Slainte Mhath

Slainte Mhath

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This eponymous collection, apparently self-released, brings together selected tunes originally recorded and released on previous Slainte Mhath albums during the mid-to-late '90s. Slainte Mhath's approach to traditional Celtic music (by way of the band's native Nova Scotia) is modern without being modernist; the tunes are mostly presented in a straightforward style that may incorporate unusual syncopations or rockish touches like a drum set and electric bass, but the band's arrangements never sound like attempts to "update" the music. The centerpiece of the group's sound is the piping of Bruce MacPhee, who alternates between highland pipes, small pipes, and reel pipes, though bodhran player, step dancer, and fiddler Lisa Gallant steps to the fore on a couple of sets as well. The band's own "Prophecy" is a nice showcase for MacPhee's mournful piping, and there is a very attractive keyboard arrangement of the great Turlough O'Carolan composition "Si Bheag, Si Mor" as well. Of the up-tempo dance sets, the "Big Jigs" set stands out, as does the thrilling medley of the "Congress Reel" and "Farewell to Erin" that closes the program. Highly recommended.

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