by Dan MacDonald
I did a bit of 'housecleaning' this past weekend and found a number of CDs I've had since a while that I haven't talked about yet. Today I'll mention a pair I received during Celtic Colours.
A' Seo (Here) is the first solo release from Antigonish County's Lewis Mackinnon, band member with Jug in Hand and past president of the Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia. Lewis (or Lodaidh MacFhionghain) did the CD as a tribute to his granduncle Dougald MacDougall, a Cape Mabou native who spent 15 years with the MacKInnon family in Antigonish while Lewis was growing up. It was from Dougald that he learned the language and the love for the culture.
Lodaidh is a great singer with a nice texture to his full, rich voice and he uses its full range throughout the CD. He is a good writer and several of his compositions appear on this recording, along with some great old traditional material. He has also taken the time to create some fresh sounding (and very interesting) arrangements for some of the more familiar songs. He also surrounded himself with a full host of very talented musicians. Recorded by Dave Gunning (with help from Tim Doucet and George Canyon), the musicians include Dave, Patricia Murray, Troy MacGillivray, Scott Long and An Cliath Clis (a Halifax-based Gaelic Milling Group).
The CD is accompanied by 20 pages of liner notes, well researched and including pictures that add so much. One of the highlights on the CD are the comments (in Gaelic) from Dougald himself, collected before his death in 1990, that add a real sense of place to the recording.
A' Seo is a wonderful CD and suitable for any collection, whether you're a Gaelic speaker or not.