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Private Label GH003 

The third album from this Irish singer, following her debut album of contemporary arrangements of traditional material, Teanga Na nGael (2011), and second studio album, Gaelré (2015), presents her own original songs inspired by the emotional vicissitudes of the human condition and underscored with her keen sensibility for nature and seasonal temporality.

Sung in Gaelic and English, with a sweet and expressive voice, the beautifully crafted arrangements engage with varied and varying tempos and colours and textures aplenty from her creamy dream team of skilled accompanists from Scotland and Ireland including Brian Finnegan (whistles, flute), Sean Óg Graham (guitars, accordion, cavaquinho, electric bass, backing vocals), Liam Bradley (drums, percussion), Aidan O’Rourke (fiddle), Conor McCreanor (double bass), John Joe Kelly (bodhrán) and Cormac Mac Carthy (piano).

Deftly layered, tightly upbeat material, sometimes punchily syncopated with hypnotic rhythmic catch, is interspersed with elegantly atmospheric and slower paced reflective ballads that evolve with a finely judged incremental dynamic development and assuredly nuanced palette. Second song, Coinsias, Corp Agus Croí, for example, inspired by the florescent vitality and curative charm of nature after hibernal dark, opens with gorgeously reverberative guitar harmonics and delicate percussive textures before the vocal enters. Then, subtly, brass and bass are gradually interwoven, then flute and more as it flows into a more vital and vibrant feel before gently ebbing away into an exquisitely shimmering soundscape.

Although the English language content may perhaps add to its commercial potential, the empathetic phrasing and delivery of the Gaelic lyric content has a more hauntingly captivating and musically, almost magical, allure.

Kevin T Ward

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This album was reviewed in Issue 128 of The Living Tradition magazine.