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VARIOUS ARTISTS - Gaelic Ireland

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Gaelic Ireland
ARC Music EUCD2414

I’m not normally much of a fan of compilations, so when this one arrived from Senior TLT Management, I was a bit pensive. A look at the track listing went some way to dispelling my doubts: a third of the 18 tracks had been sourced from Clo Iar-Chonnachta’s catalogue – not at all a bad place to start. And with songs ranging from classics like Casadh an tSugáin and An Binsín Luachra to Brendan Graham’s composition Óchón an Gorta Mor (an aching lament for the Great Famine) it covers a broad range of song styles, from Connemara and Kerry sean-nós through Donegal gaeltacht songs to more adventurous, modern styles.

The juxtaposition of newer style, lighter song treatments, with the more traditional material is often very effective, and the whole thing represents a good barometer of the current state of Gaelic language singing. Of course, there are omissions. It would have been good to hear something from Connie Gallchoir or Dara Ban or, indeed, several others I can think of. But that’s a personal view, and for every omission, there were inclusions on this CD that gave me great pleasure. My own favourites would include the achingly sensitive singing of Finola Ó Siochrú, Róisín Elsafty’s stunning interpretation of Brendan Graham’s lament, and Kevin Conneff’s Sliabh Gael gCua na Féile.

Even if you haven’t a word of Irish, I can recommend this album for the quality and variety of its singing – you don’t need to understand the words to feel the sentiments.

John Waltham


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This album was reviewed in Issue 95 of The Living Tradition magazine.