Anita Best,
Crosshanded
(Amber, 1997)

The Dictionary of Newfoundland English defines "crosshanded" as "carrying out any activity alone rather than in a group."

That is exactly what Merasheen Island, Newfoundland native Anita Best does: she is the first singer from the province to release an a cappella record. In the 12 songs on Crosshanded, she pays tribute to the inspirationally creative people who have been a part of her life by singing songs she learned from them. Produced by good friend Pamela Morgan (of Figgy Duff fame), this is a delightful collection of songs that speak to a time gone by and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the outports of Newfoundland.

The strength and depth of her voice is perfect to bring across the sometimes poignant, sometimes joyful message of the songs, which include the epic and poetic "Lord Bateman," the first of the old songs Best deliberately set out to learn; "Blance comme la neige (White as Snow)," learned from Emile Benoit; the comical "Me Old Ragadoo," which she learned from her father-in-law Pius Power; and tuneful shanty tune "The Liverpool Pilot."

Anita Best is a talented singer whose voice, especially without musical accompaniment, is full of passion and sadness -- and the joy of passing on the songs of her childhood to another generation of listeners.

- Rambles
written by Rachel Jagt
published 7 June 2003



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