Christine Primrose

'S Tu Nam Chuimhne

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Albums of Gaelic vocal music with sparse accompaniment weren't selling well in 1987, which could explain why it took nearly ten years for this album to make it to the market. S' Tu Nam Chuimhne will sound somewhat alien to most music buyers, but it is a charming, even hypnotic experience. The range is extraordinary, with melodies ranging from singsong lullabies to intricate pibrochs backed with minor-key bagpipe solos. Some are ancient songs and poems set to music, while others were written in an ancient language by living authors; one, a lament for a beloved wife, was written by a neighbor of Christine Primrose and is heard here for the first time. The arrangements are subtle and occasionally brilliant -- "Taladh" is only one voice and two saxophones, an unlikely setting for a lullaby, but it is lovely. Christine Primrose's voice is a marvelous instrument, powerful when strength is called for but magnificently controlled and emotional. Gaelic traditional singing has rarely sounded this winsome, and this album may send listeners seeking more examples of both the art form and the work of Christine Primrose.

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