Live Ireland Review

Good heavens, Ailie Robertson of Scotland can play the harp! So, there are lots and lots of harp players, right? Correct. But, now, Ailie Roberts becomes the third in a full trio of the best of the best in the music. There are the unparalleled Michelle Mulcahy and Maire ni Cathasaig—and now comes Ailie with her debut album, First Things First. How many musicians do you know who have graduated with a Master’s from the Limerick University Irish music program? Well, there ARE several, aren’t there? But, how many also have an undergrad degree in Genetics from Oxford? I suspect we have just narrowed the field noticeably. In short, Ailie has chosen to follow her heart and hands into the music, and all of that is on display with this album. Don’t make the mistake of thinking all harpists sound the same. Wrong. Wrong. She is a superior musician, understands the tradition, has her own style and is at home in trad as in the jazz idiom. The amount of major awards she has won for her harp playing would fill this column. The awards don’t tell the story. Her music does, and the album is on Lorimer Records. Google them, or Ailie. Get this album. We are playing it constantly on the public radio show. This is wonderful. A major, new star.