Julie Fowlis

Cuilidh | Spit + Polish
By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  September 16, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars

fowlisinside.jpg
The title (“KOO-lee”) of Julie Fowlis’s second album means “secret” (a treasure, a sanctuary, a hiding place), but the word is out on this beguiling performer from North Uist, in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. Sung entirely in Scottish Gaelic (with full texts and translation in the liner booklet), Cuilidh picks up where Mar a tha mo chridhe (“As My Heart Is”) left off: women wait for the men they love; women go against their parents to marry the men they love; World War I heroes fight for the land they were promised by Lloyd George (his words are likened to “mist disappearing out of sight”); the old men of North Uist have a hurley-burley; Peter Morrison survives a humorously hazardous boat trip to the mainland. There are two sets of tongue-twisting puirt-à-beul, or “mouth music” (everything from cheering Dòmhnall Bàn’s bonnet to spreading manure), where the concision of the poetic language is equaled by Fowlis’s blitzkrieg delivery; there’s a track of jigs played by her acoustic band (husband Éamon Doorley on bouzouki plus guitar, fiddle, flute, whistle, violin, viola, piano, bodhrán). Although the themes are traditional, some of these songs were written in the past half-century — which is to say that government hypocrisy and love in the face of parental opposition never go out of style. The back-up — less generic when strings or piano replace strumming at the fore — is fine, but it’s Fowlis’s soughing voice, all wind and water and machair and peewit, that’s Cuilidh’s treasure.

RACHEL SAGE + JULIE FOWLIS | Club Passim, 47 Palmer St, Cambridge | September 24 at 8 pm | $25 | 617.492.7679 or www.clubpassim.org
Related: Chatham County Line, Dance, Monkey: Baratunde Thurston, Dirge overkill, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Club Passim
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY JEFFREY GANTZ
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   MAMA KNOWS BEST: THE HUNTINGTON'S FEEL-GOOD A RAISIN IN THE SUN  |  March 19, 2013
    Fifty-four years after its groundbreaking Broadway premiere, Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun remains as dense, and as concentrated, as its title fruit.
  •   LIGHT WAVES: BOSTON BALLET'S ''ALL KYLIÁN''  |  March 13, 2013
    A dead tree hanging upside down overhead, with a spotlight slowly circling it. A piano on stilts on one side of the stage, an ice sculpture's worth of bubble wrap on the other.
  •   HANDEL AND HAYDN'S PURCELL  |  February 04, 2013
    Set, rather confusingly, in Mexico and Peru, the 1695 semi-opera The Indian Queen is as contorted in its plot as any real opera.
  •   REVIEW: MAHLER ON THE COUCH  |  November 27, 2012
    Mahler on the Couch , from the father-and-son directing team of Percy and Felix Adlon, offers some creative speculation, with flashbacks detailing the crisis points of the marriage and snatches from the anguished first movement of Mahler's unfinished Tenth Symphony.
  •   THE NUTCRACKER: BUILDING A BETTER MOUSETRAP?  |  November 19, 2012
    "Without The Nutcracker , there'd be no ballet in America as we know it."

 See all articles by: JEFFREY GANTZ