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Capercaillie "Nadurra" SURCD 025

Capercaillie have explored many musical influences from all corners of the globe during their distinguished and lengthy career, often with differing degrees of success. Alongside RunRig they are responsible for bringing Gaelic song and language into the current climate of populist culture, even enjoying UK chart recognition in the early 90s. At their best they can seamlessly unite some of the finest traditional and contemporary musicianship found anywhere in the Celtic domain, and remain a major influence to a whole bevy of up and coming groups. All the more reason then that Nadurra should be one of the most eagerly awaited albums of the year.

From the opening strains of 'Skye Waulking Song' it is clear that the album will represent a return to a more traditional sound for the band. Donald Shaw steers his musicians through some of the most pulsating sets heard on a Capercaillie album for many a year. Of course Karen Matheson's voice is as angelic and mournful as ever, but you knew that anyway. What is new is the assured quality with which her voice blends into the music, I sense that this was quite an impulsive collection of songs for the band to record, whilst never being obvious. This is definitely not Capercaillie by numbers. No, Nadurra is the sound of a band doing what they're good at, and enjoying themselves.

Like Marc Duff previously, Michael McGoldrick stamps his own personality on the album quickly, naturally many of the tonal elements he brought to his solo album 'Fused' are here in abundance. When I first knew about the imminent release of Nadurra, I questioned whether the world really needed a new Capercaillie album. Now, having heard it I can positively say that on this form, yes it does.

Keith Whitham

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