MacTalla Mór's latest release The New Colossus is their tightest and most creative release to date, and they continue to fashion an unmistakable blend of Celtic rhythms layered on jazz, rap, pop, rock, and calypso.
MacTalla Mór - The New Colossus
The New Colossus: Chi Mi Na Mórbheanna (The Mist Covered Mountains), Itchy Fingers Set, No Maker's Mark Part I, Oró Sé Do Bheatha Bhaile (God Speed Home), The New Colossus, U.S. reggAe, New Wave, The Atholl Highlanders, Airdi Cuain (The Heights of Cushendun), Bagpipe Duet, Green Groves of Erin / No Woman No Cry, Time Out, No Maker's Mark Part II, Hellbound Train
Personnel: Clan Ofgang is - Ilana: Lead Vocals, Piano, Organ, Bass Pedals, Percussion; Patty Devlin: Bodhran, Vocals, Percussion; Jesse Moses: Great Highland Bagpipes, Whistles, Drums, Percussion, Guitar, Vocals; Levon: Great Highlands Bagpipes, Tin Whistle, Percussion, Vocals; MageErik ‘MC': Vocals; Harry ‘Dr. O': Vocals
The New Colossus is an indie release under the MacTalla Mór label. This is the band's fifth release and I had previously reviewed two of their releases Piping Hot and Jacob's Ladder in the Music Scene section. I referred to their sound as ‘MacTalla Mór Magic,' and with The New Colossus, they have conjured up some new magic. I have experienced the band live numerous times, as well as spoken with the members, and I can say that this is a band, a family, that shares a bond through their music. Energetic, passionate, creative, professional, and emotional are the adjectives that define this group, and their ability to balance and blend these elements is what makes their sound ‘piping hot'. Each release has been different as they continue to evolve and stretch their creative focus. Though they bring back a few tracks from earlier releases such as Hellbound Train and Itchy Finger Set, they have updated and tightened the arrangements.
The New Colossus contains fourteen tracks, with many rooted in the band's Irish heritage, in fact they drop in some Gaelic lyrics and titles. Having recently traveled through Ireland, I know that Gaelic is still readily spoken though more in the rural hinterlands than in the larger cities, so for the group to learn and embrace their Gaelic language heritage, speaks to the emotion and passion of this band, while making for an undeniable sound.
Track one Chi Mi Na Mórbheanna (The Mist Covered Mountains) opens the release, and with Ilana's echoing vocals singing in Gaelic along with the English translation, the tempo is set as they build on their roots while tossing in a mix of genres on the following tracks. They conclude the release with a crescendo with the track Hellbound Train written by bagpipe techno guru Mark Saul, and arranged and performed superbly with all the elements of MacTalla Mór coming together especially dual bagpipes. In between, the tracks spring tastefully constructed surprises on you with jazz, calypso, pop, rap, rock, and folk segments. Track three No Maker's Mark, written by Harry, Jesse, Ilana and Levon, is a track that may well become the signature song for MacTalla Mór; this is a powerful and outstandingly structured track. The lyrics ring of issues that we have been dealing with for centuries, such as "Peace it is elusive while war it is the norm, a soldier's blood is bitter but cannot calm the storm." The title track The New Colossus has a folk, pop tone as Ilana changes gears from her Gaelic vocals and shows her range belting out, "Night is fallen all around, light is fading from the ground, but still I hear the sound calling out across the sea, crying out with silent lips," showing that no matter how far they travel personally and musically, there will always be a tie to their Irish roots.
MacTalla Mór's arrangements, both original and the cover tracks, delve into various genres while retaining a Celtic rhythm and beat, but always with a MacTalla Mór twist, that creates an energizing sound.
Websites where you can procure MacTalla Mór - The New Colossus are MacTalla Mór, CD Baby, Celtic Radio, Amazon, and Buy.com; downloads available at PayPlay.FM, iSound, and Tradebit.
© October 2007. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com. All rights reserved.