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ANNA MURRAY "Out of the Blue" Lochnagar CDLDL1219

From the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Anna Murray has many strings to her bow. Or should that be notes to her chanter, being a piper as well as an actress and a singer. Anna Murray regularly appears on television, playing one of the main characters, in the gaelic language drama series, "Machair", and has also played and sang on televised music programmes. On this recording, a mixture of instrumental work on small pipes and gaelic song, Anna is joined by Buzzby McMillan citern and bass player from Old Blind Dogs, and many other musicians including, Kevin Key and I.F. MacLeod on guitars, Scott Williams on whistle and keyboards, and the percussion section of Macumba.

The songs are in the bardic tradition of gaelic lyrical work dealing with love, lost or unfulfilled. Translated the titles are, "I Can Get No Sleep", "My Heavy Heart", "Mourning My Lost Hopes" and (Tir Nan Og) "Land of the Ever-young". "The Heavy Plaid" is in a lighter vein than the others, though containing as much symbolism and allegorical reference, this song deals with the men's renewed interest in "Sine's daughter" after she receives a legacy, "the loot" with "nuggets of gold inside a trunk". "The Heavy Plaid" is also the only time we hear the skirl of the big pipes from Anna, amidst the rhythmic pounding drum beats that are the speciality of, strathspey and samba band, Macumba. The small pipes are the main instrument on the other tracks. Less fearsome to see and listen to, the small pipes have, as Anna can demonstrate, a great range of tonal and expressive qualities. Anna Murray has a fine sense of timing and decoration which mixes well with the more bouncy accompaniments while keeping a traditional feel. The pipe tunes include work from P/M Donald MacLeod, G.S. Maclennan and Dr Angus MacDonald as well as older material.

Anna Murray has plenty of help on this solo recording but is always in charge and is never swamped by the other players. Anna is both a singer and piper of some merit with a light youthful voice and an easy to listen to piping style.

Peter Fairbairn

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