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Celtic Women in Music & Song Gaelic Roots
VARIOUS ARTISTS "Celtic Women in Music and Song" Green Linnet GLCD107
VARIOUS ARTISTS "Gaelic Roots" Kells Music KM9514

In many ways these two collections overlap and re-inforce each other's themes. "Gaelic Roots", extends "her" variety a little closer to the infinite and reminds us that Green Linnet does not have a complete monopoly on Celtic Women. "Her Infinite Variety ..." however takes a broader view of the "roots" as well as some of the directions they have taken.

The music of Ireland is the main course for both of these albums, performed by Irish and Irish/American musicians. There are also some fine performers from Scotland, French Canada, Cape Breton and England. The main difference lies in the nature of the recordings. "Her Infinite Variety ...", is drawn from various releases from the Green Linnet label while "Gaelic Roots", is from a series of performances recorded at the Boston College Gaelic Roots Festivals of 1993 and 1995.

Both albums are packed with listenable, even breathtaking performances and both feature a range of instrumentalists, singers and styles. If lists are what you want, tops among the "Gaelic Roots" are, Seamus Egan, John Williams, Jacky Daly, Gerry O'Connor, Natalie MacMaster and Buddy MacMaster. Best of the "Celtic Women" include, Mary Dillon and Deanta, Cherish the Ladies, Triona Ni Dhomhnaill, Karen Matheson and Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh. Two former all Ireland fiddle champions turn in great performances on both of these albums, Eileen Ivers from New York and Chicago Born, Liz Carroll.

Peter Fairbairn

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This album was reviewed in Issue 29 of The Living Tradition magazine.