Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Don't Hold Your Breath
Genres: Folk, World Music, Pop
Listen to Samples
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Almost as good as live
Yahn Van de Walle | Western Michigan U. | 09/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many people think of bagpipes, and picture creepy Scotish guys in skirts with big, scary looking, loud pipey things on their shoulders. Now us true Celtic fans know better, but even the most close minded listeners will agree this is an amazing album. I had the pleasure of seeing MacUmba at a tiny venue at a folk festival in Lausanne, Switzerland, and was blown away. They absolutely demolished my father and I's band, Celtofools, in the talent show, then proceded to make the whole crowd dance and cheer with an energy that blew me away. I reluctantly bought the album, fearful that it wouldn't live up to the live performance. Let me tell you that it is just as great at home. The ballads are gorgeous, but of course, what really shines is the dance tracks. Get yourself a big 'ol sub-woofer, crank it, and make the whole meighborhood get on their feet and dancing. Truly amazing stuff."
Wow. Just wow.
Tom Knapp | Lancaster, PA USA | 01/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wow. Just wow.
MacUmba was a bit of a mystery to me. I didn't know what to expect. But when I slipped the disc into my stereo and the room filled with the boisterous pipes and percussion of "Moonshine" -- well, just wow.
And the album didn't un"wow" me throughout its 17 exciting, energetic tracks.
I think you need some background information. MacUmba is a collection of 11 musicians who play either the pipes (Highland, shuttle and war) or a huge mound of percussion. While their melodies are drawn from the traditions of Scottish pipe bands, they dose their music heavily with Caribbean and Brazilian rhythms. Yes, it sounds implausible. Yes, it works -- really, really well.
The merger has further evidence in the band's name. As the members explain in the liner notes, "macumba" is a Brazilian religion combining Christian effigies with ritual drumming and gods from the Yoruba pantheon. In Scotland, "MacUmba" means "son of Umba." Based in Scotland, they got their start as a drumming group at the Glasgow School of Art. They added pipes for a performance at a football match, and the result was incendiary.
It's a cultural blending I wouldn't have expected. But ... well, read above. "Wow."
After a pair of amazing pipe and percussion tracks ("Moonshine" and "Mo Chuachag Laghach Thu"), I was startled to hear a clear, beautiful singing voice. Lynne O'Neill, who also plays an array of percussion (surdo, tamborm, agogo and chocalho) has a gorgeous vocal style, and most of the percussionists provide backing vocals at one point or another. Her first appearance is "The Selkie," a traditional Scottish song about the mystical seal people of the coast -- and somehow, the tribal vocal backdrop works. There's a bit more from O'Neill, too -- the melancholy "MacCrimmon's Lament" and "Just Five More Minutes."
There are also more excellent instrumentals, with pipes skirling proudly over powerful percussion. I defy anyone to remain still during "6/8 Itapuan" (a pair of jigs), "Son of Megalomania" (a reel), "Cullen Bay" (a march) or "Heaven Scent" (a hornpipe). "Fairy Glen" is a foot-stomping percussion piece. And it keeps going. Seventeen tracks in all, and not a single disappointment along the way.
Any pipe fans and percussion enthusiasts out there who haven't heard MacUmba are really missing something.
by Tom Knapp, Rambles.(net) editor"
For the Serious Scot
Tom Knapp | 02/15/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A wonderful (in the original sense of the word) and moving collection of modern Scottish tunes. This is not Celtic light; Enya fans be warned. This is the genuine article. The pipes sing and the percussion pulses with real passion. Up the Scots. Let's have more. (I may be biased because I saw these guys perform in a small room when they passed through LA. Even with reduced troops they carried the day. Don't miss this.)"