Published: April 09, 2006

Sunday tonic

One of the problems I find with having your whole recorded music collection on a single device is that you sort have to know what you’re looking for when you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Because you see hundreds of titles or artists scrolled through with a jog-wheel, it’s easy to miss things you’ve forgotten about or even forgot you’d acquired. Flipping through CDs is or was a better process, and I hope Apple or whoever can find a better way to merge the music with graphics.

Coming home from work on the subway on Friday I happened across Margaret Stewart and Allan MacDonald’s Colla mo rún, their 2001 Greentrax recording, which has always been on my iPod but a favourite that had somehow fallen through the jog-wheel cracks. What a brilliant piece of work this is, made even more sublime when listened to on the westbound Bloor line.

It’s been on our home system all weekend. Allan’s playing is so creative and so pure and so rhythmical and so deft. His Gaelic singing is evocative and smoky, and if you’re not moved by “Tha sior cóineadh am beinn dóbhrain,” or his overwhelmingly tuneful pipe and ringing hi-A on “na h-eilthirch,” I’m afraid that you may have a heart of Aberdeen granite.

This is a terrific recording, for the Toronto subway, for the A82 to Crianlarich, for a Sunday morning anywhere.

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