Pamela Bruner,
(Dragondream, 1998)

Pamela Bruner's album Daydreams aptly displays the phenomenal talents she possesses. Playing Celtic harp, she has won many awards, and she is a proficient songwriter and composer, too.

Her playing is ornate and very, very beautiful. Accompanying her singing or solo, her harping skills are boundless; this must be what the ancient bards sounded like. Her voice is low and clear without much ornamentation, in contrast to her harping. The original, wonderful arrangements of traditional songs are astoundingly intricate, making one wonder how a single person can possibly be producing it all.

Bruner's original songs are fairly fanciful, featuring dragons, mermaids and unicorns, but they are written in such a way that the listener never feels like they might accidentally have bought a children's CD. "The Lady and the Unicorn" is one such song, in which a grown woman meets a unicorn and is very surprised, as she thought she was too old for such things. It is a lovely tale for those of us who still want to believe in enchanted creatures, even in adulthood.

Her versions of such traditional tunes and songs as "The Song of the Water Kelpie" from the Isle of Man, "Loch Tay Boat Song" from Scotland, "The Lakes of Pontchartrain" from the United States, "Brave Wolfe" from Canada and "Gartan Mother's Lullaby" from Ireland are beautifully rendered on the harp. Various other instruments, such as cello, flute, whistle, dulcimer, guitar and percussion, are used to accompany her to great effect. Helpfully, Bruner has noted which country each song is from, which is a nice change from artists collectively grouping the different countries together as "Celtic," with no differentiation between them.

"The Hills of Glenshee" from Scotland is a twist on the usual folksongs wherein the woman is left behind. In this song, all works out nicely and the couple lives happily ever after. The instrumental selections do justice to Bruner's abilities and are wonderful to hear.

Bruner's harping and singing, as well as her arrangement of the material, have created a wonderful collection of soothing music to relax and listen to. Unfortunately, this particular recording is no longer available in the United States. However, most of the songs have been rerecorded on other albums and I highly recommend finding one or two, available from her website. They are a fantastic addition to any music collection.

- Rambles
written by Jean Emma Price
published 22 May 2004

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