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World Music CD Reviews Middle East & North Africa

Mary Jane Lamond

By Rob Weir
Published October 31, 2005

Stòras
Factor

Mary Jane Lamond’s latest collection of Cape Breton Gaelic songs does a clever turnabout. For decades Scots have traveled to Cape Breton to reclaim traditional music from Canadians who emigrated before Victorian sentimentality corrupted Scots music. On Stòras, Lamond again mines Nova Scotia’s rich trove of Gaelic songs about work, love, war, longing, and regret but the arrangements are decidedly bright and brisk. This is Gaelic song for the modern era and is evocative of the creative, contemporary treatments associated with Talitha MacKenzie. Lamond even employs the Blue Engine String Quartet to add some longhair embellishments to humble roots songs. Purists can sheath their swords; many of these songs are still sung on Cape Breton, hence Lamond is updating living traditions, not corrupting the past.