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VARIOUS ARTISTS - Sounds From The Great Garden: A Lismore Gathering 

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Sounds From The Great Garden: A Lismore Gathering 
Clincart Music CLINC77019010 

The Great Garden is a description of the island of Lismore, in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, coming from the Gaelic. Here, Sounds From The Great Garden refers to a double CD packed full of songs, stories and tunes which celebrate and showcase the talent to be found on the island, and from people associated with it. It was pulled together by Katy Crossan and very nicely recorded by Davy Clincart in his studio on Lismore.

There is a range of different styles and genres of music and song on the discs, from the traditional to the modern, with some jazz and choral pieces too. There are also several stories told, about experiences on the island, or people from there. As you might expect from this kind of collection, the quality varies, and though it will no doubt be of great interest to people who have a connection to the island, its wider appeal is a bit less certain.

Of particular interest to more trad-style listeners will be the opening track by Mairi Campbell, one of the best-known names featured here; The Parish Of Dunkeld, sung by Katy Crossan herself; the Gaelic song Fagail Liosmor (Leaving Lismore) by Mary McDougall; and the contributions by Duncan Laggan Livingstone. Of the others, The Wrong Side Of The Moon by Shona Wright and The Otter And The Kestrel by Amy Bowman are worth a mention – both more modern in style, but sung well.

We’ve all been at those musical gatherings where anything can happen, and where the combination of all the components makes for a great night, regardless of the fact that not everything is polished and perfect. You get the sense of that here. It’s an experience worth preserving.

Fiona Heywood