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Pauline is a singer from West Kerry who will be well known to many of our readers from her varied ventures and collaborations. She is one half (with Éilís Kennedy) of Irish song duo, Lumiere; she’s worked with other singers such as John Spillane and Seamus Begley; she’s been part of projects like The Irish Sea Sessions, A Stór Mo Chroí and the recent concerts celebrating the work of Eithne Ní Uallachaín; and she’s a member of some edgier collaborations - Padraig Rynne’s Notify and Donal Lunny’s recent venture, The Atlantic Arc Orchestra being two examples. Somehow she has found time to record her third solo album, and it is an interesting mix of traditional and contemporary songs, all well chosen to suit her delicate, yet arresting voice.

I’m a harmony girl. I love them, and Pauline knows exactly how to use them. The same sublime harmonies employed in the Lumiere recordings are on display here - though this is very much a development on those recordings, with more use of electric than acoustic instrumentation.

Traditional songs include False, False, I Wonder What Is Keeping My True Love This Night and The Lover’s Ghost. Of the others she makes a particularly good job of The Poorest Company by John McCusker, Roddy Woomble and Kris Drever, and Cold Missouri Waters by James Keelaghan. But my personal favourite is The Old Churchyard, an emotional (if slightly sentimental) rendition of a song about those who have gone before us, and a new one on me.

Pauline says: “What I like about folk songs is that you are almost like a ghost singer singing somebody else’s story… I find that with history books you can read about the facts, but songs are the emotions.” Indeed, on this recording Pauline manages to bring these stories and emotions alive, perhaps bringing them to a new audience, and ensuring that the songs are passed on in a fresh and interesting way.

Fiona Heywood

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This album was reviewed in Issue 118 of The Living Tradition magazine.