Private Label CRUINNCD002
Strong clear melodies and beautifully full and mellow harmonies characterise this stunning album from Cruinn. As a follow-up to their acclaimed first CD, Storas surpasses expectations and provides a superb example of Gaelic song in the modern age. The group members, four eminent performers in their own right, combine flawlessly over 12 songs, in varying moods which are alternately stirring, soothing, entrancing or poignant.
With the emphasis very much on vocal quality, Rachel Walker, James Graham, Fiona Mackenzie and Brian O hEadhra all take turns in the lead role – as well as sharing the production credits. They sing of emigration, lamentation, love, defeat and sainthood. There are two waulking songs, marked by powerful rhythms, and a Norwegian contribution about Scots soldiers massacred in 1612. Musical accompaniment is subtle but supportive. A full set of lyrics (with English translations) is included in an attractive booklet.
The Gaelic language takes on extra beauty in song. However, an inability to speak it in no way detracts from the enjoyment of this album. On the contrary, what comes through is the eloquence and majesty of a culture and the atmosphere of the land, sea and sky from which such a wonderful musical experience stems.
Cruinn manage the difficult balance of staying true to their roots and retaining the spirit of the Gaelic culture, while also making their music accessible to a wider audience. Their work is a pleasure to listen to - emotive, heartfelt, but highly professional. A CD to be replayed frequently.