CD Review: Penguin Eggs

Manannan’s Cloak (Wardfell)

Barrule, a Manx Celtic trio from the Isle of Man, have released their second album, Manannan’s Cloak, an album of traditional Manx jigs and reels and old and new tunes, with some vocals in the Manx language.

Manannan, “badd-ass Celtic sea god and protector of the Isle of Man,” is said to draw his cloak around him to hide the Isle of Man from intruders. If the intruders make it to shore, he turns into a wheel of fire to frighten them off.

Hence the first instrumental set on the album is called Wheel of Fire, which is followed by nine additional tracks that will have you foot tapping and humming along the entire way through this fine, well-played album. The CD features liner notes for the Manx lyrics and English translations so you can follow the stories being sung. One song, Fir-Hammag Yioogh, is translated as High Net Worth Individuals but the connotation is clearly Greedy Rich Bastards, foreigners who come to the Island and do what high net worth individuals usually do. Barrule consists of Tomas Callister (fiddle, tenor banjo), Jamie Smith (accordion, vocals), and Adam Rhodes (bouzouki, mandolin, shaker, and vocals). A better Celtic album you’d be hard to find.

– By Gene Wilburn