Norma Winstone: The Mermaid


The Mermaid


Norma Winstone (vocals)


Distances (ECM 2028)

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Norma Winstone (vocals),

Glauco Venier (piano), Klaus Geing (bass clarinet)


Composed by Glauco Venier and Norma Winstone


Recorded: Udine, Italy, April, 2007


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

Norma Winstone is not just an essential singer; she is also a singer of essentials. Her songs dispense with empty trappings and flashy ornamentation. They are delivered with unadorned emotional directness, yet with conversational ease. This recording features an unusual combination. Bass clarinet fills in the lower register -- sometimes playing lines we would expect to hear from a string bass -- and the piano is played unconventionally, Venier starting by strumming the strings and apparently tapping out a bumpity-bump percussion accompaniment on the wood. Yet none of this sounds odd. As we usually find with Winstone, the music is pervaded by a sense that this is exactly how the song is supposed to sound. This striking composition by Venier is drawn from a Northern Italian fisherman's melody, with lyrics by Winstone.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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