Roisin Elsafty,
Ma bhionn Tu Liom Bi Liom
(Vertical, 2006)

Roisin Elsafty has been heard on a number of albums in the past, including a French recording with her mother and on Libertango with Sharon Shannon. Now we have her first solo outing.

For this she presents a wonderful mixture of old and new material primarily in Irish. She is equally at home singing without accompaniment or with the backing of greats like Donal Lunny or Mairtin O'Connor, with whom she has played numerous live venues.

"Seothin Seo" is a beautiful lullaby promising to protect a baby from the fairies, and her singing suits it perfectly, as does the beautiful accompaniment. For the spirituality of singing, it is hard to surpass her rendition of the old prayer song, "A Mhuire na nGrast."

Roisin singing "Roisin Dubh" is lightyears -- well about 200 years -- away from the more familiar version from the Dubliners. This is return to roots and rendition time. Not that she remains in the past. Her singing of John Spillane's "Poor Weary Wanderer" brings us right up to date and shows her versatility.

To give us a chance to compare her singing, she gives us a beautiful version of "Cunla" that again brings us back to the purity of how it probably sounded before it was transported into the lounge bars and concert halls.

This is an accomplished album by a lady who obviously loves her music and has served her apprenticeship in live performance. Her professionalism shines through even if most listeners will struggle with the lyrics in an unfamiliar tongue. They will love the performance.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Nicky Rossiter

26 May 2007

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