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Sian at Celtic Connections 2018

Starting the evening was a new trio, Sian, consisting of Eilidh Cormack, winner of the Ladies’ Gold Medal at the Royal National Mòd on her first attempt at the age of 18 and a semi-finalist in BBC Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2016; Ellen MacDonald, currently performing with Dàimh and also often with Gaelic-tronica pioneers Niteworks; and Ceitlin L R Smith, winner of the Traditional Gold Medal at the Royal National Mòd,  a Danny Kyle winner, and a former lead singer for Gria.  Their voices blended together beautifully, and their harmonies were stellar.  As usual at Celtic Connections Gaelic song shows, I wished I spoke Gaelic, so I could understand the jokes and the lyrics.  It didn’t matter, as their wonderful songs and presence was enough. (Okay, a CD we could bring home so the Oak and Thorn audience could enjoy Sian, too, would have made the evening perfect.)

Margaret Stewart at Celtic Connections 2018Have you ever been in the presence of royalty?  That’s what it felt like when Margaret Stewart, Gold Medal  Mod winner and 2008  Gaelic Singer of the Year and 2011 Musician in Residence at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig; Scotland’s Gaelic College, walked onto the stage and began singing.  Her voice filled the hall, spreading its magic and power.  Performing with a harp accompaniment, Stewart swept the audience back in time, to an era of the great bards.  She showed off her vocal range with soaring laments, ballads, and what should have been a very sad song about a poor maid whipped out of a house, but the melody was too cheerful.  Add to all of her musical talent is her delightful sense of humor.

Kathleen MacInnes at Celtic Connections 2018

Kathleen MacInnes, Gaelic Singer of the Year in 2006 and actress, has a smoky voice and a cheeky presence.  Reading from seventies-era Gaelic/English pages, clearly badly translated text, she had the Gaelic speakers roaring with laughter.  Moments later, she broke our hearts with a tragic ballad of loss, a Gaelic song specialty.  Her fans were everywhere in the hall, all eager to share tidbits about her career as a singer and as an actress.  While she didn’t sing much in this show, there’s another chance to see her in the “Oran nan Gaidheal” event at the Royal Concert Hall on the 26th.

This was truly a magical evening of gorgeous harmonies and beautiful songs, all in Gaelic, in an all-woman show featuring songs written by women.

https://sian-music.com/
http://www.margaretstewart.com/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathleen_MacInnes

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