Mill Records MRCD020

Two excellent harpists, one Scottish and one Irish, combine here to produce a charming album. With whistle, concertina and bouzouki, this untitled CD is also surprisingly punchy in places: Grainne rattles through reels and jigs on the old hexagonal caterpillar, while Billy backs her beautifully on both bouzouki and harp. I say Billy because that's how he was known in his Ossian days, and there are several revisits to the Ossian era here. This CD opens with Fair Gentle Ailidh, a delightful air from the 1700s which was recorded by The Chieftains in 1971. Later on we find Mull of the Woods as a harp and concertina duet, making a welcome comeback from Ossian's 1981 Seal Song LP. Towards the end of this collection there is a gorgeous pair of Scottish tunes collected in the 1700s: Ge Do Theid Mi Do M'Leabaidh, recorded by Battlefield in 1978, followed by Drunk at Night and Dry in the Morning from Ossian's 1982 LP Dove Across the Water. So a real nostalgia trip.

Grainne's three previous solo recordings are more recent, but her gentle modern Irish harping fits perfectly with the Scottish style. Refreshing touches abound, including a tasty pair of slow reels and the cheeky slip-jig Elizabeth Kelly's Favourite which ends the album.. This recording is split between soaring airs and more down-to-earth dance music, and both genres are beautifully handled. Cam Ye By Atholl, a slow jig version of the Donegal march Prince Charlie, is a rare and lovely piece. Track 7 shows the other aspect of Hambly and Jackson's music, a pair of jaunty reels on concertina and harp: Sporting Nell and Bobby Casey's Hairy-Chested Frog, one of a handful of modern tunes here. There are plenty more highlights on this album, so check it out yourself at - highly recommended, and of course a perfect Christmas present.

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 84 of The Living Tradition magazine.