Its good to have friends and family who listen to a broader variety of music than you, isn’t it? That way you can learn that there are only three Eminem songs you actually like, and that although there are whole albums worth owning from Seven Nations, the change of a single band member meant every album produced after that isn’t worth listening to.


It also means that they give you new music, just because. Maggie MacInnes’ “Spiorad Beatha” is the newest gift (thanks mom!). The album’s title translates to ‘The Spirit of Life’ and it is aptly-named.


Ms. MacInnes vocals are evocative and thrilling. She plays something called a clarsach (a wire-strung harp) and although the sound is similar to other kinds of harp playing, the metal strings provide a deep resonance making it distinct from anything I’ve heard before.


The first track “Gura mise tha fo Eislean” is beautiful. Delicate vocals open the song (reminiscent of Lorena McKennitt) and then a bass string thrums into our blood. The deep beat of the bass note combines with Ms MacInnes’ vocals and stirs the blood. I have no idea why the children are singing, but the effect is to lift us out of the ordinary.


This is her second solo album, and it is self-produced on her own label "Marram Music." It features some of Scotland's finest musicians such as Charlie McKerron (of Capercaillie), Brian McAlpine (formerly of Iron Horse), Sean O'Rourke (formerly of JSD Band), Marie Fielding, Paul Jennings, and Keith Easdale. The entire album is in Scottish, so if you need to understand the lyrics, you’ll be learning a new language. Personally, I found the intentions clear.


If you like Lorena McKennitt, Enya or Clannad, you need to take a good look at Maggie MacInnes. Highly recommended.


~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Artist: Maggie MacInnes

CD, $17.66

Marram Music