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Private SCGCD018Dá

The National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music is a residential project based at Plockton High School, Wester Ross, under the guidance of Director Dougie Pincock. Students follow a normal comprehensive educational curriculum in addition to their specialist music studies. If you live in Scotland you probably know of it, elsewhere maybe not so much. Each year they release a CD to showcase the talents of their students and Hooked! is the work of the class of 2018. And a monumental work it is. Two CDs of formidable musicianship comprising 31 tunes and songs, of which 19 are composed or written by the students or their immediate connections, performed by 16 (yes… 16) musicians of bewildering talent, in various combinations.

At times like this the job of a reviewer is difficult. I have to try and review this in the way I review every other CD and not be swayed by the admirable work done by the centre. So, let’s forget the good works. Every single one of these young musicians deserves a special mention of some kind and to do so would be like reading the phone book (remember the phone book?) and our esteemed editor would not look kindly on me. Please take this as a shout out to all of them. BUT… I can’t let pass without comment the vocals of Duncan MacLeod and Eilidh Brown whose voices have crept into my ear, unpacked and taken up residence; remarkable singers who should be on record contracts if they aren’t already. Lewis McLaughlin is a fine guitarist and Louden Mackay’s accordion is terrific... oh, for goodness sake! See what I mean? You probably can’t buy this CD in stores but ask nicely on their website.

Philip Thomas

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This album was reviewed in Issue 128 of The Living Tradition magazine.