Nollaig,
Under a Pale Moon
(Wren, 2003)

Nollaig showcases her world-class talent with a mixture of classic traditional songs and new titles. This is the ideal sound to fall into a cold dark Irish night beside a roaring fire with a glass of something in your hand.

Opening with "Will You Go Lassie Go," this lady will have you entranced. She then proceeds to weave her lyrical web with the enchanting "Mna na hEireann," performed to perfection. You need not understand the Gaeilge to enjoy this track.

"O'Carolans Trance" is a new title to me, and the instrumental piece fits snugly into the collection. One of my favorite tracks is "Rare and Pure." The combination of lyrics and backing is beyond fault.

We are all familiar with Mary Black and the Chieftains' performances of "Mo Ghile Mear." (We are, aren't we?) Now we have yet another classic interpretation from Nollaig. The combination of her vocal style with a spare accompaniment is excellent. Another beautiful track is "Let Me Be." Again, it is the simplicity of the production that works its magic.

This album has only 10 tracks, but even with a hundred, it would leave you wanting more.

I usually listen to an album without reading any liner notes or press releases before I start to review. If a set of songs and the performances of the singer and musicians can transport you without any background, I consider it a jewel. Under a Pale Moon passed the test. Origins, backgrounds and news releases do not matter. A CD is for listening pleasure, and this is pure pleasure.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 8 January 2005