Just about the only thing of Linda Marie Smith‘s Mearra~Selkie from the Sea that doesn’t look and sound 100% Celtic is the artist’s name. Smith’s album is a song cycle depicting the Celtic myth of the selkie: a seal that can shed its skin and become a human (a woman, as you may be able to guess).
The album isn’t an overdose of Celtic stereotypes (this isn’t a Riverdance equivalent); instead, it’s a set of gentle, lush tunes with the lilt and air of Ireland about them. Smith’s refined alto voice fits perfectly, leading the tunes with a earthy, storyteller’s vibe. The album largely sticks to a sound somewhere between piano-driven singer/songwriter, mystic new age a la Enya, and dramatic arrangements that wouldn’t be out of place in a musical, although there are occasional indie-pop moments (“Heaven Knows”). (This actually is a musical of sorts: there’s a visual accompaniment that was recently shown on PBS.) If you’re into dignified, refined Celtic vibes amid your quiet, Mearra~Selkie from the Sea should be on your list.