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MAEVE MACKINNON - Don’t Sing Love Songs

MAEVE MACKINNON - Don’t Sing Love Songs
Footstompin’ CDFSR1735

Maeve Mackinnon makes a stylish debut with a lovely collection of songs marked by a cool, contemporary feel and clean-sounding arrangements.  Her voice is gorgeous and she sings in both English and Gaelic.  She became a learner of Gaelic language and song at the age of 17, and was motivated to study Gaelic song at RSAMD.  Her decision to interpret the songs she learned from tradition bearers including Christine Primrose, Flora MacNeil and Kenna Campbell in this thoroughly modern, very elegant manner is exactly right.  Maeve hails from a political family and now works with the Gaelic language; her commitment to Scotland’s cultural and linguistic resurgence seems resolute.

There’s a really dramatic feel to the instrumentation, especially whenever Patsy Reid has a hand in proceedings – those shimmering twists and turns of fiddle, cello and viola are consistently enthralling and deliciously dramatic. There are nice moments too when Fender Rhodes intersperse the traditional instrumentation.  Ali Hutton’s guitar is pristine throughout, providing supple, restrained support. The arrangements of Gaelic songs including ‘Mac Iain ‘ic Sheumais’ and ‘Mo Nighean Donn an t-Sùgraidh’ are really striking.  English language songs include ‘Silver Dagger’, ‘Wild Rover’ and ‘The Cruel Brother’ – Maeve cites Dick Gaughan as a major influence.  It’s good too to hear Martin O’Neill playing drums on this album as a change from his trademark bodhrán. This is sassy, smart, beautifully arranged music, and Maeve’s voice  captivates. 

Debbie Koritsas

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This album was reviewed in Issue 75 of The Living Tradition magazine.