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VARIOUS ARTISTS "Harps, Pipes & Fiddles" Temple Records COMD2082

To paraphrase the television advert, this does exactly what it says on the box. Here we have a splendid compilation from the Temple stable of artists, which has always been noted for pedigree, providing us with well over an hour of Scottish and Irish music which not only serves as a sampler for the artists, but stands on its own as quality music.

The material is grouped together by instrument, so the first six tracks are harps, the middle seven pipes and the last seven fiddles, giving an overall impression of three records in one. This is perhaps better than jumbling up the different instruments, as it allows the listener to settle into the way in which the various instruments demonstrate their nuances of style, with gut and wire harps, Northumbrian, Border and Highland bagpipes.

Within the instrumental groupings, there is a breadth of style and depth of solo and group performing talent, with harping as diverse as that of Maire Ni Chathasaigh and the Rowallan Consort; the piping of John D Burgess and Duncan MacGillivray and Battlefield; and fiddling from Aly Bain and Brian McNeill.

If anyone was not aware of the range of these instruments, or of the skills of any of the artists, I'm sure just one listen to this would send them rushing out to the shop to get some more.

Well done, Temple.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 40 of The Living Tradition magazine.