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The Campbells Of Greepe No 2 Greepe (Watercolour)

Listening to Skye Gaelic singing dynasty the Campbells' unaccompanied singing is like being transported back in time to the family cottage in Greepe where songs are said to have soundtracked every communal activity, not just nightly gatherings round the peat fire.

Indeed, even allowing for the more worldly influences that slip into some of the instrumental arrangements, there's still a sense that these songs are living, working things with roots going back generations. Two generations give voice on this recording: siblings Seumas and Kenna, Kenna's daughters Wilma and Mary Ann Kennedy, and their cousin Maggie Macdonald, but the bonus track of Maggie's mother, Ann Michie, singing in 1950 emphasises the family's longstanding musical riches. Kenna's driving presence on the opening puirt-a-beul and the lived-in quality of what follows make it easy to hear why Jerry Boys, of Buena Vista Social Club fame, got involved in producing them, while Seumas's fabulously characterful contributions are treats that consistently call the listener back.

Rob Adams

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