Cliar, Grinn Grinn

Grinn Grinn

Macmeanmna SKYECD40

Cliar, one of the most prominent Gaelic groups to emerge from the Highlands of Scotland in recent years, has created a fantastic collection of songs and tunes most of which even the most up-to-date Gaelic music fan probably won't have heard. In a year that has seen a remarkable number of Gaelic albums, this one stands out both for its unique content and for its engaging singing.

Taking turns on lead vocals, Arthur Cormack, Maggie MacDonald and Mary Ann Kennedy mix the traditional with the contemporary, producing songs that are easy to listen to over and over. Backing them is a slightly altered line-up from Cliar's previous albums, with Hector Henderson, Ingrid Henderson and Ross Martin on all manner of traditional instruments. The inclusion of the Clarsach on many of the tracks lends a gentle air to the songs. The vocals range from stirring and poignant to vibrant and rousing, making the variety of both styles and instruments one of the highlights of the album. Bilingual lyrics are included, as are brief descriptions of the origin of each track.

Tracks of particular note are 'Ho Mo Nighean Donn Bhoidheach' which features wonderful a cappella harmonies, 'Mo Run an na Maraichean/ Kenneth J. MacLeod' with Cormack's strong voice leading the lilting piece and 'Tune Set With Altan' where the legendary Irish group make an appearance. Cliar have set some very high standards for Gaelic groups. This is a fantastic addition to the body of contemporary Gaelic song and a great album to simply listen to and enjoy.

Jean Price

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This album was reviewed in Issue 67 of The Living Tradition magazine.