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Compass Records COMP7172 

Fifty years at anything is a milestone. But 50 years as a band in the forefront of the Celtic genre is a cause for serious celebration. Many of us grew up with The Tannahill Weavers, even though they were already seen as tour-hardened veterans when we showed up. And they kept on touring, producing albums, rotating pipers and fiddlers from time to time, but never straying far from that central mission of serving up high-quality traditional music. In a way, this is really a celebration of the community which helped to create and then nurture this band, which continues to connect the drive and passion of Scottish music along with its more gentle soul.

In this situation, lesser bands may have considered coasting and producing a “middling” CD, figuring it would sell no matter what. This is clearly not the case here. Òrach includes grand versions of history songs (The Ghost Of Mick Mcdonnell), a delightful sense of dignity (Christchurch Cathedral) and the expected heedless abandon (Northern Lights or The Gordon Duncan Set). On the release, they are joined by former band-mates and colleagues, making it a celebration of the Scottish music community in general. And they still include a glossary in the liner notes, for those of us who did not grow up in the traditions. If you care about Scottish traditional music, and want to hear some solid renditions from trail-blazers in the genre, this is an assured bet.

Ivan Emke

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This album was reviewed in Issue 126 of The Living Tradition magazine.