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Sgoil Chuil Na Gaidhealtachd SCGCD003

And I thought that I came up with dreadful puns - no wonder there's an exclamation mark in that title! This is the third album released by SCG, or National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music to give it its English title.

Here, supported at times by guest singers, are seventeen of the Plockton pupils, from all stages of the school, in various groupings, proving beyond doubt that SCG is a national treasure that should have been instituted decades ago. It also shows that in Dougie Pincock, they have a forward-thinking and insightful Director, who has allowed his pupils creative licence to determine what the music should sound like - a far cry from some foosty old music teacher telling pupils "ye cannae dae it like that."

So what exactly have they done? They've produced an album of fine playing and singing which displays a thorough grounding in traditional styles, both Gaelic and Lowland, which is not afraid to experiment with an occasional swing or jazz riff, an unexpected turn here and there - in other words this lot are enjoying themselves, and aren't afraid to show it. There may be an occasional stretch to hit a note, but remember what stage they're at.

The next time our "leaders" see fit to take us into war of dubious legality and morality, they could do a lot worse than to listen to the set of five anti-war songs sung here together as a powerful reminder of who the real losers of any conflict are.

This is an inspiring album, however, which fills me with confidence. I have heard the future of traditional music - and it works!

Gordon Potter

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