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BANNAL "Waulking Songs" Greentrax CDTRAX 099

Given that battering a piece of tweed off a table is not exactly taxing on the brain (a job more suited to men perhaps?) it is no surprise that the women doing it took to singing songs to pass the time. The strong rhythmic quality these songs possess means they have survived the demise of the "waulking" tradition and passed into general usage. Every gaelic singer worth their salt sings them and some have even given them new and inventive arrangements (Christine Primrose on "S tu nam chuimhne" for one).

Bannal a Glasgow based group dedicated to singing waulking songs take the songs back to their original context and produce a sound as close to the original archive recordings as you will get. Each of the group takes a turn at taking the lead and this gives the recording vibrancy and colour.

I had thought that a whole CD of waulking songs might be a little one paced, but such is the quality of the singing and the "sing-a-longedness" of the tracks that when the CD finishes you end up putting it straight back on again.

So clear the dining table, grab your granddad (or dads) tweed jacket and get down to some serious fun - mind the knuckles though.

Chris MacKenzie

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This album was reviewed in Issue 16 of The Living Tradition magazine.