various artists,
Celtic Women from Scotland
(Greentrax, 2006)

Subtitled "Songs of Love & Reflection" this compilation of 14 tracks from the Celtic Collections series is a great introduction to the talent in singing and writing on offer from the ladies of Scotland. The tracks range from the haunting to the rousing, with all shades in between. There are songs in the Gaelic alongside those in English. There are well-known singers mingled with new voices.

A beautiful lullaby from Lynn Morrison is called simply "Hush, Hush" and epitomizes the wonderful gentleness of an excellent singer. Karine Polwart gives us one of the most powerful anti-war songs of recent years on the dialect-titled "Whaur Dae Ye Lie," written for the dead of Bosnia in 1995.

From among the new compositions, Karen Matheson along with a pipe band brings us the perennial "Amazing Grace." Listen to this familiar song in the very unfamiliar Gaelic version.

Other classics on offer on this budget-priced CD include the powerful Sheena Wellington singing Burns as only she can on his "Ae Fond Kiss." Not to be outdone on a Burns interpretation, Gill Bowman gives us a beautiful "Auld Lang Syne." Another Scottish legendary composer, Dick Gaughan, is covered by Mairi Campbell on "Both Sides the Tweed," a modern folk classic.

The Scots are renowned for being canny with the cash, so grab this absolute bargain while you can -- but be warned, listen to the 14 tracks and I guarantee you will want to spend much more getting the full albums with samples featured here.

by Nicky Rossiter
17 February 2007