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MARY ANN KENNEDY - Glaschu: Hometown Love Song 

MARY ANN KENNEDY - Glaschu: Hometown Love Song 
ARC Music EUCD2833 

Although Mary Ann now lives in the Highlands, she has a strong attachment to her native Glasgow, where she was raised in a Gaelic-speaking family. This CD is her tribute to her birthplace, and takes a wide-ranging look at some of the many facets of this complex city as seen through the eyes of various Gaels (and others) over the years.

It opens with Màiri Mhòr nan Òran’s commentary of a shinty match played in 1876, then other songs reflect upon the experiences of incomers and natives from the Victorian period to the present day with a canny mixture of reportage, emotion and humour.

A lot of hard work has gone into researching this splendid collection of songs and poems from various sources, and it all fits together perfectly. There are bilingual readings of poems written by Ruairidh MacThòmais, read by Bill Paterson and Wilma Kennedy, which both reflect on today’s realities and also acknowledge the sectarian history of the place, as does the rollicking Margadh an t-Salainn .There’s also a fine Gaelic version of Michael Marra’s Mother Glasgow, translated by Mary Ann’s mother, Kenna Campbell.

The incorporating factor for all the CD is, of course, Mary Ann’s commanding and captivating voice, which clearly articulates the gamut of feelings expressed in the words, supported by a plethora of musicians and vocalists - too many to detail here (not to mention the captured background soundscapes.) The wonderfully-produced CD has a comprehensive translation of all the lyrics into English, so it is easily accessible to non-speakers.

If this doesn’t earn awards, then there’s no justice!

Gordon Potter


This review appeared in Issue 129 of The Living Tradition magazine