Folk Notes

I have often noted how there is inner strength and power in the quiter Celtic music. Lossan features, for the most part, just two women: a voice and a Celtic harp and little else – it’s a perfect case in point. Even the Manx title means light or flame – very appropriate!

Manx singer Ruth Keggin and Scottish harpist Rachel Hair are an amazing combination. Both are renowned and experienced artists, and oit shows. Ruth’s singing is emotionally expressive and her vocal control is excellent, while Rachel’s playing is confident and nuanced and often also rhythmically solid, with no need for percussive instruments to create the pulse.

This is, of course, not a very loud album, so taking some time and putting away unnecessary things will be required to enjoy Lossan fully. There is much to enjoy here, not only because of the art and skill of the ladies.

As the first song, Arraneyn Cadlee, had been playing for about 30 seconds, I began to feel oddly Christmassy – and lo: when I looked into it, it is an old Manx Christmas song! So is the second tune, Mish as y Keayn, a waltz as lovely as can be.

These are followed by solo performances by Rachel and Ruth, whose a cappella rendition of Arrane Saveenagh – a lullaby, I presume – is simply magical and also testifies to her remarkable skills as a singer.

The rest of the album expands the stylistic spectrum and serves some faster tunes alongside the ballads. Isla Callister’s fiddle and the two Ímar Adams, Rhodes (bouzouki) and Brown (bodhran) appear on a few tunes, bringing additional color and vibes with them. Especially the Eubonia Soilshagh set ups the temperature nicely.

I found Lossan a most enjoyable release and would recommend to anyone who likes to stop everything and just take in some excellent Celtic music.

View original review HERE