"Compelling and Powerful"
Ale Street News
In the band MacTalla Mor, I have found music to laud. I saw this self-proclaimed Celtic fusion band perform live at two festivals this past summer (Pipes in the Valley, which I spoke of last issue, was one). Now having heard their release Piping Hot, it comes down to this: You need to hear this stuff!
Elements of rock, funk, traditional, as well as modern Celtic, jazz, salsa, and soca music run thick throughout, but with an energetic, almost anxious fluidity. In fact, stop reading this right now and go check out www.mactalla.com!
Within Piping Hot you get nearly 60 minutes of intensity. There are grooves and jams, history lessons, slick mashups, and inner soul searching’s. From the first few seconds of the first track “Itchy Fingers Set,” (some music inspired here by the late Pipe Major Tommy Shearer), the listener is drawn to attention.
From start to finish, this CD is like a winding coastal road with spectacular views. Each time you round another corner or cove there’s a new and exiting view to encounter. The track “Nina” is a reminder of how life was for Irish immigrants in America back in the day.
“Boomshakalaka” hits points of swing/big band aw well as Jefferson Airplane/Janis Joplin. In the song, “A World Turner Upside Down” is the plight of what could be considered a group of cooperative farmers in 1649. When the track “House Destroyers” jumps in, it almost seems like an exclamation point for justice in regard to the previous track, compelling and powerful.
“Ordo Virtutum” by Hildegaard von Bingen starts off the track “MacFaden’s Virtues.” This is a combination of music that strikes like a Sarah McLachlan song –full of mystery. The following number, “ I Am,” is festive and fun, seeming to celebrate life amid the outrageousness of the world.
From the angle of piping, my favorite track is “The Man From Skye Set,” with the first two parts played by the famous pip major Donald MacLeod. Interesting to not that MacLeod was the instructor of pipe Major George Bell, who in turn instructed the pipers here, Jesse and Levon Ofgang.
Finishing off this disc is a Mark Saul track, “Hellbound Train,” which comes across like an anthem. I’ve left some songs out for no other reason than space, and also that I want to get to the particulars of this group. MacTalla Mor has been together as a band for three years, but in actuality longer than that as they have lived together under the same rood for years.
Jesse Ofgang and younger brother Levon Ofgang –great highland bagpipes; Ilana Ofgang –keyboard, piano, lead vocals; Patty Devlin Ofgang –Bodhran, Backing Vocals; Harry Ofgang –bagpipes manager, father, husband and webmaster (Harry was also a home brewer for some time). Erik Ofgang is responsible for the involved lyrics on the songs “Nina and “I Am,” as well as input on other songs. Erik is also a magician who can be seen treating the crowd to random tricks as well as sometimes providing a full opening act.
On Piping Hot, the band has brought in the talents of Peter Orlanski –bass; Nadav Snir Zelniker –drums; and Patty Wrobel –backing vocals.
Other musicians have been incorporated into the band, and during any given performance, you never know who might grace the sound. Whatever combination they might arrange –whether it’s just vocals, Bodhran, and pipes, or the full spectrum of instruments –it’s obvious, these folks know what they’re doing. As the saying goes, “The pipes are calling. Resistance is futile.”
Ale Street News
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