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Private Label  SCGCD011D

I would imagine that a lot of you reading this were part of the campaign to save the funding for Sgoil Chiuil (a Centre of Excellence in traditional music in Plockton).  Well done to the lot of you who were, and if there was ever any doubt as to why that support is needed, have a listen to this double CD.  The first one is recorded by S6 final year students, the second one by S1 – S5. That’s seven musicians on the first disc and seventeen on the second, so I’ll not name them all, but, trust me, they are all deserving of recognition.

The seniors perform as The Caitlin McNeill Trio and the quartet ReSession, and also play ensemble under the name Gallus.  Whatever the format, the music here is deftly played, with a maturity that comes from having their natural talents benefit from top-notch tuition, but not at the expense of being able to bring their own interpretations to the material.  Young minds bringing fresh touches to a tradition, whilst still having love of and respect for that tradition, is what it’s all about.  A good balance of songs and tune sets showcase the depth of talent on display here, and these students are a credit to the Sgoil.

Mind you, if you didn’t know that the other disc was younger pupils, it would be hard to tell. The groups here are Oh, Whatever, Plan C, and Good Question, and between them they show every bit as much promise as their senior colleagues, especially with some particularly fine piping and fiddle playing.  There are a good range of songs interspersed with the tunes, and you just know that here we have the names of the future learning their trades.

There are a couple of tracks when all twenty-four get together, and a mighty sound it is indeed, layering nicely to let all the individual contributions play their part.

Director Dougie Pincock and his staff have every reason to be proud of their students, and, on the basis of this release, the students themselves should feel proud of their achievements, and be looking forward to a brilliant future in traditional music.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 91 of The Living Tradition magazine.