Thursday, 23 October 2008

How Does It Fille Does Paris

So much for the hoped-for resurrection; I've had a really stressful few months which meant it just wasn't possible to post anything. Now I'm living and working in Paris until April, and at the moment I only have net access at work, but I think I may be able to upload files- let's see. There's a lot of music I think I would like to post, so fingers crossed...

Saturday, 12 April 2008

As long as the waves strike a beach or shore

Capercaillie's much-delayed new album, Roses And Tears has finally been released; the original promo title, "Call It A Day" led to speculation that it would be their last, although there's been no official word either way.

The album's songs are mostly in Gaelic, with the exceptions of a Donald Shaw original and a beautiful version of John Martyn's "Don't You Go". My favourite has to be "Seinneam cliu nam fear ur (I sing the praises of the brave lads)"; I first heard a clip in August last year and have been desperate for a full HQ version ever since. Michael McGoldrick's piping on the song is just fantastic and very evocative, and Karen's vocals are just beautiful, even if (or perhaps even more so) if you have little or no Gaelic.

Elsewhere, "Him Bo (I Am In Distress)" is very groovy and singalongable; "a racan a bh'againne (The Drake We Used To Have)" is laidback but still danceable.

Roses and Tears is the first Capercaillie album which strongly reminds me of another; it's still very good, but has a similar laidback feeling to their last album "Choice Language", except RaT has less of a dark, melancholy feel. A progression, but a predictable one.

'Don't You Go' (mp3)
'Seinneam cliu nam fear ur' (mp3)
'Him Bo" (mp3)
'A Racan a bh'againne' (mp3)

Ton coca va être froid

After 3 years away, on Monday Camille released her new album Music Hole.
The follow-up to 2005's hugely successful Le Fil, it dispenses with the drone (or "thread") which ran through that album, but the use of body percussion and vocal loops remains. This album is also mostly in English, apart from some snippets in French. I've had the album for a few days and it's not really connected yet. At the moment some of it seems to be more style over emotional depth,perhaps due to the lyrics being in English. Hopefully it'll be a grower...saying that, "Gospel With No Lord" is undeniably a great catchy song; "Waves" is lovely, and the layered choirs of "The Monk" create something undeniably affecting from worldless vocals and piano.

'Gospel With No Lord' (mp3)
'The Monk' (mp3)
'Waves' (mp3)

official Camille Music Hole website (link)

GaelicFilles3: Kathleen MacInnes

I don't know much about Kathleen MacInnes, due to the lack of an official website. What I do know is she was born on South Uist, and she is an actress,singer and TV presenter on Gaelic TV. I discovered her through a mention in a Donald Shaw radio interview in August last year,where her song "Bha Mise Raoir Air An Airigh" (Last Night I Was On The Sheiling) was played. Her voice has a very distinctive,smoky quality which was a bit of a (nice) surprise. Eventually I tracked down her 2006 album, Og-Mhadainn Shamraidh (Summer Dawn), well woresth getting. '..Air An Airigh' still sounds as great as it sounded the first time I heard it, and the album has the best version of 'A Mhic Iain 'ic Sheumais' I've heard yet.

'Bha Mise Raoir Air An Airigh' (mp3)
'Dh'eirich Mi Moch Madainn Cheitein' ( mp3)
'Ceud Failt' Air Gach Gleann' (mp3)
'A Mhic Iain 'ic Sheumais' (mp3)

Kathleen MacInnes Myspace (link)

Friday, 11 April 2008

GaelicFilles 2 (finally): Julie Fowlis

The National Mod theme is a bit out of date but I should probably finish it since I Julie Fowlis.

Julie has released two solo albums: Mar a tha mo chridhe (As My Heart Is) in 2005, and 2007's Cuilidh, and is a vocalist with the band Dóchas. As well as being known for her voice, she also plays the pipes, whistles and the oboe, and has won several awards including Best Gaelic Singer at the Scots Trad Music Awards, and the Best Folk Singer at the 2008 Radio 2 Awards.

The albums are a mixture of Gaelic song and instrumentals, with the emphasis on songs. Personally I found Cuilidh a very immediate listen, more so than Julie's debut; however, Mar a tha mo chridhe is a definite grower. I especially love "Ged a Sheol Mi Air M'aineol (Although I sailed to foreign countries)"- you will end up singing along to it, and the bodhran in it is fantastic.

It's hard to pick a favourite track from Cuilidh. "Mo Gruagach Dhonn (My Brown-haired Girl)" has some lovely mandolin from Chris Thile; It's the track that first made me go "wow" about Julie. " 'Ille Dhuinn, 'S Toigh Leam Thu (Brown Haired Lad, I'm Fond Of You)" is a beautiful, understated love song. The album's puirt-a-beul set will get anybody dancing.

I was lucky enough to go to Julie's gig at Celtic Connections in Glasgow in February; if you get the chance to see her, jump at it.

'Ged a Sheol Mi Air M'aineol' (mp3)
'Mo Gruagach Dhonn' (mp3)
' 'Ille Dhuinn, 'S Toigh Leam Thu' (mp3)
'Puirt-a-beul set' (mp3)
extra: Dóchas, 'A Mhairi Bhoideach' (from An Darna Umhail) (mp3)

official Julie Fowlis website (link)
official Dóchas website (link)

Doin' a Lazarus, hopefully

OK, I didn't mean to let this slide for months on end. A combination of a stupid reconditioned PC and now a stupid reconditioned laptop with a shit LAN card conspired against it. Hopefully it'll be up and running again once I get antivirus sorted out and sort through the piles of random CDs. Fingers crossed...

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