Artist Profiles: Catherine-Ann MacPhee

Catherine Ann McPhee
Catherine Ann McPhee is one of the great Gaelic voices. She was born in the Island of Barra (Scotland) and worked as an actor and singer proud of her heritage for many years. Her big break came in the 198s when she was asked to record an album. She now has three albums in her repertoire and her voice has become one of the most after in the Gaelic language world. She has recorded with Hector Zazou and has recently sung alongside Bjork, Siouxie and the Banshees and Suzanne Vega.

Catherine-Ann MacPhee was brought up on the Island of Barra. The Barra of her childhood was predominantly a singing island, especially Eoligarry, the small village where her home was. It was also home to many of the Island\’s singers, not least her grandmother and various other members of her family who encouraged the natural talent that they all saw in her at a very young age. At the age of seventeen, she was invited to join the first Gaelic Touring Repertory Theatre Company Fir Chlis. She toured with them for three and a half years throughout Scotland and England.

After Fir Chlis’ premature demise, Cathy Ann joined John McGrath’s 7:84 Theatre Co. and continued to tour as an actress and singer for some years. During this time she released her first recording, Canan Nan Gaidheal, followed in 1991 by Chi Mi’n Geamhradh, then the Sings Mairi Mhor album in 1994 and Suil Air Ais, ten years later. She is now in demand performing and teaching at many feisean, from Barra to Seattle.

After living in South Uist (Outer Hebrides) for some years Cathy Ann moved to Ottawa, Canada.

Discography:

Canan Nan Gaidheal [The Language of the Gael] (Greentrax, 1987)

Chi Mi’n Geamhradh [I See Winter] (Greentrax, 1991)

Sings Mairi Mhor (Greentrax, 1994)

Òrain nan Gàidheal (1997)

Suil Air Ais [Looking Back] (Greentrax CDTRAX25, 2004)

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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