Top of the World: Salsa Celtica – The Tall Islands

Posted on April 16th, 2014 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Words by Jon Lusk

SalsaCeltica_wpScottish salseros: fiddling with a Latin heat 

As a firm fan of both Celtic and Latin music, I initially dismissed the idea of a band fusing the two as a bit naff. However, this fifth studio album by Scotland’s only band with members from Argentina, Cuba and Ireland has totally won me over – such is the panache and vivacity of their performance. They have done the same to audiences in Colombia and at this year’s Celtic Connections festival, and convinced many more with their previous (live) album, En Vivo en el Norte. On his third album with them, producer Calum Malcolm has given Salsa Celtica a clean, bright sound, so that individual talents such as Jarlath Henderson on uilleann pipes, Phil O’Malley on trombone, Megan Henderson on fiddle and Éamonn Coyne on banjo aren’t lost in the collective bustle. Even with 17 musicians, the arrangements never sound overcrowded. Surprisingly, this is the first time they’ve added vocals in Gaelic; they kick the album off with their rapid-fire puirt à beul (mouth music) on ‘Descarga Gaelica’, brightening things and outclassing the male Spanish-language singers whenever they reappear. Hecho!

Track to Try: ‘Descarga Gaelica’

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