June Tabor: The Great Valerio
June Tabor’s arrangement of The Great Valerio has no rhythm track. Tabor sings the melody over a near-drone played on diatonic accordion, fiddle, and viola. So she gets very little help with the melody, and none with keeping time. For a singer, this is the equivalent of working without a net, and that is the point. The Great Valerio is about a tightrope walker who represents the courage in life that the watchers in the seats cannot find in their own lives. The song expresses a combination of wonder at his talent and sorrow at the failings of those on the ground. Tabor’s arrangement and her vocal capture this tension beautifully.