Hebrides lewis island revival

Named after a Glasgow neighborhood, they're known as a Scottish band, but often have English, Irish or American members. They're also usually a quartet, but recently found themselves reduced to a trio: American-born bagpiper Mike Katz who also plays bouzouki and whistleIrish singer-guitarist Sean O'Donnell, and Hebridean fiddler Alasdair White who also plays tenor banjo and whistle.

This makes them as much Irish and American as Scottish, essentially a pan-Celtic trio. This approach kills three birds with one stone: it emphasizes their Scottish, Irish, and diasporic roots; ensures that on most tracks they're at least a quartet; and introduces a lot of pleasing variety to the music.

Through eighteen innovative and exhilarating tracks, the Battlefield members are at once incisive leaders and sensitive accompanists, always adding just what's needed for each song and tune. The set incorporates unusual versions of old favorites like "An Gille Mear" which is normally an Irish Gaelic song but is here translated into Scottish Gaelic by Christine Primrose, and sung by her with Nuala Kennedy and "The Drunken Piper" which sounds even more drunken with Mike Whellans's bluesy harmonica.

It contains original material I wasn't familiar with, like "Chief Inspector Rod Parker" a rousing Highland pipe strathspey by their Australian guest, Barry Gray and "Ellen's Dreams" a beautiful harp air composed by Robin Morton and played by his wife Alison Kinnaird, a frequent Battlefield collaborator.

Other driving tunes include such sterling guests as John Martin fiddleLeo McCann melodeonand Jim Kilpatrick snare and bass drums. In fact, it's a great success in every category, showing that the Battlefield Band is as relevant as ever after all these years. As donner du volume a ses cheveux yverdon horaire occasional visitor to the Isle of Man and advocate for Manx music, I'm always happy when something from the island makes a splash in the Celtic world, and this has happened recently with Manannan's Cloakthe second CD from the youthful trio Barrule.

For those not familiar with the island, it's between Britain and Ireland, and has historically been a melting pot of Irish, British, and Norse cultures. The island's Norse heritage includes the Tynwald, one of the world's oldest parliaments by their claim, the oldest one in continuous existencewhile the dominance of Scottish kings caused the island's Gaelic language to develop closer to the Scottish than the Irish variety.

Since the s The Isle of Man or Ellan Vannin, as it is known in Manx has been increasingly proud of its Manx culture, leading to a revival of the Manx Gaelic language and of Manx music. Groups like Barrule are a result of this cultural awareness, and you can tell from all the references to Manx mythology: the Manannan of the title is the Celtic sea-god after whom some say the island is named; his cloak was made of sea mist, and was one of the original "invisibility cloaks" of legend, capable of concealing the island from invaders; and his home was reputed to be the ancient Celtic ring-fort that crowns South Barrule, the hill the band is named for.

But despite the ancient imagery, the band has a modern sound informed by the best of Irish, Scottish, and Breton music.

Hebrides lewis island revival

Photo by Simon Lees. Used by permission of Barrule. In between you'll find beautifully crafted arrangements of airs such as "Graih Foalsey" and "Kinnoull," and characteristically Manx dances like "Illiam Y Thalhear," all given thoughtful, contemporary settings. There are some fine songs in Manx, including a nineteenth-century ballad about a vindictive lady and a Manx-language version of the old European ballad known in English as "The Outlandish Knight.

No Manx album is complete without a reference to herring, and "The King of the Sea," the one song in English, takes care of that requirement too. For a recording that shines with the brisk and bright spirit of Manx music, seek out Barrule! And check out their cute video below!

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