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Pauline Scanlon - Hush

Pauline Scanlon - Hush
Compass 4435

A soft lilting voice streams from the stereo in the corner, a stereo which - more often than not - plays old dusty vinyl records, but not tonight. Tonight it is a new CD from a young Irish singer who surely blows the dust away. Pauline Scanlon is her name and 'Hush' is her second album.

The songs on this album are predominantly traditional but they have been given a fresh touch in the sense of Pauline's interpretation and the mixing of traditional Celtic music with other musical genres such as bluegrass and country. Donogh Hennesy, former Lunasa guitarist, who produced this album has managed this fusion of styles which is heard in the instrumental backing, supporting the songs with a very full flowing sound. The attempt to make the old traditional songs seem more immediate and interesting to today's listeners has been successful, only because the essence of the songs are not lost in their new settings.

The version of 'The Demon Lover' features the pure and airy vocals of Pauline and the slightly rugged enticing voice of Darrell Scott in a very effective play on the fair maid versus demon lover in the story of the song. The CD also contains lovely versions of songs such as 'Dearthairin O Mo Chroi', a song Scanlon got from the late Frank Harte, a great source of songs for many traditional singers. The closing track 'The Boys of Barr Na Sraide' finds Scanlon on home ground. The only songs not traditional are Sean McCarthy's 'In Shame Love, In Shame' a dark and haunting song of the days when being a single mother wasn't an option and John Spillane's 'When You and I Were True'. Both songs are written in the folk tradition and therefore fit in well alongside the traditional material.

Pauline Scanlon has made a fine CD of well-chosen songs and upon being told to hush, I choose to listen.

Pernille Rutzou

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This album was reviewed in Issue 70 of The Living Tradition magazine.