Fri, Oct 21, 2005, 01:00

Latest releases reviewed

PÁDRAIGÍN NÍ UALLACHÁIN Áilleacht/Beauty Gael Linn ****

Contemporary songwriting in Irish is a rare sighting. Oriel songwriter and singer Páidrigín Ní Uallacháin refuses to be bound by the vacuum that could easily tether a traditional singer to the past. Áilleacht/Beauty is a three-dimensional, swarthy gathering of contemporary songs, all from Ní Uallacháin’s pen. Spanning an ocean’s breadth of human emotions, from platonic friendship (Gold and Silk) to sensual love (The Kiss) and the ultimate freedom of death (Free Spirit), she melds lyric and music with the singer’s ear for detail. Iarla Ó Lionáird’s guest vocals on The Kiss and Cooley’s Memory steer the sound gloriously left-field, and against a subtle backdrop of Laoise Kelly’s harp, Odhrán Ó Casaide’s pipes and fiddle and Steve Cooney’s guitars, Áilleacht/ Beauty is a refreshing elixir that propels our song tradition forwards.

Siobhán Long