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Alan Stivell - Tha mi sgith/Suite sudarmoricaine CD (album) cover


Alan Stivell


Prog Folk

2.00 | 1 ratings

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2 stars In between releasing 3 classic albums in the early 1970s, Brittany's Celtic harp revivalist was busily flooding the market with singles of high quality that presumably could not or would not fit on those albums. Interestingly, this one appeared in several forms, both with "Tha mi sgith" on the first side and others with "Suite Sudarmoricaine" as the headliner. Both would become popular in a live setting, but it's hard to find this version of "Tha mi sgith" other than on 45, which makes this unassuming issue all the more desirable.

While this interpretation of a traditional strathspey from the Outer Hebrides offers the usual blend of Stivell's benevolent vocals, fiddle, colourful lead guitar from Dan Ar Braz, and solid percussion, I've heard more captivating versions from the likes of SILLY WIZARD and Canadian band CLAN from many years ago, as "Hewing Bracken", with achingly morose lyrics.

For the trad arranged "suite" on the flipside, while it begins promisingly thanks to lively and Latin American styled guitars and flutes, once the vocals pierce the illusion the deflation is instantaneous. Normally repetition is handled craftily in Stivell interpretations, but here the shouted mouth music is beyond tedious. Surprisingly, this is the more popular of the two, and readily available on compilations.

"Tha mi Sgith" is this the sole reason to seek out this 45, but I'm going to recommend that you content yourself with one of the live versions, such as on "Olympia Concert", which is livelier and adds organ to the ensemble, rather than spend the rather lofty sums expected on eBay for a lesser product.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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