Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 39

Listen to the Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 39

Foot Stompin Free Scottish Music Podcast No 39

Foot Stompin' Free Scottish Music Podcast No 39

It’s been a busy few weeks. The major thing that has happened is THE SUN IS SHINING! When the sun shines I notice the number of work emails slow down as people head outside! In fact I’ve just been sitting in a deckchair and felt guilty about not getting on with my work…

2009 seems to be year of babies for folk musicians and congratulations go to piper Finlay MacDonald and his wife Jo on the birth of their first son Elliot.

Finlay works at The National Piping Centre and yesterday I attended their 10th annniversary lunch which Prince Charles was attending. The music provided was top notch. There were performances from Gillian Chalmers, Tia Files, Marrisa Vachon, Norrie MacIver (4th year RSAMD Scottish Music course), TNT, 1st year RSAMD Scottish Music course, 3 very young pipers, The current highland dancing world champion accompanied by Chris Armstrong who also performed an amazing solo. The last act finished off with all the tutors playing ‘dueling bagpipes’ which was great fun. The finale was all the pipers who played during the show plus board members and Phil Cunningham. It was a real tribute to the work of the National Piping Centre. The Prince wasn’t in for long but heard quite a few of the performances. I would have liked to have heard him say a few words on the merits of the Piping Centre to the many budding donars who were present.

Podcast playlist:

The Missing Gift by Anna Massie Band

Track – The Badger

The Anna Massie Band have announced their ‘dissolution’ and are currently on their farewell tour. This band have been very popular for the last few years. Anna is in high demand as a session musician and has just joined Blazin’ Fiddles.

Strewn with Ribbons by Lauren MacColl

Track – The Profit

This Lauren’s 2nd CD and is much of the music is collected from book The Highland Collections. I used this book alot when putting together – with Dave Milligan – our Third Flight Home CD. Lauren’s playing is really beautiful and the backing thoughtful.

Farrar by Duncan Chisholm

Track – Nuair Bhios Mi Leam Fhin

This CD won Album of the Year at the 2008 Scots Trad Music Awards. Duncan has a beautiful tone to his playing and really carries this opening track off when others would think twice about starting with a slow air. Congratulations also to Duncan and Jo who also had a baby boy at the end of April

The Gathering Storms by Archie McAllister and Ross Kennedy

Track – The Milltimber Jig / Priscillas / Donald MacLean

Archie is probably one of Scotland’s most gifted fiddlers with a real dazzling technique. You can watch him in action on the Foot Stompin’ YouTube channel (you’ll also catch Lauren MacColl here as well)

The Strathspey King by James Scott Skinner

Track – Allegory: The Miller O’ Hirn/Mackenzie Frazer/The Auld Wheel

James Scott Skinner is the man! We are so lucky in Scotland to have so many great composers. I love Scott Skinner’s tunes and play them regularly.

Laughing Girl by Jenna Reid

Track – The Laughing Girl

This is a great track and a brilliant opening to a record.

Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 33

Dual - Julie Fowlis and Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh

Dual - Julie Fowlis and Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh

Listen to the Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 33

A quick blog today! I’m just checking out Spotify – very interesting. For me the best thing about this new piece of software is that you can post playlists to the web and using this I hope to get some Scottish music out there to Spotify community. The ads are a bit of a pain though (they appear inbetween tracks) and I’m sure they’re not contextulised ie folk ads for folk music. I’ll keep you all updated.

Have you all seen our Foot Stompin’ Scottish Music Facebook page? I’ve been trying to get more into Facebook but it very slow! I keep it updated as much as possible and have just uploaded our new Lori Watson and Rule of Three ringtone. You can download the free ringtone here.

Here is the playlist from our latest podcast.

Dual by Julie Fowlis and Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh
Track – Da Bhfaigheann Mo Rogha De Thriur Acu/Dhannsamaid Le Ailean/Cairistion’ Nigh’n Eoghainn
Julie’s doing great at the moment and is fast becoming the face of Scottish music. She is multi-talented and alongside her musicianship she fits in well to TV and radio roles as well.

Pleasure’s Coin by Lori Watson & Rule of Three (ringtone)
Track – Nell
I really like this CD. I’ve been spending more time listening lately and trying not to judge music on first listen (because it fits into my time better). There are lots of great tracks on this including the secret track which is a reworking of another track on the album.

Oran Ur do Mhuile by Compilation
Track – Gheibhinn Cadal Math – Angus MacKechnie/Allan MacDonald
On the podcast I usually have great problems reading some of the Gaelic titles. When recording the voice over for this track I bottled out of saying the title before we played it but gave it a shot post track. I should buy the Foot Stompin’ Gaelic dictionary!

Legend of The Scots Fiddle by Hector MacAndrew
Track – Eugene Stratton
Very nice playing here from one of the heroes of the Scottish music scene. It’s amazing to think that this was recorded 60 years ago and had been living unheard in the Aberdeen archives.

Keepin’ it Reel by Koda
Track – The Bee in the Knickers
This young band have been going for quite a while and Award winning musicians like Emily Smith and Give Way have all come up through it. It is all down to their leader Keith Dickson who like many musicians on the Scottish scene have given so much of their time (for not very much money) to making these things happen.

Craigie Dhu by Dougie Maclean
Track – Gin I were a Barons Heir
I first heard this track sung by Hamish Napier in Back of the Moon. The tune to this is beautiful. Dougie has been a real saleman for Scottish music with his constant touring. I wonder how many people Dougie has played to over the years?

Arnish Light by Tannahill Weavers
Track – Arnish Light Set
Another amazing band. There are so many great stories about these guys from their touring! There should be a book!

Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 30

Listen to the Foot Stompin\' Free Scottish Music Podcast No 30

Salsa Celtica - El Camino

Salsa Celtica - El Camino

In preparing this podcast I had two things in my mind – Celtic Connections and Robert Burns 250th birthday. I started of by choosing Salsa Celtica who play the Old Fruitmarket on the 24th January. I’ve always loved the bands fusion of latin and celtic. Their stage show really works and their energy filters through to the audience. They’re accompanied on the night by the Long Notes, a band featuring Glasgow’s Jamie Smith who was a finalist in the 2002 final of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award. The 2009 event is in the City Halls at 5pm on Sunday 1st February. If you can’t make it along it is also going out live on BBC Radio Scotland.

Next up is Rod Paterson. I’ve loved Rod’s singing since hearing him first in the Easy Club. As an aside I first heard the Easy Club on Radio Scotland’s Travelling Folk in the eighties. I remember sitting listening to the radio ‘taping’ the tracks I liked and the Easy Club came on with the title track of their first album. I was bowled over by their swing, arrangements and tunes and from that minute I was set apon the musical path I still foraging today. Amazing. Anyway I love Rod’s singing – he has such a rich smooth voice and his treatment of Burns is tops.

The next track is neither Robert Burns or Celtic Connections but a track I was set on programming in our last podcast. It features Shetland fiddler Debbie Scott and legend Peerie Willie Johnston and The Selkie’s Song is a re-release from 1985. It is amazing to hear Willie playing with his much vaunted style. It’s a swinging track and it’s great to hear both musicians in tandem with each other.

Our next Burns track is from Sheena Wellington. This is Sheena’s version of Ae Fond Kiss from her Hamely Fare album. This was the CD that was released with Sheena’s version of A Man’s A Man (For A’ That) that she sang at the opening ofthe Scottish Parliament in 1999.

The next track is from Luke Plumb and James Mackintosh’s new CD A Splendid Notion. I was listening to some of the new releases the other day and this one jumped out at me. I really like ‘raw’ albums where musicians do what they do without much else and this is one of them. The whole album is simply mandolin and percussion. I think this is a risk worth taking for musicians as it really bares the soul with no room to hide. Well done to Luke and James.

Our final track is from the Battlefield Band’s Home is Where the Van Is. This is one of the most exciting concerts for me at Celtic Connections. It is part of the festivals ‘Classic Album’ series and they bring together the original band lineup to perform. This was the first piece of music I ever bought myself. I got the cassette from the old Rae Macintosh music shop in Edinburgh. We had Silly Wizard and Jimmy Shand in the house but this was the first endeavour with my pocket money. I didn’t really like it a first. It was very different to the Silly Wizard LPs in the house. I grew to love it though and still listen to it frequently.

Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No. 25 Scottish Fiddle feature

Foot Stompin Scottish Music - Filska

Foot Stompin' Scottish Music - Filska

Listen to the Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast

The first 2 weeks of October have just rushed by! It’s been a busy time with the semi-finals of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician. We had a great time a an excellent concert. Our curry party afterwards was good as well. The six finalists are:

Adam Holmes – guitar, song (Edinburgh)
Lorne MacDougall – pipes, whistle (Carradale, Argyll)
Ruairidh Macmillan – fiddle (Nairn)
Kenneth Nicolson – Gaelic song (Lochs, Isle of Lewis)
Jack Smedley – fiddle (Buckie, Banffshire)
Daniel Thorpe – fiddle (Inverurie)

These guys (and yes they are all male!) will go through to the finals on the 1st February at the prestigeous Celtic Connections festival. They will play a very different music stage to the one they played in Coulter. It is much larger and will sound completely different to play. Also the fact of it being a final will make them have to think about it differently.

I was also in Cardiff last week in an exciting development for our Distil project. Dave Francis and I have been funded to develop our Distil project for Welsh traditional musicians. Our first residential event happens in Snowdonia in February. I’ll keep the blog addressed with developments.

I’ve also managed to update our Foot Stompin’ YouTube page with three new videos. I bought a Flip video camera after a great discussion on the Foot Stompin’ forum. I’m using to film as many Scottish musicians as I can get to. I started off with a new film of myself playing The Bee’s Wing Hornpipe. I felt like going a bit mad at the end and tried to emulate this in the video editing. Some like it – some screw there face up! I’ve also filmed some brilliant fiddling from Glasgow’s Katie Boyle and great pianoing from Shetland’s Harris Playfair.

Back to the podcast. I wanted to do a fiddle feature for this edition as I just love the instrument. I started off with Jenna Reid’s band Filska. Their A Thousand Miles Away CD came out a few years back on Foot Stompin’ This track show off the amazing Shetland technique.

I followed this with a track of Shona Mooney’s brilliant album Heartsease. This is easily for me the most original fiddle album to come out in years. Her material selection is great and features many reels and slower pieces from the Scottish Borders. The thing that made this album stand out is the thought that goes into the arrangements and Shona’s skill to try out new ideas.

No fiddle podcast would be complete without the music of Perthshire’s Neil Gow. Neil Gow is one of the classic tune writers of all time. He lived in the 18th century and published many tune books. The track is played by Pete Clark, a beautiful fiddler whose has concentrated on this particular style of playing.

We next interview Jenny Wrigley. I’ve known Jennifer (and her sister Hazel) for years as we used to play together in Edinburgh. Jennifer is an amazing player with great tone and technique. She is also an excellent tune writer and has added many new tunes to her Orkney tradition. In the interview she explains the Orkney style. I follow this with a track from her last album Skyran.

I finish the podcast with a track from Allan Henderson. Estb. 1976 CD came out a few years back and I’ve always loved it. I really like Allan’s highland style solo and with Blazin’ Fiddles. I remember travelling to Canada with Allan and his younger sister Ingrid Henderson. Ingrid had just won the Radio 2 Young Trad Award in 1990 and part of her prize was to go to Vancouver Folk Festival. They were great players even then but most of all I remember the whole family (including Mum and Dad) all dressed in blue shell suits for the trip. Oh memories…

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