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BEINN LEE - Osgarra 

BEINN LEE - Osgarra 
Private Label BL18 

Beinn Lee is a sextet from Uist in the Outer Hebrides. Together for five years, this is their debut album, and they’ve clearly taken that time to hone their sound. Mixing Gaelic song and piping and fiddling from the west of the country, they thank their community for the rich lode of music and culture they were nurtured within. And this release more than pays back that debt. There is a full instrumental backing, including fiddle, pipes, accordion, piano, guitar, flute, drums and vocals, all played with a solid maturity and vigour. The vocals (in both Gaelic and English) are sensitive where needed, lusty at other times.

The CD opens brightly with a set of four Rills (as the scratchy folkloric voice at the outset calls them). They have great lift on the marches, drive on the reels, and yearning on the airs. For example, the glorious set of seven tunes that they play as a finale, with each tune building on the energy of the one before it - if you don’t get off the couch on that one, it is time for a medical checkup. And their version of Runrig’s The Story shows just how proficient they are at using their vocal and instrumental skills in creating that soaring anthemic arena-folk sound of some of the bands that they are emulating. It is an impressive debut. Where do I sign up to pre-pay for their next release?

Ivan Emke

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This album was reviewed in Issue 126 of The Living Tradition magazine.