EP Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson
Sadly, young musicians around the world who are making their first forays into recording are continually having to face obstacles in their path during the current crisis, which affects such things as live appearances, studio restrictions and crucially, album and EP launches. One can only sympathise and offer a socially distanced congratulatory heads up while popping a few bob their way in exchange for a sample of their hard labour. This debut EP by Scots Gaelic singer Mairi McGillivray is a case in point. Hailing from the island of Islay, just off the west coast of Scotland, this fine singer releases four rather splendid songs, a couple delivered in Gaelic “Tha Fadachd Orm Fhìn” and “Tàladh na Beinne Guirmeand”, and the other two in English, “Kelvin’s Purling Stream” and “Sea of Men”, each of which give us a glimpse into Mairi’s potential as a new major talent on the traditional music scene. Graduating from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland last year with a First Class Honours in Traditional Music, Mairi’s hopes and anticipations for the launch of her career in music haven’t been completely derailed, just slowed down slightly and this EP will hopefully bridge the gap between her graduation and her rightful place in front of audiences in concert halls and on festival stages up and down the country, which I’m certain her music is destined for. This is not the kind of EP you play just the once and repeated plays has its own rewards. Helping Mairi out are Seán Gray on guitar, Isla Callister on fiddle, Graham Rorie on mandolin, Charlie Stewart ion double bass and Paul McKenna contributing backing vocals, all of which makes it a very special debut.