T with the Maggies a Satisfying Brew


T With the Maggies

Compass 7-4550-2

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The adjective “angelic” is overworked when applied to female voices, but we make an exception for T with the Maggies, the whimsical moniker assumed by Moya Brennan, Mairéad Ní Mhoanaigh, and sisters Tríona and Mairéad Ní Dhomhnaill. Their debut release opens with the lively “Wedding Dress,” a vocal and instrumental delight driven by fiddle, accordion, keyboards, harp and guest percussion from Jim Higgins and fretwork from producer Manus Lunny. But don’t expect a collection of lush and lusty songs--this album is more in the ambient spirit of Clannad (Brennan) and Night Noise (Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill) than, say, the fiery ensemble work of Altan (Ní Mhoanaigh). The album’s remaining ten songs are mostly sung in Irish, slower-paced, and sparely instrumented by harp and/or keyboards. As one might expect, the vocals are gorgeous and the harmonies--dare I say it?--angelic. The album’s relaxed feel is what one would expect from four acclaimed Irish music veterans who have won the right to make music the way they wish, and it also exudes the trust and joy one finds between close siblings and longtime friends. It is the sort of unobtrusive sound that could play in the background of late afternoon tea, but it’s also the kind whose beauty would ultimately jolt you more than the caffeine rush.