‘Imeall' from Irish chanteuse Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh(February 18, 2012)
I first met the beautiful Irish chanteuse Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh in 1978 when she performed at St Mary’s Church Hall in Hastings (rather uncharitably re-christened ‘the bomb factory’…you work it out…by the local residents of the town) whilst working with the fledgling acoustic group Altan. Since then of course the band have gone from strength to strength and this recording ‘Imeall' is Mairead’s first solo project in all that time.
The old question of whether the album has stretched her musically speaking is: “No…not really.” but then again, who wouldn’t want to make the most of an opportunity to surround themselves with the cream of the Irish ‘folk’ glitterati including, amongst others Manus Lunny (bouzouki, programming, vocals) Michael McGoldrick (Uilleann pipes, flute) and Tim Edey (guitars). Lunny also comes into his own as producer deftly placing just the correct amount of nuanced accompaniment where it’s required.
Although I suppose the album will appear rather pedestrian for some tastes (but not those who have followed Mhaonaigh’s career to date) there are spirited renditions of the Gaelic song 'Gardai ‘n Ri' with its riff and percussion driven sound and the fiddle led instrumental set-piece 'Highlands/The Red Crow' for those wishing a quick jig around the table in Pat Cohen’s pub from ‘The Quiet Man’. All-in-all, this is a very nice CD to chill-out to.
Reviewer: Pete Fyfe