Sunday 20th January: Gráinne Brady
Cavan-born, now Glasgow-based fiddler Gráinne Brady (The Routes Quartet, Top Floor Taivers, Las) launches her three-part project Beyond: The Story of An Irish Immigrant, about the history and legacy of mass Irish emigration to Scotland, with the première of her debut album The Road Across the Hills.
It soundtracks an autobiographical novel by Donegal author Patrick MacGill (1889-1963), who made this journey aged 14. Evoking the hardships of his life as a tattie-howker and navvy, and the community resilience that sustained him, it’s performed by a nine-piece ensemble, also featuring accordion, guitar, mandolin, percussion, viola and cello, interwoven with excerpts of MacGill’s poetry.
Sunday 27th January: Mischa Macpherson
New Voices 2019 presents a well-deserved second outing for Gaelic singer and harpist Mischa MacPherson’s beautiful composition Bho Èirigh gu Laighe na Grèine – Sun | Moon | Land | Life | Sea, originally commissioned for 2018’s Blas festival. Inspired by Hebridean people’s spiritual communion with their natural environment, before the arrival of organised religion, its original settings of ancient and modern Gaelic poetry, together with instrumental and spoken-word elements, also reveal subtle Nordic influences, reflecting Macpherson’s recent studies at Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy. Her accompanying ensemble features Kim Carnie (vocals), Innes White (guitar), Alistair Iain Paterson (piano/harmonium), Charlie Stewart (fiddle), James Lindsay (double bass) and Signy Jacobsdottir (percussion).
Sunday 3rd February: Megan Henderson
Fiddler and singer Megan Henderson is one of Scotland’s busiest musicians, both in Breabach and as a first-call contributor to others’ projects. Adding yet more strings to her bow, this new vocal and instrumental suite was inspired by the work of fellow Fort William native Christine Clark, whose dream-like, impressionistic paintings depict – in the artist’s own words - “imagined landscapes and narratives which transport us to unknown lands, conveying moments of solitude, love, hope, beauty and loss.” Henderson premières her musical responses with a line-up including Rura fiddler Jack Smedley, cellist Su-a Lee and hardanger fiddler Olav Luksengård Mjelva, of Nordic Fiddlers Bloc.
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