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Leum Records LR005 

The “file under” advice on this CD is Folk Rock/World/Trad Gaelic, and that says it all. The influences on this CD are nearly as diverse as the worldwide galaxy of guest artists and musicians who’ve assisted in its production. The result is nearly always enjoyable and often allusive, recalling traditional tunes, waulking songs and influences from across the Celtic world. The over-arching theme is that of emigration, so the atmosphere created is often reflective, even pensive.

Of the dozen tracks, nine are penned by Lewis-based Calum, two are traditional, and on one he shares the composition credits with Yves Lambert, who sings that track. It’s in French, and is a good example of its genre, but does it fit among all the Gaelic material? I’m not sure, although I understand the rationale behind it.

Leaving that aside, the other tracks are all quite listenable, and the imaginative accompaniments seem to complement the lyrics. I can pick out the odd word in Gaelic, so looked to the website for the lyrics, where the translations are all into French – obviously the intended market, so had to dig out my rusty memories of that language. I know I’ve said it before, but it’s really good to have a booklet with notes on the songs, and ideally the words too. I appreciate the cost implication, but it does then feel like a complete package – who wants to go hunting round a computer while listening to a CD?

Rant over. This is an enjoyable listen, and I’ll keep it not too far from my player for a good while.

John Waltham


This review appeared in Issue 130 of The Living Tradition magazine