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VARIOUS ARTISTS "Sisters 1 Folksong" Soroes Mundi SOW1001
VARIOUS ARTISTS "Celtic Voices Women of Song"
Narada Collection Series ND63921

The "Celtic Voices", on Narada's third Celtic music collection, are Mary McLaughlin, Maireid Sullivan, Emma Christian and Connie Dover. The tracks are taken from the performers' various previously released recordings and includes contemporary and traditional material. "You Saw His Eyes","The Goodnight Song", "She Moved Through the Fair","Little Bird", "Waly Waly" and "Siuil a Ruin" are among the songs, all fourteen are performed and recorded with due style and grace, but, they are often closer to "Celt-kitch" than "Celtic". The artists are grouped in spats of three or four songs, which does not help toward building a rounded, well integrated recording, although this format does help the listener to identify and compare the singers' styles. Competition wise, Connie Dover is the clear winner, both in choice of song and performance.

"Sisters 1", is from a new Irish record label, "devoted to releasing material recorded or written by women". However, they appear less than devoted to giving due recognition to some artists and Cathy Jordan (Dervish), Liz Monaghan (Araby) and Aimee Leonard (Anam), only get their names mentioned in the small print. Likewise, surely all eight participants were deserving of an individual portrait. These gripes apart, this selection of material has been well chosen and compiled, every track worthy of a hearing, and if a particular item takes your fancy, many of the original recordings should still be available. Established and newer singers are included and added to the above mentioned are Frances Black, Geraldine McGowan, Eileen McGann, Marian Bradfield and Fiona Joyce, all with good songs. These good songs include the traditional and contemporary and mix well with the strengths, styles and interpretations of the singers. As regards the competition winners on this CD., Frances Black leads the field from the contemporary contingent, but, light years ahead in a class of her own is, Cathy Jordan. If you haven't heard Cathy Jordan look out for her and her "backing" group, Dervish.

Peter Fairbairn

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This album was reviewed in Issue 17 of The Living Tradition magazine.