Julie Fowlis’ voice has a rare quality that sparkles live and on her CDs, and here we have the best of both worlds, in a recording of a concert on the first night of Dougie Maclean’s Autumn music festival “Perthshire Amber”.
All but one of the songs are completely in Gaelic but this does not prevent the non-Gaelic speaker from appreciating the beauty of the songs. Indeed, the language seems to give the songs a mysterious, other-worldly quality.
The only tracks with English titles are the tunes, although one is coupled with a “puirt-a-beul set” - in which the tunes are sung.
The opening song, a completely unaccompanied solo, is a striking way to begin, and sets the tone for the magic that is to follow. Many of the songs have intricate instrumental interludes and Julie’s singing moves seamlessly into these. Her whistle playing even seems to echo her singing style.
The songs are a mixture of traditional and original material and include a Breton song, and the Beatles’ “Blackbird” translated into Gaelic.
The final “bonus” track on the album is Pabay Mor, composed by Dougie Maclean, and he comes to the stage to perform it with Julie and her band. He sings in English, and she in Gaelic of course!
A truly joyous album.
Released on Machair Records, 5 Sep 2011
1. Hò Bha Mi, Hé Bha Mi (Hò I was, Hé I was)
2. M’ fhearann Saidhbhir (My Land is Rich)/Nellie Garvey’s/’G Ioman Nan Gamhan ’s Mi Muladach/Jerry’s Pipe Jig
3. Òganaich Uir A Rinn m’ Fhàgail
4. A Chatrion’ Òg (Young Catriona)
5. Tha Brògan ùr Agam A-Nochd (I have new shoes tonight)/The Cat And The Dog/Mo Chuachag ’s Laghach Thu (My beloved you are so nice)
6. Lon-dubh (Blackbird)
7. Turas San Lochmor (Journey in the Lochmor)
8. Biodh An Deoch Seo ’n Làimh Mo Rùin (This drink would be in the hand of my love)
9. Tunes set: The Thatcher/Peter Byrne’s/The Soup Dragon/Isaac’s Welcome To The World
10. Rugadh Mi ’Teis Meadhan Na Mara (Me z0 ganet é kreiz e mor/I was born in the midst of the sea)
11. Hùg Air a’ Bhonaid Mhòir (Celebrate the great bonnet)
12. Tunes And Puirt-A-Beul set: Thornton Jig/Chloe’s Passion/Are You Ready Yet?/’S Toig Leam Fhìn Buntàta ’s ìm/Tha Fionnlagh Ag Innearadh/Thug Oiridh Thiridh Thairidh
13. Pabay Mòr (feat’ Dougie MacLean)