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Greentrax Recordings CDTRAX396

Sineag’s beautiful and expressive singing, combined with an instinctive versatility in her delivery of each piece makes this a recording to treasure. Whether she’s giving us a song from the extraordinarily rich tradition of her native South Uist or a song picked up from the other Gaelic-speaking communities of Scotland and Ireland, each one is delivered in a unique manner that makes you wonder at her ability to sing in so many different voices. At one moment she’s the forsaken girl in Thàinig An Gille Dubh, the next she’s recounting Òran Na’ Fiaclan, a hilarious drinking song involving the loss of a set of teeth! This ability to get right inside a song makes her a great story teller.

She’s aided and abetted on most of the tracks by a very fine set of musicians, and the producer (Iain MacDonald) has ensured that the accompaniment is never intrusive or overbearing, but does what it’s meant to – it provides a sympathetic commentary on the songs.

The accompanying booklet is tastefully illustrated with bilingual notes and the words of every song in its original Gaelic, as sung. English translations are available on Sineag’s website – a habit I dislike normally, but in this case adding the English translations would have resulted in an overcrowded booklet with far less appeal.

Purists of the old school (yes, I know that’s often applied to me) may regret the use of instruments on a recording like this, but in this case the end justifies the means, and the result is a CD which will give pleasure whether or not you speak any Gaelic.

John Waltham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 127 of The Living Tradition magazine.