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CHARLIE GREY & JOSEPH PEACH - Spiorachas – A High Place 

CHARLIE GREY & JOSEPH PEACH - Spiorachas – A High Place 
Private Label CD010BSR  

A major piece of work, 14 classic Gaelic melodies recrafted for fiddle and keyboard, Spiorachas is dramatic and moving, impressive in both vision and execution. All the tingles of the old songs are here, all the passion of highland stories and histories, in tunes which are mostly from the more obscure end of the Gaelic spectrum with a few more familiar titles and two new pieces by Peach and Grey. Charlie Grey's Hardanger d'amore - a five-string fiddle with sympathetic resonances - puts amazing depth and vibrancy into the melodic lines, while Joseph Peach carefully juggles harmonium and piano sounds to provide appropriate accompaniment, whether it's an ancient modal jig or a more recent song of lamentation. His composition, Gathan-grèin, is a definite highlight.

There aren't really any low points here - I suppose the clue is in the album title - but Grey and Peach play expertly with light and shade, and every moment of the hour is a delight. Lament For Iain Ruaidh, My Mother, and the beautiful Dream Angus air which ends the track Misty Corrie stood out particularly for me, and Grey's piece The Five Sisters Of Kintail is a great taster. A collection for contemplation, catharsis and cold nights with a cosy fire and a warming dram. I would recommend Spiorachas to anyone who enjoys Gaelic song or highland fiddle - and if you're wondering which is the ‘focus track’, it's the one after the sophomore, or maybe the longest in the first half, or in binary it's the one that goes all the way up to eleven! It's very nice anyway.

Alex Monaghan


This review appeared in Issue 141 of The Living Tradition magazine