Picks and Pans Review: Long Journey Home

updated 02/02/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/02/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

Various artists

Here, in 16 mournful songs and giddy reels, Ireland's Chieftains, with stellar assists from Sinéad O'Connor, Van Morrison, Mary Black and Vince Gill, among others, capture the sad yearnings and hopeful dreams of a scattered people. With moaning uilleann pipes and trilling whistles, fiddles, harps and flutes, the Grammy-winning Dubliners, led by chief Chieftain Paddy Moloney, make this soundtrack a moving companion piece to The Irish in America: Long Journey Home, the six-hour film documentary airing this week on PBS. Opening with Van Morrison's sweet, aching "Shenandoah," the CD delivers one highlight after another, among them Mary Black's "Paddy's Lamentation," warning would-be émigrés not to leave home for Civil War-torn America, and Oklahoman Gill's "Bard of Armagh," sung like a true son of Erin. Elvis Costello (né Declan McManus) co-writes (with Moloney) and performs the title theme, but it is O'Connor's spare and lovely dirge "Skibbereen" that steals the show. (Unisphere/BMG Classics)

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