Print this Page

World Music CD Reviews Celtic & Irish

Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh

By Rob Weir
Published March 16, 2007

Daybreak: Fáinne an lae
Compass 4428

Most Celtic fans know Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh as the radiant lead vocalist of Danú, Ireland’s premier interpreter of sessions music. On Daybreak she takes center stage and commands it. This album evokes the sheer beauty of a Kate Rusby release mixed with the bravado and contemporary sheen of a Maura O’Connell disc. Nic Amhlaoibh doesn’t need to prove her trad chops, so she leads with a fresh and exciting cover of Gerry O’Beirne’s “Western Highway,” and she does a stellar job on his “The Isle Of Malachy” and on Richard Thompson’s “Persuasion.” The other nine tracks are drawn from tradition’s well, or perhaps one could say they’re well-drawn. Each features the sort of crisp arrangements we expect from musicians like O’Beirne, John Doyle, Shane McGowan and Danú mates Oisin McAuley and Éamon Doorley. By the time Nic Amhlaoibh sings “The Parting Glass,” we’re far from ready to clear the table.