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Private Label OGC001CD

Although this choir is one of the oldest competition choirs in Gaeldom, this is finally their debut release. It features songs inspired by local bards who came from mainland Argyll. Recorded live at the Corran Halls in Oban, this is a finely-textured work that goes well beyond the sometimes-constrained sound of a competition choir.

Throughout, there is solid vocal work, but it is all enriched by instrumental friends (on pipes, whistle, fiddle, accordion, piano and guitar). The instruments sometimes set the mood, like the interweaving on Air A’ Ghille, or Colla Mo Rùn which starts with several minutes of slow piping, before the choir takes over. One can clearly hear the links between the singing traditions and the instrumental traditions. For example, the style of the fiddle opening on Mo Chùloabh is copied by soloist John Joe MacNeil, and the choir and instruments dance with each other on Ho Ro Gun Togainn Air Hùgan Fhathast. There is nice solo work in places as well, such as the yearning Dàl An Eas where a duet exchanges lines, with a muted piano in the background, then the choir comes in to ramp up the spine-tingling factor. The CD ends with their stirring competition piece, Òran Do Bhonaparte.

What takes this CD to the podium is this synergy of the choir and the instruments, together enhancing the songs. Stòras should end up in lots of homes that would not normally buy a choir CD, and in every home that reveres choral singing.

Ivan Emke

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This album was reviewed in Issue 125 of The Living Tradition magazine.