Bernadette Kellermann is a violinist and composer based in Glasgow. Having graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland this summer with a first-class honours degree in Traditional Music, she is now studying at the University of Edinburgh towards a Master’s degree in Performance Psychology. Hitherto, Kellermann has perhaps been best known as a founder of the contemporary folk trio Farrland and a member of the award-winning jazz/funk/folk collective Fat-Suit.
For her debut EP, Colourworks, Bernadette Kellermann has enlisted the services of some of the finest young musicians in the Glasgow jazz scene, including Fergus McCreadie (piano), Mark Hendry (double bass) and Graham Costello (drums), to help realise her bold and imaginative musical vision. Together, they combine neo-folk with flavours of jazz, minimalism and classical to produce a series of inventive, multi-layered and quietly uplifting soundscapes, including some passages of music which are truly transcendent.
In the opening track, Vardo (a shade of teal), rippling piano, elegant bass lines and deft percussion pave the way for Bernadette Kellermann’s lilting violin to breeze in and sparkle like a refreshing mountain stream, as it weaves the most captivating of melodies. Incarnadine (a crimson hue) is an expansive tour-de-force, beginning with a graceful piano intro and an achingly beautiful violin motif and building gradually in tempo and urgency as Kellermann’s double-tracked violin soars fearlessly and then glides gently towards the fade.
Lichen features some haunting violin, punctuated by pulses of bass and what sounds like plucked piano strings, before free-flowing piano runs bring the tune to a satisfying conclusion. In the hypnotic Railings, elegant piano riffs set the scene and the rhythm section kicks in as a prelude to some majestic interplay between Kellermann’s violin and Cameron Thomson-Duncan’s trumpet, with Alice Allen’s cello adding further colour and texture to this track’s rich musical palette. The EP closes with the enchanting minimalism of Railings II Postlude, which is notable for some heart-breaking violin, gentle washes of trumpet and a string quartet effect produced by double-tracked violin and cello.
This EP contains the best 31 minutes and 2 seconds of music which this reviewer has heard for some time and it signals Bernadette Kellermann’s emergence as one of Scotland’s finest young musicians and composers.
Colourworks was released by Bernadette Kellermann on 28th November 2018.