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According to the insert, Bríd Ní Mhaoilein has been around for a while. She played with her family group, Ceoltóirí Ghoill, until they split up in 1985. She was away from the music for 15 years before meeting Alan Burke and teaming up with him to make this CD. Her absence is a pity, for she's a good singer, both in Irish and English. She has a good selection of songs, most of them not too well known. There isn't one of the 13 tracks I'd tire of. 'Ailiú Éanaí' is a simple children's song but she makes it into a haunting little love song. With the contempt there usually was for that class of men, that's the first love song I've heard dedicated to a tailor. 'An Sean Bhean Bhocht' is usually taken at a fair old clip, because it's about the hope of better times when the French come to Ireland. She takes a more reflective line, and it works. Ireland would just have had another bunch of scoundrels, anyway. Most of the songs are from her native Donegal, including 'The Fuschia' - in English - written by one of her neighbours. Others are from Conamara and Kerry, though the origin of 'Green Grows the Laurel' remains a mystery. All in all, she has a great feel for a song; there are no 'straight out of the box' arrangements here. Every one's treated with respect, giving a good mix. Alan Burke provides most of the accompaniment, with various friends and relations helping out on uilleann pipes, button box, fiddle, piano and stringed things. Lyrics are given, with prose translations into English, as well as brief notes on each song. For the record, 'Ar Mhúin na Muice' = 'on the pig's back'. I'm not sure what the exact English equivalent is, 'living the life of Reilly', maybe?

Mick Furey

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This album was reviewed in Issue 60 of The Living Tradition magazine.