Katie McMahon

Shine

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While Celtic music had been gaining fans for a number of years, the popularity of Riverdance helped to bring the Irish branch of the genre into the mainstream. For singer Katie McMahon, steeped in classical and traditional music, becoming the "original voice of Riverdance" proved an apt career move. While Shine, like her debut, After the Morning, features strains of other genres, the flutes, harps, and pipes place the album clearly in the Celtic firmament. The 16th century "Alas Madame" opens the album on a lovely note, combining a delicate arrangement of harp, flute, and violin with intertwining voices that hauntingly capture Henry VIII's song of love. A gentle approach renders instrumentals like "The Peacock's Feather" and "Katie's Kitchen" light as air, while McMahon's clear soprano uses the same tender approach to offer fresh renditions of familiar classics like "Danny Boy." A rich cello and vivid percussion underpin the mystical title cut, while McMahon's lyrics add a darker hue to "Fire." The low-key arrangements, McMahon's ethereal vocals, and the appealing musicianship strive together to make Shine a lovely cycle of songs. For those who enjoyed McMahon's work on other projects, or for any listeners drawn to charming Irish music, Shine will make a fine addition to their CD collections.

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