Album Review: Black is the Colour by Sally Doherty and the Sumacs

Album Name: Black is the Colour
Artist: Sally Doherty and the Sumacs
Year/Label: 2002 / Tiger Records

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Review by Anna Maria Stjärnell

You wont hear folk music any more sparse than Sally Doherty and the Sumacs new cd. She and her band have scaled the songs down to their very bones.

The title track has been sung by many singers, but few have made the song more moving than Doherty. Her voice is lovely here, the backing shivery and minimal.

“Los Biblicos” has a guitar framing Doherty’s plaintive singing.

“Selkie of Sule Skerry” is a great rensition of the song. Doherty gets to the core of the tale and the band play in a very inspired fashion.

“Black is the Colour” is an accomplished collection of folk music that can compare with the best of the genre.

Posted on June 23, 2002

2008 Update: Anna Maria reviewed this upon its release in 2002, but this year it’s been reissued. While I hadn’t heard this record before I did review another one of hers, Edge of Spring: A Collection of Songs 1995-2005.

Looking back I am reminded that I was in awe of her vocal talent and loved that the music was so orchestral. Same goes here. It’s really very pretty. It’s unique and interesting both in musicianship and songwriting.

I really like I Held My Love the backing vocal ‘ahhh’s are lovely. Not completely sung in English and me being one of those Americans that doesn’t speak anything else but English, (I’m trying…French here I come!) I don’t understand some of the songs, but they’re gorgeous all the same.

Posted on April 15, 2008

Track Listing
1. Black is the colour
2. Los bibilicos
3. I held my love
4. Praities
5. Selkie of Sule Skerry
6. My Lagan love
7. La Ilorona
8. Neither fire bright nor candle light
9. L’on dit q’amors est dolce chose
10. Bonny boy
11. Requiem waltz
12. Low Lowlands of Holland


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