Tag Archives: Scotland

Artist Profiles: Malinky

Malinky – Photo by Thomas Gavin

Malinky were Danny Kyle Open Stage winners at Celtic Connections in 1999. Their song-centered repertoire combines a deep appreciation of tradition with a vibrant freshness of approach taking in both classic ballads and outstanding original songwriting alongside sparkling instrumental sets.

Malinky’s current line-up features founding members Steve Byrne (vocals/bouzouki/guitar) Mark Dunlop (whistles/bodhran/vocals) Jon Bews (fiddle/vocals) and new members since 25 — Fiona Hunter (vocals/cello) Ewan MacPherson (mandolin/guitar/octave mandolin/tenor banjo/jaw harp/vocals).

A year on from winning the Danny Award Malinky released their debut CD Last Leaves to widespread acclaim. The album spent six months in the US Celtic Radio Chart Top 1. This success paved the way for a steadily accelerating tour schedule that has since taken Malinky throughout the UK and Europe with headline gigs including the Tonder, Lorient, Cambridge and Sidmouth folk festivals as well as several return visits to Celtic Connections and the prestigious Scottish Folk Festival tour of Germany where the band now tour annually in their own right.

Malinky – Photo by Aidan Ritchie

Their 2002 album 3 Ravens earned the Scots/Irish five-piece rave reviews all-round. Malinky headed into the studio in summer 25 to record their third album once again on leading Scottish independent label Greentrax Recordings; Unseen Hours was released on 1st November 2005 and asserted their continuing position as Scotland’s leading young folk group.

Discography:

Last Leaves (Greentrax, 2000)
3 Ravens (GreenTrax, 2002)
The Unseen Hours (Mad River Records, 2005)
Flower & Iron (Mad River Records, 2008)
Far Better Days (2015)

Share

Artist Profiles: Maggie MacInnes

Maggie MacInnes

Maggie MacInnes sings and plays the clarsach. She was born in Glasgow and now lives in Ayrshire. She comes from a long line of Gaelic singers from the small island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland and learns most of her songs from her mother the highly acclaimed traditional singer Flora MacNeil, M.B.E.

Maggie has been involved in various groups over the years such as Ossian Fuaim and Eclipse First and has traveled widely with her music touring in many parts of Europe U.S.A. and Canada. She also appears frequently on Radio and Television and has made various recordings over the years.

Autumn 1998 saw the release of Maggie’s first solo CD Eilean Mara on Dunkeld Records which was co-produced by Dougie MacLean and received great critical acclaim. In 2001 Maggie released her second solo CD which is called Spiorad Beatha – The Spirit of Life and features some of Scotland’s finest musicians such as Charlie McKerron (of Capercaillie) Brian McAlpine (formerly of Iron Horse) Sean O’Rourke (formerly of JSD Band) Marie Fielding Paul Jennings and Keith Easdale along with her mother Flora on backing vocals.

Maggie followed up the release of the record by performing at various festivals at home in Ireland and in Italy as well as being invited to Russia for the 1st International Festival of Celtic Music and Dance of Moscow where she was accompanied by the flute and saxophone player Sean O’Rourke and the percussion player Frank MacGuire.

In 2002 Maggie performed at the Celtic Connections Festival and The Edinburgh International Harp Festival and she was one of those chosen to take part in a two week tour of Scotland with Scottish Women which involved Scots and Gaelic singers coming together to showcase some of the finest songs from the two traditions with a backing band of some of the finest Scottish musicians under the musical direction of Brian McNeill Head of Scottish Music in the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

Maggie also produced and directed a new show/concert called Burns and the Gaels which looked at the links between the works of Robert Burns and Gaelic music and poetry. This event combined music poetry and song and featured Maggie along with Sheena Wellington Rod Paterson Ishbel MacAskill and Finlay MacDonald amongst others. Burns and the Gaels and Scottish Women were both performed at Celtic Connections Festival in January 2003.

Maggie was chosen by the voting public as Best Gaelic Singer of the Year at the 2004 Scots Trad Music Awards.

Discography

Cairistìona (1984)
Eilean Mara – Island in the Sea (1998)
Spiorad Beatha – The Spirit of Life (2001)
Peaceful Ground – Talamh Sìtheil (2004)
Òran Na Mnà – A Woman’s Song (2006)
Leaving Mingulay – A Fàgail Mhiughalaigh (2009)
The Seedboat – Bàta an t-Sìl (2010)

www.maggiemacinnes.com

Share

Artist Profiles: Lauren MacColl

Lauren MacColl

Brought up in the Black Isle and now based in Glasgow, Lauren MacColl is the holder of the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award 2004.

Immersed in the rich culture of the Highlands, Lauren learned fiddle through the Feisean movement of Gaelic arts in Ross-Shire and it was at the Feis annual summer-schools that she was taught by the some of the Highland’s leading musicians: Iain MacFarlane, Allan Henderson and Alpha Munro. Her repertoire reflects her northern background and is greatly influenced by visiting tutor Aonghas Grant of Lochaber.

In the past few years her playing has taken her to Montana (USA), Italy France, Norway, Galway, Co. Mayo and across Britain and has given her various radio and television opportunities including Radio Scotland’s Travelling Folk Radio nan Gaidheal MNE’s Beolach on BBC 2 Alba and as part of Donald Shaw’s Harvest commission on 24s BBC Hogmanay Live Show.

Her win of the Radio 2 award will this year see her play Cambridge Festival and Towersay Festival and record a session for the Mike Harding Show. Currently playing solo in duos and with the Tom Orr Dance Band Lauren combines her studies and performance with a passion for teaching as a resident tutor for Glasgow Fiddle Workshop RSAMD Youthworks.

Discography:

When Leaves Fall (Make Believe Records 2007)
Strewn With Ribbons (Make Believe Records 2009)
Wooden Flute & Fiddle, with Calum Stewart (Make Believe Records 2012)

Share

Artist Profiles: Lau

Lau

Lau is a trio made up of fiddler Aidan O’Rourke, accordion-player Martin Green and Kris Drever who plays guitar and sings in the group. Aidan Martin and Kris have considerable experience and finesse that gives them license to play with a rare freedom. Despite the traditional music definition, their combined efforts make something new: great musicians doing something more than just showing their skills.

Lau pull together their influences which span most of the UK from the west coast of Scotland up and across to Orkney and down to the east of England. The combination is a modern sound with all the depths of these traditions backing it up.

Their debut album Lightweights and Gentlemen came out in early 2007.

Discography:

Lightweights and Gentlemen (2007)
Live (2008)
Arc Light (2009)
Race the Loser (2012)
The Bell That Never Rang (2015)

Share

Artist Profiles: Kris Drever

Kris Drever is an Orcadian whose multi-instrumentalism ranges from singing to playing guitar banjo and double bass. His talents have been in great demand since moving to Edinburgh in 1995.

Kris has worked on a wide array of different projects quickly moving from traditional pub sessions to the gigging circuit to playing large tours of the United States and Chile with dance show Celtic Fusion.

After leaving Celtic Fusion Kris began working with Fine Friday and also worked as a session musician for a variety of artists including the Battlefield Band, John McCusker, Cathie Ryan, Harem Scarem, Clare McLaughlin and his father folk singer Ivan. Since then Kris has toured much of Europe Canada and Australia with Fine Friday and many other outfits. He has also toured Canada with trumpeter and fiddlerDaniel Lapp and England Ireland and Wales with folk superstar Kate Rusby. Kris also performs with Eamonn Coyne and plays in the John McCusker band and Session A9.

Kris’ debut solo album Black Water (Reveal Records) was released in Oct 26 to critical acclaim and was produced by and features John McCusker with friends Kate Rusby Donald Shaw Andy Seward Andy Cutting Roddy Woomble and Eddi Reader.

Discography:

Black Water (2006)
Lightweights and Gentlemen, with Lau (2007)
Honk Toot Suite, with Eamonn Coyne (2007)
Live, with Lau (2008)
Before the Ruin, with Roddy Woomble and John McCusker (2008)
Arc Light, with Lau (2009)
Storymap, with Eamonn Coyne (2013)
Mark the Hard Earth (2010)

Share

Artist Profiles: Kathleen Maclnnes

Kathleen Maclnnes

Kathleen Maclnnes was born and brought up on South Uist Western Isles, in a Gaelic speaking home and has enjoyed an interesting career in television as an actress presenter and singer. Kathleen’s various projects on television include being presenter of ‘Tacsi’ a Scottish Bafta award-winning television show of Gaelic and Celtic arts and culture; a part in the Gaelic ‘soap ‘Machair’; parts on BBC TV’s comedy shows such as ‘Ran Dan’ and ‘PC Alasdair Stewart’; the film ‘Interrogation of a Highland Lassie’ in which she performed two songs; children’s TV programs plus regular voice-overs for BBC cartoons and the series ‘Animations From Around The World’ for Mor Media.

Her stage work includes a part in ‘The Well’ from the producers of ‘Riverdance’ a theatre production for Dublin Theatre plus a handful of plays for Tosg and performances at various music festivals. More recently Kathleen has been a regular guest on music program such as MacTV’s ‘Bard nan Orain’ BBC’s award-winning series ‘Aig Cridhe ar Ciuil’ and Mike Alexander’s ‘Columba Sessions’ where she sang alongside leading Scottish and Irish singers and musicians. Kathleen also took part in the concert ‘Flower of The West’ a tribute to Runrig brothers Calum and Ruaraidh MacDonald and enjoyed last summer’s performance with Bias as the support singer to Van Morrison.

Og-mhadainn Shamhraidh (Summer Dawn) is Kathleen Maclnnes’s debut album on Greentrax Recordings. Kathleen recorded Og-mhadainn Shamhraidh early in 26 in Park Lane Studios Glasgow. The album was produced by lain MacDonald who also played whistles and pipes. lain called in several fine musicians and singers including Ross Martin (guitar) John McCusker (fiddles) Marc Duff (bouzouki) Donald Shaw (accordion & piano) James MacKintosh (percussion) Neil Johnstone (cello) and Cathy-Ann MacPhee (backing vocals) who did some session work.

Discography:

Òg-Mhadainn Shamhraidh – Summer Dawn (2006)
Cille Bhrìde – Kilbride (2012)

Share

Artist Profiles: Karine Polwart

Karine Polwart

Karine Polwart was born on December 23, 1970 in Banknock, Stirlingshire, Scotland. Currently leading her own band and formerly lead singer with Scots-Irish quintet Malinky and a one-time member of Battlefield Band and duo MacAlias Karine, Polwart was on her road to great success when she was voted Best Scots Singer at the 2003 Scots Trad Music Awards.
Blending passionate stridency with plaintive sensitivity she has a maturity and breadth of outlook and experience that distinguishes her as one of the most powerful and inventive narrative interpreters of her generation.

Karine Polwart is widely regarded as one of the finest young Scottish traditional singers of her generation. She also has a growing reputation as a gifted songwriter in both traditional and contemporary style and her writing encompasses both historical narratives and current political issues. At the 2005 Folk on 2 Awards Karine won Best Album for Faultlines, Best Original Song for ‘The Sun’s Comin’ Over the Hill’ from Faultlines, and the Horizon Award.

Karine Polwart

With the release of Faultlines her first solo album a broad contemporary audience can appreciate Karine’s individual and absorbing vocals insightful lyrics and memorable melodies. As a pre-cursor to her Scribbled in Chalk CD Karine released a 5-track EP titled The Pulling Through EP in 2005.

Discography:

Last Leaves, with Malinky (2000)
Happy Daze, with Battlefield Band (2001)
3 Ravens, with Malinky (2002)
Faultlines (2003)
Scribbled in Chalk (2006)
Fairest Floo’er (2007)
This Earthly Spell (2008)
Traces (2012)
Evergreen, with Lau (2012)

Share

Artist Profiles: Johnny Cunningham

Johnny Cunningham

Johnny Cunningham was born in Portobello, Scotland on August 27 1957. He played fiddle since the age of seven and was known for his lightning-fast reels and hauntingly beautiful Scottish airs. He also delighted audiences worldwide with his wry humor and stories.

Johnny Cunningham was a founding member of Silly Wizard, the group that spearheaded the Scottish side of the Celtic revival in the 1970s and 1980s. He toured with his brother Phil Cunningham both as a duo and with the Celtic supergroup Relativity that also featured Micheal O’Domhnaill and Triona Ni Dhomhnaill of The Bothy Band.

Johnny not only enjoyed a successful career as a solo performer but was also greatly in demand as an award-winning record producer. Among other ventures he toured with blues-guitarist Bonnie Raitt, contemporary singer-songwriter and author Bill Morrissey and crossed over into the world of rock, appearing with Hall & Oates. His own alternative band Raindogs made two successful CDs for Atlantic/Atco Records Lost Souls (1990) and Border Drive-In Theatre (1991) and toured with artists such as Bob Dylan, Don Henley and Warren Zevon.

After completing a four-year stint with the successful Celtic music act Nightnoise, Johnny worked with acclaimed New York-based theater company Mabou Mines on their production “Peter and Wendy.”

Johnny composed the music and lyrics for this new version of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, which enjoyed several sold out runs including the Spoleto Arts Festival in Charleston S.C. in June 1996; The Public Theater New York City in September of 1996; and The New Victory Theater on 42nd Street New York City in February 1997. The response of audience and critics alike has been overwhelmingly positive. Thesoundtrack album from the innovative production Peter and Wendy, winner of two OBIE awards was released in a special hardcover package by world music label Alula Records.

Johnny also recorded and produced “La Musgaña Live” on tour in the band’s native Spain for Ediciones Resistencia. In addition he collaborated with Thomas Moore, best selling author of “Care Of The Soul”. The result is a double CD set “The Soul Of Christmas” which through the heart of Celtic culture and Thomas Moore’s readings explores ways to spiritually re-interpret traditional Christmas music and thought.

In his final years Johnny Cunningham toured as part of the Celtic Fiddle Festival and with Irish singer Susan McKeown. He died on the evening of December 15th, 2003.

Discography:

Silly Wizard with Silly Wizard (1976)
Caledonia’s Hardy Sons with Silly Wizard (1978)
So Many Partings with Silly Wizard (1979)
Against the Storm with Phil Cunningham (Shanachie 198)
Thoughts From Another World (Shanachie 1981)
Fair Warning (Green Linnet 1983)
Live In America, with Silly Wizard (1985)
Golden Golden, with Silly Wizard (1985)
A Glint Of Silver, with Silly Wizard (1986)
Relativity, with Relativity (1986)
Gathering Pace, with Relativity (1987)
Live Wizardry (1988)
Lost Souls, with The Raindogs (1990)
Border Drive-In Theatre, with The Raindogs (1991)
Shadow of Time, with Nightnoise (1993)
Celtic Fiddle Festival, with Celtic Fiddle Festival (1993)
To Warm the Winter’s Night, with Aine Minogue (1995)
White Horse Sessions, with Nightnoise (1997)
Peter and Wendy (Alula Records 1998)
Celtic Fiddle Festival: Encore, with Celtic Fiddle Festival (1998)
Rendezvous, with Celtic Fiddle Festival (2001)
A Winter Talisman, with Susan McKeown (Sheila-na-Gig Music/Caledonian Musicworks 2001)
Live on 11th Street, with Casey Neill Band (2003)
Sweet Liberty, with Susan McKeown (2004)

Share

Artist Profiles: John Munro

John Munro was born in Glasgow in 194. He moved to Adelaide, Australia in 1965. John Munro has made a name for himself as an inspiring and talented songwriter best exemplified by his two historical song cycles The Kelly Collection and The Eureka Suite, the latter recorded by Festival Records in 1999. Having toured most of the world with fellow Scotsman Eric Bogle from 1980 until the present day, John has become recognized as being one of the elite of the Broitish folk world. He is known as one of the best bluegrass mandolin players around performing with the legendary Country Express for many years as well as being a fine guitarist and singer.

John’s recording credits include 8 albums with Eric, four with Country Express nine with Colcannon, three with Gordon Mcintyre and Kate Delaney, two with Mike Quarmby and one with Margaret Christl (Canada), Mary-Jane Field (Sydney), Irene Petrie Denis, and Lynne Tracey as well as countless guest appearances. His experience extends to production as well as performing.

John has won two Celtic Music Club Awards for Guitar and one for Mandolin two Folk Federation awards and two SAMIA (South Australian Music Industry) awards with Colcannon – the latter being for Most Outstanding Contribution to Folk Music. He has also won the SCALA-run Songwriters Event (songwriter award) in 1990 and 1996.

Share

Artist Profiles: John Morran

John Morran is the lead singer and guitarist with Scots traditional band Deaf Shepherd. Increasingly recognized as one of Scotland’s most outstanding performers of traditional song he is frequently invited to lecture on the subject.

Adding his rich Lowland heritage to Deaf Shepherd’s musical mix, John is one of the band’s longest-standing members hailing originally from the Ayrshire ex-mining community of Muirkirk. With the nearest town in any direction being ten miles away the village remains a stronghold of the Lowland Scots language which inspires much of John’s singing whether in Burns ballads or contemporary compositions from the region.

Share