Ingrid Henderson’s album Message in a Bottle (Brath Sa Bhuideal) is a calm, meditative piece of work. The album is inspired by the panoramic vistas of Scotland’s rugged coastline, prompted by a commission from NatureScot for an audiovisual project to celebrate the year of coast and waters.
This mainly instrumental album demonstrates strong traditional roots, with Ingrid’s delicate harp work prominent throughout, accompanied variously by uileann pipes (particularly in the beautiful Message in a Bottle suite), piano and fiddle, with jigs and reels interspersed between songs. Message in a Bottle is accompanied by an animated video, capturing the journey of a message in a bottle, as it bobs about on the sea. The gentle wash of the sea welcomes the listener in the first track, The Surge of the Sea. Likewise, birdsong bubbles up to the surface in the tune The Sarcastic Duck.
However, the tunes generally evoke the stillness of the sea, with storms few and far between. The Meeting Grounds for example is a playful tune, driven by interplay between piano and fiddle. The ocean, although wild, is depicted as a force of nature, and as bountiful, rather than as destructive. This album does not include any songs of loves lost to the sea, preferring to focus on evoking landscapes.
Songs are mostly in Scottish Gaelic, with the exception of The Living Water, a sorrowful meditation of on the life and work of those in coastal towns, and how the sea endures, a constant, against the backdrop of changes that humanity has wrought. The message in this work is clearly to enjoy the scenery while the opportunity exists.Cathal Butler
Released on CD on Old Laundry Productions September 17 2021. Mixed and mastered by Iain McFarlane and Barry Reid.
1. An Ataireachd Àrd - The Surge of the Sea
2. Brath sa Bhuideal - Message in a Bottle Suite
3. The Meeting Grounds
4. The Living Water - An Cuan Beò
5. Port na Culaidh & Port an Luig Mhòir
6. Òran na Maighdinn Mhara - Song of the Mermaid
7. An Seòladair aig Rubha Dà Chuain - The Sailor at the Point of Two Oceans
8. The Sarcastic Duck
9. The Dance of the Storm Petrels & Swallows of the Sea
10. Òran Brath ’sa Bhuideal - Message in a Bottle Song