Sileas was formed over a dozen years ago when Patsy Seddon and Mary Macmaster decided to pool their considerable talents as singers and harp players. "Play on Light" is their fifth release as the duo Sileas, but only the first since 1991, so it has been eagerly awaited. One reason for the lack of Sileas albums in this decade is that Seddon and Macmaster are currently half of The Poozies, as well as having been members of Clan Alba.
These 13 tracks continue to mine Sileas's trademarked celestial harmonies and dancing harps right from the opening track, "Buain A'Choirce." Part of the beauty of their music is the mixing of steel string (Macmaster) and gut string(Seddon) harps. Macmaster and Seddon use both their harps and their voices to fullest advantage, from the ornamentation on pipe tunes such as "Cameron MacFadyen" to a cappella numbers like the waulking song "Laill Leathag" and the brief-but-chilling keening song "Pi Li Li Liu." The mixture includes traditional tunes, a variant on a Child ballad, recently-written pipe tunes, and original pieces devoted to lively nieces and people who still use real cups and saucers. There is also the curious (at first) addition of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" -- but it works quite nicely in the end, as it segues into a Macmaster original. Play on Light may be a touch more mellow than some of their earlier work, but it is still the classic Sileas sound. - Ivan Emke