Scottish musician Donnie Munro has released An Turas, an album recorded live at Celtic Connections 2008. An Turas – The Journey, is a theme that Donnie Munro, former singer and front-man with Scottish rock band , Runrig and now successful solo artist and writer, had been exploring for some time. The sense of people and of place, of the permanence of the landscape, set against the changes in the lives of the people, the language and the culture, the history, the transience of movement, migration and displacement, the ties of family, the strength of culture, the iconic symbol of sea and of great journeys, all powerful informing themes that are encapsulated in this compelling live performance.
In many ways the song Heart of America (the title track of his award winning album of the same name, Heart of America: Across the Great Divide, which won "CD of the Year" at the Scots Trad Music Awards in 2006) was the catalyst for the idea of the show, as it mirrored many songs and ideas that had impressed themselves upon him over the years. The song itself emerged from a journey in 2004, across the northern states of the US, a country which, perhaps more than any other in modern times reveals the watermarks of wave after wave of emigration to its shores.
Of particular influence was a visit by the singer to Ellis Island, New York, that most poignant of places where the imprint of the millions of emigrant peoples still hangs icily in the austere brick-lined corridors of this "monument" to displacement and hope. Amidst the atmosphere of that place, with its fading signatures and scrawled messages of hope and hopelessness, of triumph and tragedy, Munro found the personal embarkation point for the journey in songs and ideas that became An Turas.
Munro has always believed in the concept of seeing the particular within the context of the universal, where all human endeavors are united through adversity, common purpose and the need to change. An Turas is a celebration of that courage and tenacity shared by successive generations from all world communities who found themselves displaced by events usually out-with their control. The concept is particularly apposite as it heralds the arrival of "2009Scottish Year of Homecoming", which welcomes the return of the Scottish Diaspora and recognizes and celebrates the enormous contribution that they have made to world-wide developments.
For the telling of this powerful narrative, Munro brought together some of the greatest talents in the contemporary Scottish music scene and has created a moving musical landscape with powerful string arrangements from Foss Paterson, and with Allan Henderson’s fiddle, Sandy Brechin’s accordion and Choir all adding additional musical color, emotion and texture to the power of Munro’s fine band.
Munro said from his Skye home, "This is a project I have long wanted toundertake and I am delighted to have been able to pull together so many great players for this special performance."
An Turas – The Journey opened and was recorded live at Celtic Connections in The Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow in January 2008 and has since played to sell-out audiences in Edinburgh, Fife and Inverness. images, Mercator and Sidereal, are part of a series of recent paintings by the internationally renowned Scottish artist, Will Maclean RSA.
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