A review of Paula Ryan's new album Turas Cumadoir, by Alan Hewitt.

Ireland has been the wellspring for much that is great within the worlds of music and literature in the British Isles for almost two thousand years. Her musical legacy is rich and diverse as we all know. And now, once again, out of the Emerald Isle comes another songstress with much to say and much to be listened to.

This is a SOLO album in the true sense of the word, Paula plays every instrument and sings every song herself. No mean task given the range of instruments and styles which are covered on this album.

The album gets under way with Vision; a plaintive plea for us to open our eyes - and ears - to the wider world around us and its joys. In other's hands this simple but vital message might be rendered trite, but Paula's voice doesn't fall into that trap but soars above it like a soul set free.

Communication is the matter at hand throughout this album. Music is the greatest communicator and here we have a lady who can use it to express an amazing range of ideas, emotions and descriptions. Garryroe for example, ostensibly a song remembering a childhood home - but depicted in ideas as sharp as a razor, feelings which we all have for times, places and people whom we miss for one reason or another.

You Make Me Laugh too, is a superb musical evocation - a portrait so sharp and clear it belongs in a frame! Who else but a musician could write a song like Only A Cabinet Maker - the derisive comment made about CF Martin who, in time, became one of the greatest luthiers of all time.

Ideas flow like water throughout this album. Detail is picked out on a breathtaking variety of instruments and all imbued with Paula's own musical and lyrical voice. A deceptively simple album with lots to say - a bit like Paula herself!

Albums like this are a rarity and a breath of fresh air when they come along - this one is a gem which anyone will enjoy.

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