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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tha math a bhith beo (it's good to be alive)., 3 Aug. 2011
By 
M. F. Symmons "martainn" (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mānran (Audio CD)
Manran have a great bright, up-to-date, lively sound and lead singer Norrie MacIver has a great voice - he's particularly good in the version of An Eala Bhan here (Track 10). This song is written as the last words of a soldier to his girl Maggie from the frontline. A few years ago I heard that in fact the writer Domhnall Ruadh returned alive from France and married... someone else entirely... as Norrie say in Latha Math (track 8) - 'tha e math a bhith beo' - it's good to be alive - even when it surprises you.

Latha math is a fabulous song - wonderfully sung and played - it surprised me when I heard it on BBC Alba's Hogmanay broadcast this year. And I knew this was a band I wanted to hear more from. This first album from them is a nice mix of songs and instrumental sets.

The instrumental tracks are all great fun and one from Gary Innes (Chasing Daylight, track 11) is really excellent.

The two songs An Eala Bhan and Latha Math alone are really worth the price of the album. So it is a real bonus that you get the first recorded version of the wonderful Glaodh an Iar (track 3) written by Callum Runrig and his son Donald.

Maraiche nan Aigh (track 6) is an odd fish - a gaelic version of the Waterboys' Song of the Mermaid translated by the Bard Aonghas Dubh (Angus MacNicol). I think the chorus in this does sound a bit odd - but it is supposed to be the call of the Mermaid so maybe it is accurate for all I know.

Norrie and the lads have also included a great lively version of Oran na Cloiche (track 4). This is the amazing song by the Paisley Bard Domhnall MacIntyre (Bard Phaislig) about the repatriation of the Stone of Destiny from Westminster Abbey to Scotland in 1950. This song also has a sound imitation it - in this case the rhythm of a hand quern or milling stone. The Bard uses this sound connection to link the original loss of the Stone of Destiny from Scotland to a folk memory of people losing their hand querns. (Which meant that flour milling became a monopoly of the landlord.)

Norrie and the band move this song along just a bit fast for the full effect of this sound trick by the Bard. But Norrie's great delivery of the words and the spirit of the playing are infectious. There are some hilarious lines but this is still a fighting song - hoping for injustices to get ground down by time - and that really comes through in their version.

Manran also have great spirit in their delivery of some Puirt a beul (track 12). Puirt a beul (mouth tunes) are Gaelic rap - usually unaccompanied voice to replace instruments for dancing. Puirt a beul is more common from women singers so it is good to hear a man's take on it.

If there was a pre-order button for the the next Manran album I think I've already heard enough to press that straight away.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mànran Magic!!, 15 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Mānran (Audio CD)
I was impressed with Mànran's performance on the BBC Alba 2011 Hogmanay Show and wanted to hear more of their music so decided to check out this album. I was delighted to find that the Speybey Switch and Puirt sets which they had performed on the Hogmanay Show were on the album, so that made my mind up to go ahead and buy it.

As a non-Gaelic speaker, I was initially a wee bit concerned about the amount of Gaelic songs on the album but needn't have worried as after a couple of listens I found myself singing along to the songs!! Norrie has amazing voice so they are a pleasure to listen to in any case, even though I don't understand what the songs are about.

The instrumental tracks are well played and arranged, my favourite being the Speybey Switch, a fab set which ends with a cracking reel of the same name. The album showcases the composition talents and musicianship of the band members, and is augmented by some wonderful work by keyboard wizard Phil Cunningham.

To sum up, I highly recommend this album, which has been played on repeat on my Ipod since I received it earlier in the week. I can't wait to hear more of Mànran and hope to get to one of their gigs before too long!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 30 May 2013
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This review is from: Mānran (Audio CD)
These guys are amazing and will be supporting Runrig this year on their tour, so watch out for these guys who are going to be just mega
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb, lively & energising, 5 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Mānran (Audio CD)
Great CD - these guys on their own are super but together they just make super even better. As well as having the CD, Ive been able to see them play live ... oh and have a wee dance into the bargain. These boys are who music is made for, they make you enjoy it and I guess thats what musicans want - people to enjoy hearing what they effortlessly and faultlessly play.

Yes, this type of music isnt for everyone, but I think those that have the scope to listen to everything and enjoy vast musical styles can understand the enjoyment something away from the usual 'pop' scene can bring - its unique, enjoyable, and you can still sing and dance to your hearts content ...

These boys, are to the scottish highland music scene one band that are worth a listen to. I hope some of you too can enjoy seeing them live, well worth seeking them out - roll on albums 2, 3, 4 & more boys ....
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different - sometimes - from your average folk-rock, 20 Aug. 2011
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This review is from: Mānran (Audio CD)
Well worth buying , an excellent example of Scottish folk rock, making good use of the two sorts of pipe. Some songs sung in Scots gaelic - a lovely sounding language thsat gives an extra interest and edge to the tracks. Track 4 was the stand-out track for me. Some off the less strong tracks lapse into a rather run-of-the-mill pleasant but nothing special folk-rock mode, but there are none which are downright bad.This (as with most of the music I enjoy!) deserves a wider audience.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful musicianship, 26 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Mānran (Audio CD)
Great selection from a high quality Scottish band of musicians. Another band I am looking forward to watching at the Beverley Folk festival in June 2014.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Manran review, 10 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Mānran (Audio CD)
A very professional group of musicians. Beautifully constructed songs and lyrics. You won't be disappointed if you buy this cd.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Power to stir your porridge, 4 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Mānran (Audio CD)
When I first heard this band they nearly swept me off my seat,Powerful driving rhythms,and some great voices in the Gaelic gave this God willing exile some tears in the eyes thinking of home,Scotland and my beloved Glencoe,my heritage,this music in the highland tradition of which I am extremely proud and this is yet another band that Scotland and those of us that are exiles can gather to our hearts.The gaelic songs were extremely welcome and performed with both energy and great feeling,The rest of the world can enjoy this band and them too I am proud to say.They reminded me in part of another great band called Tannas who I have the pleasure of knowing personally.Play them morning noon and night but especially in the morning as it will give you more power to stir your porridge.[[ASIN:B00CSQMAS4 The Test]
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4.0 out of 5 stars Superb !!, 28 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Manran (MP3 Download)
On the first few listens to this album, this band certainly sounds good, excellent vocals from Norrie Maciver. Looking forward to listening more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars MANRAN - CD, 18 April 2013
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This review is from: Mānran (Audio CD)
VERY VERY GOOD MUSIC, GREAT BAND WOULD RECCOMMEND TO ANYONE. GREAT TOE TAPPING MUSIC. DONT UNDERSTAND ALL BUT VERY GOOD
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