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Niamh De Burca - Where the Heart Lies

Niamh De Burca - Where the Heart Lies
Gael Linn CEFCD186

Niamh De Burca, more easily said by we English as Neeve Burke, is described on the publicity accompanying this CD as 'One of Irish music's best-kept secrets'. I must uphold that because I hadn't heard of her before this recording, perhaps because she has worked extensively abroad, also in the Park Singers Choir, and as part of the group Fionnuisce supporting Mary Black.

Not many singers have toured in Estonia but Niamh has, likewise in Galicia, Cantabria, and Asturias, Northern Spain. In Paris she sang with the RTE Concert Orchestra, and the Ronan Guilfoyle Jazz Band. A wide range of experiences and influences to be sure, but in this album traditional song is to the fore, with some modern items thrown in - Andy M. Stewart's If I Ever Spend a Morning Without You for instance - elegantly sung.

In fact, elegance and grace are notable qualities in Ms De Burca's singing, along with a quality of tone usually described as 'Haunting'. I'll go along with that, and most of the songs here demonstrate it fully, singing in Gaelic or English. The opening track, Faoilean sets the standard and she upholds it all the way through. There is a lovely duet with Jim O'Leary on 'Farewell Dearest Nancy', and I can recommend 'Neansai 'Mhile Gra', 'The Fairy Boy', and a nicely swinging 'Here's a Health!', the albums closer. All her musicians are top notch but I would have liked to have heard an unaccompanied song, I have a feeling she would have a lot to offer in that department.

Anyway, thanks to Gael-Linn, the secret about this singer is out. Good Luck Niamh.

Roy Harris

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This album was reviewed in Issue 69 of The Living Tradition magazine.