Susan Campbell, responsible for this week's Ileach, sent me a review of Fiona MacKenzie's Gaelic CD called Deagh DhÃ¨is Aodaich. Islay has a strong Gaelic background and many Ilich continue to speak this language. Because of that I thought it would be a good idea to publish the review on this blog. I'm also convinced that you don't have to speak Gaelic to enjoy this type of music. A good example is of course the magnificent Islay Gaelic Choir. Susan Campbell:
In this year of Homecoming Scotland 2009, Fiona J MacKenzie of Moray, former holder of the Mairi Mhor nan Oran Gaelic Song Fellowship for Highland Council and 2005 National MÃ²d Gold Medallist has collaborated with producer Irvin Duguid to assemble a unique collection of the songs of emigrant Gaels. The pieces have been chosen mainly from the Gaelic oral tradition, composed both in the Highlands and islands and from Nova Scotia to New Zealand, with the addition of some recently written works. While none of these powerful and poignant songs are presented in the traditional unaccompanied Gaelic singing style, the instrumental and vocal backings on these tracks add to the pleasing listening. Continue reading.....
Although telling painful stories of emigration and exile during the Clearances, in tone and delivery the songs are never dirge-like. Some of the tracks, like 'Illean Bithibh Sunndach', an emigration song from Tobermory, Mull, express the emigrantsâ€™ hopes of a better life in their new homes. One of the pleasures of listening to a National MÃ²d Gold Medallist such as Fiona J MacKenzie is the assurance of professional quality musical performances and impeccably clear pronunciation of every word, and on this album Fiona certainly upholds the standard. While this is enjoyable for all listeners, it is invaluable for Gaelic learners, both singers and speakers. This album will be enjoyed by all who have an interest in Gaelic singing, either of itself or for the historical theme relating to the Scottish Diaspora.
Fiona J MacKenzie 'Deagh DhÃ¨is Aodaich' (A Good Suit of Clothes). Greentrax CDTRAX339 Â£11.74 www.greeentrax.com. 01 July 2009.