A Review of Seamus Ennis CD
"Music, Stories and Song"

"Music, Stories and Song"
by Seamus Ennis

Copyright Gael Linn 2006

This review is written by Dai Woosnam, daigress@hotmail.com, 3/07

There are Folkies under 50 years of age who I've heard ask, re Seamus Ennis: was he really THAT good? This release of his first (1961) LP, will give them the answer.

When he made this album, Ennis was just turned 40 and approaching his peak as a performer. And the album represented an interesting contrast of styles.

First his marvellously authoritative uilleann pipe and tin whistle playing. (I'd clean forgotten about his mastery of the latter.) Trust me, the Paddy Maloneys, Liam O'Flynns and Packie Byrnes of this world, all have a huge debt to him.

And then there is his sean nós singing. Strangely different to his playing: so much more low key, at times almost hesitant. But hey, not SO “hesitant”: for by his mid twenties, he had already built a big reputation for his singing.

The album is accompanied by handsomely-printed, erudite liner-notes. Pull up a chair and listen. But do understand one thing: he makes no concessions to non-Gaelic speakers. Songs and stories have not a word of English in them. Even the CD title I have shown in translation: it should read “Ceol, Scéalta Agus Amhráin”!

But methinks that an absence of English for once, is no loss: for despite this all-Gaelic approach, the sheer aura the CD projects, means that the appeal of this album goes way beyond the Gaeltacht.

Dai Woosnam
Grimsby, England

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