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KIM CARNIE - And So We Gather 

KIM CARNIE - And So We Gather 
Cārn Records CARN001 

I have been reviewing for this outstanding magazine from the year of its inception, nearly 30 years ago. And thus this is a sad day for me. However I take a modicum of comfort from the maxim: “All good things come to an end”.

And I prayed that my final review would be of an album I could enthuse over. Fiona, our editor - and her esteemed predecessor - have long had a commendable policy of not letting a chum review a chum’s work: but as a ‘Billy no mates’, there was no danger of that happening with me! I’ve always relied on TLT to match CD and reviewer. And usually thank heavens, they did: I could find the glass more than half full.

As I am pleased to say that I can again here, even though on opening my review copy, I was initially slightly dismayed to see that six of the ten tracks were in Scottish Gaelic: not unexpected given that Oban-raised Kim was crowned Gaelic Singer of the Year at the MG Alba Trad Awards in 2021. Alas however, it’s a language of which I do not speak a word! But, in my defence, I have always loved the sound of that marvellous Celtic tongue, and more importantly, our editor realised that Kim hopes that her album will reach out far beyond the Scots Gaelic-speaking diaspora, to monoglot English speakers. (After all, less than 2% of the Scottish population are truly bi-lingual in Gaelic and English.)

The four songs in English are from Kim’s pen, and all convince in a real way. The enchanting opening track - She Moves Me – showcases her sublime voice, and indeed also Donald Shaw’s sublime production, with him in masterful command throughout of a stellar bunch of musicians, too numerous to mention.

Indeed the final track of the album – Loving You – really puts the seal on a very enjoyable 46 minutes: it’s the standout track, and its commercial sound means it could be a monster crossover hit for an Ed Sheeran and such like.

But although the liner notes contain lyrics, they do not contain translations. I did my best, laboriously copying out line after line into Google Translate, but just wished that Kim could put the Gaelic lyrics on to her fine website, so folk can copy and paste them into Google, and thus get more than just a ‘feel’ of what the songs are about.

But that’s a minor quibble. It is a delightful album with one big bonus: go to YouTube and see Kim joined by her near contemporary, Jennifer Steele, a truly talented dancer, whose interpretation of She Moves Me, well... suitably moved me greatly.

So nice to put my TLT pen down on a high. Goodbye.

Dai Woosnam


This review appeared in Issue 145 of The Living Tradition magazine