Gillebride MacMillan,
Thogainn ort fonn
(Macmeanmna, 2006)

Gillebride MacMillan was born on the Outer Hebrides and was involved in traditional singing from his childhood on. After seven years of intense work with Ishabel T. MacDonald, he recorded his first traditional Gaelic album Thogainn ort fonn, which translates to "I'd sing you a song." It's a collection of songs mostly from the Isle of Uist.

MacMillan sings both solo a capella and together with some excellent Gaelic singers, including Mary Ann Kennedy, Mary MacMillan, James Graham, Rachel Walker and Angus MacPlaid. Aaron Jones (Old Blind Dogs) on bass and bouzouki, Mary Ann Kennedy on clarsach and Allan Henderson on piano and whistles perfectly accompany the beautiful arranged songs.

MacMillan starts the CD with "An Chuinn Thu mo Nighean Donn" ("Can You Hear My Brown-Eyed Girl?"), a well-known traditional love song from North Uist. Jones' bouzouki matches MacMillan's singing and the backing vocals beautifully. The puirt-a-beul, sung in a duet with Mary MacMillan, is a great sample of rhythmic a capella singing. "Mo Nighean Dubh" ("My Black-Haired Girl"), another Uist love song, features hauntingly beautiful singing from all the singers.

Another sample of brilliant a capella singing is the waulking song "Turas Dhomhsa chon na galldeachd" ("My Journey to the Lowlands"), my favorite song on the album. The singing of MacMillan together with the six "waulkers" is breathtaking.

The album is an authentic and hauntingly beautiful collection of traditional Gaelic singing, performed by some of Scotland's finest musicians -- a must for those who love to listen to beautiful singing and for those who are especially interested in songs from the Outer Hebrides.

music review by
Adolf Goriup

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