Link to Living Tradition Homepage





MAEVE MACKINNON - Once Upon An Olive Branch

MAEVE MACKINNON - Once Upon An Olive Branch
Private Label MM02

The vitality and verve of the contemporary Scottish scene is an inspiring but crowded house. Yet, this assuredly confident and enchanting second release from singer Maeve Mackinnon is replete with stand out quality.

Eclectically selecting diverse songs from her musical life experience, her emotional connection with the chosen material is palpable in her expressive delivery and very evident in her deliberately thoughtful interpretation and consistently interesting arrangements. Traditional mouth music and emigrant songs comfortably rub shoulders with an arresting a cappella version of She Moved Through The Fair, cover renditions of The Saw Doctors’ Sugar Town and Ewan MacColl’s The Father’s Song, and her own song The Olive Branch reflecting on the injustice and desperateness of the Palestinians’ plight. Home, hope, and longing are common themes.

Excellent instrumental support comes from producer Angus Lyon (Rhodes, piano, accordion), Innes Watson (guitar, fiddle), James Lindsay (basses), Fraser Fifield (whistle, saxophone) and Signy Jacobsdottir (percussion). Their refined contributions to the co-arranged pieces are cleverly innovative, and rich in tone-colour, texture, and jazz-edged sophistication. Amidst the soundscapes thoughtfully conceived for each song, the percussion offers particularly interesting tinctures.

Yet, this refreshing originality is always spiritedly and sensitively sympathetic to the source material. The exquisite backdrop to Maeve’s beautifully nuanced presentation of murder ballad A’ Mhic Dhùghaill ‘ic Ruaridh well illustrates how less can be so much more. Further information on the several Gaelic songs, including translations, is available on the website but, frankly, the musicality of the language is amply moving and absorbing per se.

Kevin T. Ward

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 94 of The Living Tradition magazine.