Picks and Pans Review: Santiago
Last year, Ireland's Chieftains scored the biggest commercial hit of their 34-year career with The Long Black Veil. Now how do they capitalize on that breakthrough? With this not exactly radio-friendly album of mostly traditional Spanish songs, recorded with a group of Galician musicians from around the world. But there is method to this apparent marketing madness. Like Ireland, ancient Galicia, a region in northwest Spain, was settled by Celts—and the cultures and music of the two lands are linked to this day, as is beautifully demonstrated by the playing of Carlos Núñez, whose instrument, the gaita, is a Galician version of bagpipes. On "Dueling Chanters," Chieftains leader Paddy Moloney's uilleann pipes and Núñez's gaita blend seamlessly. Like Veil, Santiago features guest artists, including Linda Ronstadt and Los Lobos on the cantina-styled "Guadalupe." The finale, "Dublin in Vigo," is a raucous romp recorded in an Irish pub in Galicia. Like the pub's patrons, you too will be clamoring for more. (RCA Victor)
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