Cruinn: Cruinn (Cruinn)
Sunday 24 February 2013
The stark repetition in group name, album title and label belies the imagination at work in the beautiful music that Cruinn create. Featuring four strong and distinctive Gaelic singers from Scotland and Ireland, the group draws on both original and traditional songs as well as material from some surprising sources on this lovely debut. Most surprising will be the conversion of the English parlour song Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes into a surrogate Gaelic psalm-love song, Oran Celia, of remarkable soulfulness, although Brian Ó hEadhra's Gaelic reading of a Hungarian folk song, Éirich Isean Éirich, runs it close with a superbly grainy performance. Elsewhere, Mackenzie and Ó hEadhra with fellow singers Rachel Walker and James Graham, and producer Jim Sutherland, conjure up a Clannad-like sound on Gun Dóchas and generally marry marvellous lead and backing vocals, cannily deployed percussion, guitar, double bass, keyboards and whistles in a programme that's strikingly contemporary but rich in the character and warmth of the Gaelic music tradition.