Tag Archives: Scotland

Artist Profiles: Tannahill Weavers

The Tannahill Weavers

The Tannahill Weavers are one of Scotland’s leading traditional bands. Their diverse repertoire spans the centuries with fire-driven instrumentals, topical songs, and original ballads and lullabies. Their music demonstrates to old and young alike the rich and varied musical heritage of the Celtic people. These versatile musicians have received worldwide accolades consistently over the years for their exuberant performances and outstanding recording efforts.

Born of a session in Paisley, Scotland and named for the town’s historic weaving industry and local poet laureate Robert Tannahill, the group has made an international name for its special brand of Scottish music, blending the beauty of traditional melodies with the power of modern rhythms. The Tannahill Weavers began to attract attention when founding members Roy Gullane and Phil Smillie added the full-sized highland bagpipes to the on-stage presentations, the first professional Scottish folk group to successfully do so. The combination of the powerful pipe solos, Roy’s driving guitar backing and lead vocals, and Phil’s ethereal flute playing breathed new life into Scotland’s vast repertoire of traditional melodies and songs.

Three years and a dozen countries later, the Tannahills were a Celtic music sensation in Europe, having won the Scotstar Award for Folk Record of the Year with their third album, The Tannahill Weavers.

Since their first visit to the United States in 1981, the Tannahills’ unique combination of traditional melodies on pipes, flute and fiddle, driving rhythms on guitar and bouzouki, and powerful three and four part vocal harmonies have taken the musical community by storm.

Over the years the Tannies have been trailblazers for Scottish music, and their tight harmonies and powerful, inventive arrangements have won them fans from beyond the folk and Celtic music scenes.

1994 saw the release to critical acclaim of Capernaum, which won the Indie Award in the USA for Celtic Album of the Year from the National Association of Independent Record Distributors and Manufacturers (NAIRD, now AFIM).

Tannies veterans Phil Smillie, Roy Gullane, John Martin and Les Wilson are versatile musicians who have received worldwide accolades over the years for their exuberant performances and outstanding recordings. From reflective ballads to foot stomping reels and jigs, the variety and range of the material they perform is matched only by their enthusiasm and lively Scottish spirit.

The lineup that appeared on 2006’s Live and In Session featured Roy Gullane on guitar, vocals; John Martin on fiddle, viola, mandola, mandolin, cello; Colin Melville on Highland bagpipes, Scottish small pipes, whistles, guitar; Phil Smillie on flute, whistles, bodhran, vocals; Les Wilson on bouzouki, keyboards, vocals. Guests included Douglas Millar on keyboards and Hugh (Shuggie) MacCallum on assorted percussion.

In 2011, Tannahill Weavers was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame, and in 2014 they were joined by innovative piper Lorne MacDougall.

Discography:

Are Ye Sleeping Maggie (Hedera Records HRCD11, 1976)

The Old Woman’s Dance (Hedera Records HRCD12, 1978)

The Tannahill Weavers (Hedera Records HRCD13, 1979)

Tannahill Weavers IV (Hedera Records HRCD14, 1981)

Passage (Green Linnet Records GLCD331, 1984)

Land of Light (Green Linnet GLCD167, 1985)

Dancing Feet (Green Linnet GLCD181, 1987)

The Best of the Tannahill Weavers (Green Linnet GLCD11, 1989)

Cullen Bay (Green Linnet GLCD118, 1990)

The Mermaid’s Song (Green Linnet GLCD1121, 1992)

Capernaum (Green Linnet GLCD1146, 1994)

Leaving St Kilda (Green Linnet, 1996)

The Tannahill Weavers Collection (Green Linnet GLCD1182, 1997)

Epona (Green Linnet GLCD1193, 1998)

Alchemy (Green Linnet GLCD121, 2000)

Arnish Light (Green Linnet GLCD 1226, 2003)

Live and In Session (Compass Records 445426, 2006)

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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

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Artist Profiles: Battlefield Band

Battlefield Band

Battlefield Band plays Scottish music of rare passion and joy. Inspired by their rich heritage of Celtic music and fired by the strength of today’s Scottish Cultural scene (which they themselves have done much to create and fuel), Battlefield Band mix the old songs with new self-penned material, and perform them on a unique fusion of ancient and modern instruments – bagpipe, fiddle, synthesizer, guitar, cittern, flute, bodhran and accordion.

This is the gold standard, the band against which all others are measured. After 3 years they still lead the way for Scottish music — introducing new musicians, new music; always involving their ever widening audience, as they travel the world.

In 22 the band welcomed back Pat Kilbride. A member of the band in the mid-seventies, and featured on the classic album At The Front, this was his second stint on the Battlefield. In the intervening years, this fine musician and singer has toured with Kips Bay and recorded a highly regarded solo CD.

Dookin’ was released in 27. Dookin’ is the Scottish word for what you do at Halloween – as in ‘dookin’ for apples. This is a reference to what Battlefield Band has been doing for all these years, Dookin’ into the great pool of Scottish and Irish music and song.

Battlefield Band founder Alan Reid describes the group’s 29th album Zama Zama… Try Your Luck: “This album started as a collection of songs and tunes about gold. But as we searched, like the alchemists of old, it turned into a wider idea. In the process we saw the greed, disasters and victories inherent in the search and exploitation of various sources of wealth in this world. Then, as if by demonic serendipity, along came the worldwide economic crisis. We watched the major banks, insurance companies and Hedge Funds etc., implode, discrediting the entire financial system and many of its managers and advisers – but there was still more to come. We, in Britain, could only stand and watch aghast as many Members of Parliament, and the House of Lords at Westminster, the Mother of Parliaments’ were exposed for their cynical misuse of the expenses system, often amounting to fraud. As we put this album together we have been amazed, angered, depressed and hilariously horrified.”

Line-up came out on the 18th August 2011. The musicians featured in the recording include a new member, fiddler and piper Ewen Henderson, from the Highlands of Scotland. The lineup at the time was Sean O’Donnell on Vocals, Guitar, Cittern; Ewen Henderson on Fiddle, Bagpipes, Vocals, Piano; Alasdair White on Fiddle, Whistle, Bouzouki, Bagpipes; Mike Katz – Bagpipes, Whistles, Bouzouki, Guitar, Bass, Vocals; and a special appearance on harmonica from Scottish bluesman Mike Whellans

Discography

Battlefield Band (1977)
At the Front (Temple Records, 1978)
Stand Easy (Temple Records, 1979)
Preview (Temple Records, 198)
Home is Where the Van Is (Temple Records, 198)
The Story So Far (Temple Records, 1982)
There’s a Buzz (Temple Records, 1982)
Anthem for the Common Man (Temple Records, 1984)
On the Rise (Temple Records, 1986)
Music in Trust Vol 1 (Temple Records, 1986)
After Hours: Forward to Scotland’s Past (1987)
Celtic Hotel (Temple Records, 1987)
Music in Trust Vol 2 (1988)
Home Ground – Live From Scotland (1989)
New Spring (Temple Records, 1991)
Quiet Days (Temple Records, 1992)
Opening Moves (Topic Records, 1993)
Farewell to Nova Scotia (Escalibur, 1996)
Threads (Temple Records, 1995)
Across the Borders (Temple Records, 1997)
Live Celtic Folk Music (Munich, 1998)
Rain, Hail or Shine (Temple Records, 1998)
Leaving Friday Harbor (Temple Records, 1999)
Happy Daze (Temple Records, 2001)
Time and Tide (Temple Records, 22)
Best of Battlefield 1976 – 2003 (Temple Records, 2003)
Out for the Night (Temple Records, 2004)
The Road of Tears (Temple Records, 2006)
Dookin’ (Temple Records, 2007)
Zama Zama… Try Your Luck (Temple Records, 2009)
Line-up (Temple Records COMD214, 211)
Room Enough For All (Temple Records, 2013)
Beg & Borrow (Temple Records, 2015)

Videos

Battlefield Band – Live in Concert at the Brunton Theatre (Temple Records, 2008

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Artist Profiles: Bachue

Bachue

Although well established as a duo Bachue, has expanded to include the fantastic percussion talents of Edinburgh-based drummer Donald Hay. The unique combination of electroharp, piano, voice and percussion has dazzled and mesmerized audiences wherever they play.

Corrina Hewat and David Milligan first performed as Bachue back in 1996, originally appearing with percussionist Davy Cattenach (then with The Old Blind Dogs) and fiddler Kenny Fraser. The band has performed and recorded with various line-ups since then, but for the most part it’s Corrina and David’s duo format that has earned their enviable reputation as one of the Celtic music scene’s most innovative groups.

For the new album, The Butterfly, Bachue joined forces with jazz trumpeter Colin Steele, whose warm, lyrical sound complements the band’s unique sound perfectly.

Discography:

The Butterfly
A Certain Smile
Bachué Café

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Artist Profiles: Paul Anderson

Paul Anderson

Paul Anderson an acclaimed virtuoso in the time honored tradition of Scottish fiddle music. Paul Anderson has won most of the fiddle championships in Scotland. His crowning glory was the Glenfiddich Scottish Fiddle Championship at Blair Castle in 1993.

Paul Anderson, from the heart of rural Aberdeenshire, is one of Scotland’s most respected traditional musicians. His album Land of the Standing Stones is really a love letter to Paul’s native Aberdeenshire as all but a couple of the 51 tunes on the album are inspired by the people, landscape and history of the North-East of Scotland.

The music on the album has all been composed by Paul himself and at 70 minutes in length, it’s a considerable achievement. The music, though rooted in the traditional Scots fiddle idiom, is also contemporary in style. He has been ably supported in this by a superb group of musicians, which includes Shona Donaldson (Scots singer of the year 2009), Swedish cittern master Ale Carr, Ali Napier (Dougie MacLean band) and Scottish acting star Kevin McKidd on guitar and vocals.

Discography:

Land of the Standing Stones

website: www.paulandersonscottishfiddler.com

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Artist Profiles: Aidan O’Rourke

Aidan O’Rourke - Photo by Peter McNally
Aidan O’Rourke – Photo by Peter McNally

Aidan O’Rourke is a fiddle player and composer from Oban on the West Coast of Scotland. He has toured extensively in Europe and North America from the age of 15 and has made his name as one of Scotland’s most expressive and dynamic musicians.

At 19, Aidan formed Tabache with Claire Mann and went on to record the internationally acclaimed album Waves of Rush. Aidan now performs with the hugely successful Blazin’ Fiddles (Live Act of the Year 2004) and is a much sought after session musician, having performed on over dozens of albums ranging from Runrig to Michael McGoldrick and Karen Matheson.

Commissions have included a piece titled Mantra Alba which welcomed the Dalai Lama to Scotland.

Sirius is his first solo album which evolved from a commission by Celtic Connections in 2003.

Discography:

Are You Willing?, with Tabache (1996)
Waves of Rush, with Tabache (1999)
Live in Scotland, with The Unusual Suspects (2005)
Sirius (2006)
Lightweights and Gentlemen, with Lau (2007)
Live, with Lau (2008)
Arc Light, with Lau (2009)
An Tobar (Navigator Records, 2011)
Big Like This, with The Unusual Suspects (2011)
Race the Loser, with Lau (2012)
Hotline (2013)
The Bell That Never Rang, with Lau (2015)
Sleeper, with Kan (2015)

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Greentrax Recordings Celebrates Anniversary with Ceilidh

Dick Gaughan, "Lucky For Some
Dick Gaughan, “Lucky For Some

Scotland, UK – Greentrax Recordings is celebrating its 20th with the publication of a full color catalog; the release of a 3 CD Compilation (Scotland – the Music and the Song), tracing the company’s releases over twenty years; and culminating with a Ceilidh to be held in the Queen’s Hall Edinburgh on Saturday 22nd of July 2006 with The Occasionals Ceilidh Band and songs and music from other Greentrax artists. 2006 also marks the ‘Golden Wedding Anniversary’ of Greentrax directors June and lan Green.

There have been many highlights over the past twenty years, including the signing of such international artists as Jean Redpath, MBE; Catherine Ann McPhee; Mairi Maclnnes; Natalie MacMaster, of Cape Breton; Isia St Clair; Eric Bogle; Archie Fisher; Dick Gaughan; The McCalmans and Shooglenifty.

In addition, Greentrax worked closely with S.T.V. (‘Aly
Bain and Friends’ Series in 1989); the films ‘The Tree of Liberty’, featuring Serge Hovey and Jean Redpath and ‘Mairi Mhor’, featuring Catherine-Ann MacPhee; the Edinburgh International Festival (who featured traditional music and song over several years); The Traditional Music And Song Association of Scotland (‘The Nineties Collection’); and other notable projects.

Many fine albums resulted from these associations. S.T.V. featured Ian and the Company’s achievements in their ‘Artery Series’1998. In 1997 Greentrax was presented with the East Lothian Business Association ‘Business Achievement Award’ for good business practices and export achievements. There have also been various album and performance awards made to Greentrax artists and in 2005 Ian was himself the recipient of ‘The Hamish Henderson Award For Services to Traditional Music’ at the Scots Trad Awards, which included being added to the Scots Trad Awards ‘Hall of Fame’.

Greentrax Recordings is regarded by many as Scotland’s leading traditional music record company and, after twenty years, continues to lead the way with their wide-ranging releases, from the very traditional song and music from the archives of the School of Scottish Studies to the most contemporary of the ‘fusion’ bands such as Shooglenifty and Salsa Celtica and everything in between.

The Greentrax catalog contains an amazing mixture of Scottish (and other) traditional music, in its widest context, including music played on such unusual instruments as the Jaw Harp and the Lute, plus an album of traditional tunes played on the wonderful Bosendorfer piano.

In 2001 the entire Culburnie Records catalog was licensed by Greentrax Recordings Ltd. for the World, excluding North America and Spain. Ace fiddler Alasdair Fraser continues to manage these territories from his base in the U.S.A.

2005 was a notable year with the release of a 5 CD Box Set of Eric Bogle’s songs; the signing of four-times World Pipe Band Champions – The Simon Fraser University Pipe Band from Canada -and in 2006 Greentrax got off to a big start with the signing of ex-Run Rig star Donnie Munro -another great coupe for the East Lothian based label.

Other releases to celebrate the 20th Anniversary include a new studio album from Dick Gaughan, “Lucky For Some“; “On Home Ground – Volume 2” by the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band and a debut album from the BBC Radio 2 “Young Musicians of the Year” winners, Bodega.

The Greentrax ‘team’ consist of June Green (Director); Marina Wilson (Accounts, Royalties & Office Manager); Cath Mack (Promotions); Pat Dark (Warehouseman and Packer). Ian Green, the founder of the Company is Managing Director.

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