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VARIOUS ARTISTS - Song of the Gael (Orain Nan Gaidheal)- CDTRAX5008

Another collection of "various artists", this time they are all from Scotland, most from many of the islands where Gaelic is still an everyday language.

During the 1997 Edinburgh Festival (the arts one) numerous singers and musicians, including many of Gaeldom's finest, performed at eight events in the heart of the city. BBC Radio Nan Gaidheal recorded at these concerts which were then broadcast as a series of ten programmes and subsequently led to the eighteen tracks on this CD.

There are some fine singers on this CD, many of them Mod gold medallists, indeed, I would be hard pushed to compile a list of non-gaelic Scottish singers that would be anywhere near comparable. There is a great range of material as well, although most songs do lean toward those in an older, bardic style with themes of warriors, tragedy and separation. Don't think however, that this means sixty-odd minutes of doom and gloom because the blend of tunes and voices are as much inspirational and rousing as they are reflective.

Here's just a handful of the many singers that make this special, Margaret Stewart, Flora MacNeil, Roddy Campbell, Catherine-Ann MacPhee, Maeve MacKinnon and Ishbel MacAskill.

Peter Fairbairn

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This album was reviewed in Issue 36 of The Living Tradition magazine.