Artist Profiles: Capercaillie

Capercaillie – Photo by Lieve Boussauw

Capercaillie is the band that created a stir like no other Scottish band since Silly Wizard. Capercaillie plays groundbreaking contemporary Celtic music featuring the ethereal, yet powerful Gaelic vocals by Karen Matheson, intricate rhythms, and a combination of traditional Scottish and electric instruments.

The original founders of the band, vocalist Karen Matheson, accordionist Donald Shaw and multi-instrumentalist Marc Duff, met at school in Oban, their hometown in northwestern Scotland. Matheson’s voice was described by acclaimed actor Sean Connery as having “a throat that is surely touched by God”.

Capercaillie sold over a million albums worldwide. These include three silver and one gold album in the UK, and the first Gaelic Top 40 single. Capercaillie also wrote the music for the 1995 Hollywood movie “Rob Roy.” Karen Matheson appeared in the movie, singing the song “Ailein duinn”.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Capercaillie, Survival Records released the double CD anthology “Grace and Pride – The anthology 2004 – 1984” on September 13, 2004. The album collected 38 tracks from each of the band’s 15 albums, including previously unreleased and rare tracks.

In 2013, the band released an album titled At the Heart of It All. The Capercaillie lineup at that time included Karen Matheson (vocals), Donald Shaw (keyboards), Charlie McKerron (fiddle), Manus Lunny (guitar), Ewen Vernal (bass), and Michael McGoldrick (flute/pipes), all of whom are some of the finest musicians in the Celtic music scene. The list of guests on At the Heart of It All includes: vocalists Julie Fowlis, Kathleen MacInnes, Darren MacLean, Sineag MacIntyre and Kris Drever (Lau). The instrumentalists include Irish banjo virtuoso Gerry O’Connor, masterful uilleann piper Jarlath Henderson, fiddler Aidan O’Rourke (also from Lau), percussionist James Mackintosh, and jazz saxophonist Tommy Smith.

Discography:

Cascade (1984)

Crosswinds (Green Linnet, 1987)

Sidewaulk (Green Linnet, 1989)

Delirium (BMG UK in Europe, Green Linnet in USA, 1991)

Get Out (BMG UK in Europe, Green Linnet in USA, 1992)

Secret People (Survival Records/BMG SURCD 17/Green Linnet in USA, 1993)

Capercaillie (Survival Records SURCD 18, 1994)

To the Moon (Survival Records SURCD 19, 1995)

Beautiful Wasteland (Survival Records SURCD 21, 1997)

Dusk till Dawn, the Best of Capercaillie (Survival Records SURCD 23, 1998)

Nadurra (Survival Records SURCD 25, 2000)

The Blood Is Strong (Valley Entertainment, 2000)

Capercaillie Live in Concert (Survival Records SURCD 27, 2002)

Choice Language (Sanctuary Records, 2003)

Grace & Pride: Anthology 2004 – 1984 (Survival Records, 2004/Valley Entertainment, 2005)

Roses and Tears (Compass Records/Vertical Records, 2008)

At the Heart of It All (Compass Records/Vertical Records VERTCD1, 2013)

www.capercaillie.co.uk

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

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