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Album Review

Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill was a charter member of the Bothy Band in the 1970s and later played for Touchstone and Nightnoise. Her sister Maighread sings with Dónal Lunny's band Coolfin, and Lunny contributes guitar, bouzouki, arrangements, and production on this album of traditional Irish songs. The result of this three-way collaboration is striking, if not surprising, in its loveliness; the songs are mostly of the sweetly despairing type so familiar to lovers of Irish music: "Liostáil Mé le Sáirsint" is the lament of a young conscriptee who, despite the luxuries of his new life overseas, yearns for the Old Sod; "Spanish Lady," with its mysterious numerical chorus, is a reflection on the treachery of fortune and the perfidy of womankind; "Foireann an Bháid" is one more in a long line of laments for young fishermen lost at sea. On the brighter side are a whimsical ode to an especially yummy variety of whitefish and "The Banks of Claudy," in which a young swain returns from the war in disguise to test the fidelity of his lover; she passes the test and they live, presumably, happily ever after. Or not — there's probably a sadder song out there about whatever became of them afterward. The arrangements of these songs are modern, but tastefully so, and the Ní Dhomhnaill sisters' voices are consistently beautiful whether solo or blended. Highly recommended.


Genre: World

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

With the release of her long-overdue debut solo album No Dowry in 1999, the world was reminded of the power of Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill's vocals. Although she had hinted at her strengths as a member of Skara Brae, a Gaelic-language ensemble that she shared with her brother Michael O'Domhnaill, sister Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill, and multi-instrumentalist Daithi Sproule, Ní Dhomhnaill had maintained a low profile since the group's demise in the early '80s. A native of Rann na Feireste (Ranafast), County Donegal,...
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Idir An Dá Sholas, Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill
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