Tag Archives: Scottish music

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.


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)


Beautifully Crafted Songs of Separation

Various Artists – Songs of Separation

Various Artists – Songs of Separation (Navigator Records, 2016)

Songs of Separation is a fascinating project featuring 10 of the leading female folk musicians from Scotland and England. In September of 2014, Scottish residents were given the option of regaining independence from the UK. Although the no vote won, 44.7% of Scots voted in favor of independence. Set in this post-referendum context, these talented artists have recorded a set of original and traditional songs that revolve around the subject of separation.

Songs of Separation was recorded in the fabulous setting of the Isle of Eigg (in the Scottish Inner Hebrides). The process of cultivating the music was revealed to audiences each day, through a series of videos. The songs highlight the connections and differentiation in the musical traditions, language and cultural heritage of England and Scotland.

The impressive “dream team” of musicians includes Eliza Carthy and Karine Polwart, two of the UK’s most celebrated vocalists; Mary Macmaster and Kate Young, two groundbreaking Scottish singers and instrumentalists; Hannah James, Hazel Askew and Rowan Rheingans, from the award winning English ensemble Lady Maisery; Jenn Butterworth and Jenny Hill, gifted musicians who have worked in both English and Scottish traditional music; and Hannah Read, a New York-based musician who spent much of her infancy on the Isle of Eigg.

Highlights include the memorable opening track “Echo Mocks the Corncrake”, “Poor Man’s Lamentation” , “’S muladach mi ‘s mi air m’aineoil (Sad Am I and in a Strange Place)”, “Sea King”, and the delightful Celtic beat of “Over the Border: The Withering / Flowers of the Forest / Blue Bonnets Over the Border / Hope Lies Over the Border.”

The lineup on the album includes Hazel Askew on lead and backing vocals, flute, harp, melodeon; Jenn Butterworth on vocals, guitar; Eliza Carthy on lead vocals and backing vocals, fiddle, Indian harmonium, percussion; Hannah James on lead and backing vocals, percussion, piano accordion; Jenny Hill, double bass, backing vocals; Mary Macmaster lead and backing vocals, clarsach (Celtic harp), wire harp; Karine Polwart on lead and backing vocals, Indian harmonium, percussion, tenor guitar; Hannah Read on lead and backing vocals, fiddle, guitar; Rowan Rheingans on lead and backing vocals, banjo, fiddle, percussion, viola; Kate Young on lead and backing vocals, fiddle.

Songs of Separation showcases a wonderful set of exceptionally expressive vocals from Scotland and England enhanced by beautifully crafted arrangements.

Buy Songs of Separation in North America and rest of the world

Buy Songs of Separation in Europe


Breabach Releases Astar

Scottish contemporary folk music band Breabach has a new album titled Astar (Breabach Records, 2016). After five years traveling the world, Breabach presents a recording inspired by the people and places they have encountered and collaborations they have been involved in.

Astar is a multiethnic celebration, embracing the music of four nations in partnership with their own. The band invited friends from Norway, Quebec, Australia and New Zealand to be part of this recording, all of which has been brought to life under the guidance and production of Greg Lawson.

The guests include Aboriginal artist Yirrmal Marika (Australia), Maori tradition keeper Scott Morrison (New Zealand), Hardanger fiddle master Olav Luksengård Mjelva (Norway), Quebecois fiddler Olivier Demers (Quebec) and Le Vent Du Nord (Quebec) with guest vocals.

Buy Astar in North America

Buy Astar in Europe


Tribute to Aly Bain at Celtic Connections 2016

Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham
Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham

The Celtic Connections 2016 festival will present a tribute to Aly Bain at 70. Le Grand Anniversaire will see the legendary performer join once more with his long standing musical colleague Phil Cunningham to celebrate 30 years of performing together. The concert takes place at the City Halls on Wednesday, January 20.

Aly Bain’s recordings with Phil Cunningham include The Pearl (1995), The Ruby (1997), Another Gem (2000), Spring the Summer Long (2003), Best of Aly and Phil Volume One (2004), Roads Not Travelled (2006), Portrait (2010), Five and Twenty (2012), and Best of Aly and Phil Volume Two (2013).

Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham “Le Grand Anniversaire”
Wed 20 January, 20:00 (8:00 p.m.)
City Halls, Grand Hall


Scotland, The Music & The Song

Scotland - the Music and the Song
Scotland – the Music and the Song
Scotland, UK – Greentrax Recordings has released Scotland – the Music and the Song, a “20 Year Profile of Greentrax”. The 3 CD Digipak collection includes 59 tracks with nearly 4 hours of music.

Greentrax Recordings has become Scotland’s leading folk music label. It was launched in 1986 by retired police inspector lan Green and in 2006 the Company, which also includes the Culburnie label, celebrates its 20th Anniversary.

The tracks for this 3 CD compilation have been carefully selected by Ian from over 300 albums, showcasing the remarkable Greentrax Recordings catalog of Scottish traditional music. “Only the very best tracks have been selected and they represent a musical journey spanning two decades.”

CD No. 1 – “The Music and The Song Part 1” represents music and song from more or less the first 10 years, including tracks by Ceolbeg, Heather Heywood, lan Hardie, The McCalmans, Aly Bain & Friends, Rod Paterson, Catherine-Ann MacPhee, Hamish Moore, Robin Laing, Jeannie Robertson, Rob MacKiIlop, Eric Bogle, Gaelic Women and more.

CD No. 2 – ” 20 Years At The Cutting Edge” features bands and artists who have been at the very cutting edge of contemporary Scottish music over the 20 years feature on this 20 track CD. Such ground breakers as Shooglenifty, Tony McManus, Chris Stout, Skyedance, The Easy Club, The ScottishPower Pipe Band; The Peatbog Faeries, Brian McNeill, Keltik Elektrik, Mark Saul, Fiddlers’ Bid, MacUmba, Salsa Celtica and more.

CD No. 3 – “The Music and The Song Part 2” covers the second decade of the music and song of Greentrax, and showcase such artists as Dick Gaughan, Jock Tamson’s Bairns, Isia St Clair, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas, Deaf Shepherd, Jean Redpath, The Gordon Gunn Band, Mairi Maclnnes, Willie Hunter, Jim Reid, GiveWay, Shoormal, Archie Fisher, Malinky , Gordon Duncan, Shcena Wellington and

Buy Scotland – the Music and the Song