Sally Doherty sang with
Shock Headed Peters in 1995 and then
played flute and sang with Sol Invictus in 1996.
Her solo debut album, Sally Doherty (Drag & Drop, 1996), emphasized
two elements that would remain the pillars of her art: a versatile voice and
Her singing borrows from Eastern wailing,
Elizabeth Fraser's dream-pop,
Enya's wordless lullabies,
and Meredith Monk's experiments in using the voice as a
Her multi-layered vocals are then set to a music that is inspired by
Michael Nyman, ancient musical forms and ethnic folk.
While purely acoustic, the instrumentation is lush, to say the least
(piano, cello, violin, flute, cornet, double bass, percussion, Indian and
Her world-music (Tiger, Ennui) is not particularly original, but
the magical and oneiric tones of her elegant madrigals are intriguing
(Long Walk Home,
Ennui, The Sea Nymphs, New Arrival).
Sleepy Memory (Tiger, 1998 - World Serpent, 2000), credited to
Sally Doherty and the Sumacs, is "noisier"
violin, double bass, flute, cornet, harp, tabla, guitar, saxophone)
but less intimate.
The Endless Night and These Sinking Streets weave a
delicate tapestry, but most songs seem content with their own grace.
Doherty's fame (and her art-performance background) led to a
tv documentary Empire Of Death (Tiger, 2000), whose topic was the
ritual of death among an ancient Sudanese civilization, and to
the fairy tale-opera Daughter Of The Sea (1999),
written by Sally's mother Berlie Doherty and performed by the Sally Doherty
On The Outside (Tiger, 2000), credited again to the Sumacs
(the all-female ensemble of Sally Doherty on flute, Emma Smith on piano,
violin and djembe, Liz Hanks on cello, Lizz Lipscombe on violin,
Karen Burland on clarinets) is a summary of her achievements so far,
running the gamut from
Arab wailing (One Voice 3, Balance) to Latin steps (Bolero).
This is What She Said,
I Understand You,
The Wicker Man ,
In Spring ,
On the Outside ,
Even When You're Laughing ,
Some Never Know.
Black Is The Colour (Tiger, 2001) is a collection of traditional folk songs.
Doherty also plays in Sieben.
Edge of Spring (2007) is a career retrospective.
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