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"Speak Softly", is the first solo recording from Deirdre Scanlan, although she has been heard on a couple of tracks on the Nenagh Singers Circle CD. Deirdre has been a member of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann for many years and as well as proving successful at many levels of competition (first competing when she was eleven) she has also toured with CCE in Britain, North America and Canada.

Most of the songs Deirdre Scanlan has recorded here, including "Leaving of Limerick", "Bruach na Carraige Baine", "The Parting Glass" and "May Morning Dew", are from the tradition. While there are few surprises to be found among the choice of songs, the control and soft tone of the voice mixes pleasingly well with the carefully handled arrangements and marks Deirdre out as a singer with that "something special". Deirdre has also included three of her own songs, "From the Grave", "The Great Atlantic" and "Dunblane". These songs have great sense of scale and drama, dealing with difficult and uneasy subjects. Few more difficult and uneasy than the events at Dunblane Primary School. Deirdre is herself a teacher and here writes with grace and sincerity.

"Speak Softly", is a self produced CD. There are no frills or lavish production techniques but nothing has been left raw or unfinished. The voice is clear and well defined and one we will hopefully get to hear more of this side of the water.

Peter Fairbairn

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This album was reviewed in Issue 34 of The Living Tradition magazine.