Review: Hannah Peel, Celtic Connections 2018

We are here to journey into space with Mary Casio the 86 year old protagonist of Hannah Peel’s electro brass concept album Mary Casio: A Journey to Cassiopeia, an odyssey in seven parts. Glasgow’s Old Fruitmarket is perhaps a fitting venue for Hannah Peel’s live rendition of Mary Casio, in collaboration with the twenty-nine person Tubular Brass band, the building being a fusion of old and new in its acknowledgment of the past as both a way forward and memory base.

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Hannah Peel: It literally started from writing instrumental tunes

Clare Archibald from The Fountain spoke with composer and musician Hannah Peel ahead of her Celtic Connections gig at which she will perform her latest album, Mary Casio: A Journey to Cassiopeia, with the full twenty-nine person brass band of album collaborators Tubular Brass.

The album was recorded live in Barnsley where Hannah moved to at the age of eight from Northern Ireland. Mary Casio is Hannah’s third solo album, with the previous one Awake But Always Dreaming (released in 2016) leading to both critical plaudits and public engagement with her exploration of music memories as a positive connection for people affected by dementia.

Mary Casio: A Journey to Cassiopeia, released in the second half of 2017, has appeared in many end of year best album lists and the live renditions of the synth brass fusion with Tubular Brass have been met with a hugely positive response. Hannah Peel has been described as Delia Derbyshire meets Kate Bush, and as both a solo artist and in collaboration with The Magnetic North has established herself as a musician of ideas, exploration and experimentation especially in relation to ideas of place, identity and memory. Mary Casio, a largely instrumental odyssey in seven movements configured around the octogenarian sound artist Mary and her flight of mind to see the constellation of Cassiopeia, manages to successfully combine synths and brass to evoke yearning, melancholy and a space to dream with mind or body.

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