking on the bouzouki was especially impressive. Her voice was equally remarkable, and she chose songs which took advantage of her range and ability to reach high notes with ease.
A highlight was when McTaggart played her own song “A Voice Calling in the Desert” which showcased her song-writing ability. This song had a haunting quality that was unique amongst the more major songs showcased in the rest of the show. The explanation behind the song was also interesting and revealed a political undertone to her songwriting which was reminiscent of the folk-scene in the 60s. I left the show eager to listen to more of her own songs.
The finale “Big yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell was a crowd-pleaser and left the room buzzing with energy. Overall, an entrancing performance, perfect for folk-music-lovers.
Running time: 50 minutes.
Playing 4th – 26th August. Every second day 17:40. https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/great-women-of-folk
Reviewer: Amy Rose Holstead
Reviewed: 4th August 2023
North West End UK Rating: