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Album Review

Starting from a multilayered treatment of a Hebridean waulking song nestled in electronics, this solo release by the Mouth Music alumnus keeps getting better — until the halfway point, when the disc doesn't so much run out of steam as abandons its smarts. The best cuts show how the eccentricities and earthiness of Celtic music lend themselves to various traditional and avant-garde marriages, like "Sein O," which embeds a clipped-syllable puirt-a-beul lyric in a bogle rhythm introduced by a hair-raising sample of Huun Huur Tu's Tuvan throat singing. But the ode to positive thinking "Owen's Boat" belongs in a TV movie, and "Chi mi na Morbheanan/JFK" uses St. Jack soundbites about fighting tyranny without a trace of irony — hallowing our descent into Southeast Asia. Decent songs do follow...


Born: Long Island, NY

Genre: World

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

New York-born and Edinburgh-based vocalist Talitha MacKenzie has made her greatest impact since adopting the musical traditions of the Scot Gaels. Mouth Music, her short-lived collaboration with computer programmer Martin Swan, yielded a chart-topping album in 1988. Her solo album, Solas, reached the top three on the Euro World charts in 1994 and was followed by the equally-successful album, Spiorad, two years later. According to the Manchester Guardian, MacKenzie is "one of the most exciting vocalists...
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Sòlas, Talitha MacKenzie
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