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STEVEN MAC ╠OMHAIR - Cladaich Loch I¨á

STEVEN MAC ╠OMHAIR - Cladaich Loch I¨á
Private Label SDM2019á

This is the second CD I’ve heard recently that’s part of a musical niche that seems to be enjoying a spell in the sunshine; it doesn’t quite fit the pigeonholes in that, while it’s firmly based in the Scots Gaelic tradition, the treatment involves not just comprehensive accompaniment of the songs in a contemporary manner, but also what can only be described as a “drawing room” singing style.

Please don’t think this is a derogatory observation – this is good singing with sensitive accompaniment, it’s just a long way from what I’m used to hearing from Hebridean and Scots traditional singers; a completely different approach. As such, it’s very relaxing to listen to – that Steven’s been steeped in the tradition of the West coast of Scotland is obvious from the sensitivity of his renderings of songs like Ho-ri Ho-ro Na Boireannaich and the superb Nach Gòrach Mi Gad Chaoineadh, as well as his treatment of the more recent compositions (the fact that we know their composers doesn’t mean they aren’t made in the traditional way and style).

I think the best way of explaining my predicament as a reviewer is to say that, if I had a music shop, I wouldn’t know where to put this recording. Would it go under traditional, easy listening, folk or classical? Wherever it was filed, I would hope that the public would give it a listen – it’s an intriguing approach.

John Waltham


This review appeared in Issue 132 of The Living Tradition magazine