In the 12 months since I last spoke to Highland-based songstress Rachel Sermanni, her career has moved from strength to indomitable strength, with a slew of live shows at home and abroad, summer festivals and rapidly increasing airtime on BBC radio. It seems as though just as I did on that brisk starlit Edinburgh evening, the country is beginning to fall in love with Miss Sermanni.
I am reminded now of one question I asked her then, and her intrepid response which told me at that moment that she was destined to live out her dreams with immaculate fortitude.
Me: “Where do you see yourself in another year and do you have anything else exciting lined up in the near future?”
Rachel: “I hope it will have progressed to the point where I have at least got a release out of some sort, even just something on a small scale, it needs to be done!”
Sure enough, Rachel’s lion-hearted resolve rang true, and just last January saw the release of her first EP ‘Black Currents’, which seduced critics and music-lovers alike with its enchanting mysticism and earthy tones, delicately challenged by the dark themes it addressed.
The new single ‘Eggshells’ tangles with the intricacies of love, loss and sadness. It provides a melancholic backdrop to her previous work, showing a clear indication lyrically that she intends to follow the murkier, ‘Brothers Grimm-esque’ path she has masterfully carved for herself. The result is sublime. Rachel’s beautifully stark voice is a vessel for her thoughts, which draws you in so close you can feel the words tumbling from her lips. The translucent bite of rolling guitar strings punctuates the air with a crisp timbre that accentuates the minimal sound of the verses, as the bodhrán pounds a solemn pulse. Employing the skills of her trusted and loyal “fiddle pixies“ (Siobhan Anderson, Laura-Jane Wilkie and Louise Bichan) proves to be an exceptionally worthwhile endeavor, as they taper to deliver a ripe, full violin-orchestrated chorus that weaves in and out of Sermanni’s wistful lyrics.
As the name suggests, ‘Eggshells’ is a delicate testament to Rachel’s chaste talent; a gentle landmark in her sanguine career that leaves you utterly spellbound.
I’d better be careful not to over-egg the pudding here (pardon the pun…) but I’m here to attest that Rachel Sermanni is the best songsmith to ever have stepped foot out of the Highlands. Her demure and innocent character is etched into every syllable of her work and paints the portrait of a genuine, and beautiful performer.
‘Eggshells’ is to be released 21 May. Keep an eye open for Rachel’s debut album, scheduled for this autumn.