Marcas Mac Releases Début Single, As Part Of National Theatre Of Scotland 1980s Commission
Marcas Mac is set to blast onto the commerical scene as a solo artist, bringing the Gaelic language to the pop music landscape whilst challenging listeners to consider just what Gaelic music is, or could be, in the first place.
TSpeactram' is the powerful and innovative debut album from Edinburgh based writer, singer/songwriter Marcas Mac an Tuairneir.
Marcus, an acclaimed writer and Gaelic language exponent won the award for the best new Gaelic song at the Royal National Mòd in 2018 and the Virtual Mòd in 2020.
"The album aims to bring back the Gaelic popular music tradition of the 1980s, that saw its advent with the likes of the 101 Band and Na Soluis Dhuibh. Both outfits mapped the Gaelic language onto musical sounds being heard on mainstream radio at the time.
Marcas has successfully managed to reintroduce this concept in Speactram by encapsulating the mood of upbeat contemporary sounds into Gaelic songs and introducing the genre of GaelPop - a pioneering new genre which sees Gaelic going pop." The Sound Cafe.
The creative ethos of the album making process has been exploration and experimentation, building on relationships where Marcas is comfortable articulating the gay and genderqueer aspects of his identity creatively. He has worked with some of the most celebrated Gaelic musicians on the scene today including Mary Ann Kennedy, who has also been the Executive Producer for the album, singers Rachel Walker and Gille MacKenzie and musician Pàdruig Morrison.
Marcas also worked with singer-songwriter Adam Holmes and producer and instrumentalist Gary Keane. Nick Turner, of Watercolour music, has co-written a number of the tunes with Marcas alongside producing, mixing and mastering the album.
“If one song ever summed up the fate of Gaelic within the education system it is, without doubt, Runrig’s ‘Fichead Bliadhna’, says Marcas, referencing the 1979 hit from their Highland Connection album. “Fichead ’s a h-Ochd picks up that narrative, but instead of recounting the experience of a curriculum devoid of Gaelic, here we find outselves a few years down the line as dawn breaks on the newly-established Gaelic-medium education in Glasgow and Inverness.” So, the song fills a void in the folkore, with many young Gaelic singers now having benefitted from the opportunities those campaigners sought to endow them with. As the key-change shifts, the young man at the centre of the song’s story looks back on his first day at school, now aged twenty-eight, considering how far Scotland has come in terms of Gaelic and LGBTQ equality.
The song is housed on a brand-new digital platform, which includes testimony, literary references and film and television clips of the era, alongside brand new poetic works by Marcas, some of which he has brought to life through film. “Some of the filmpoems evoke the 1980s and use found footage to illustrate them,” he explains. “Others are more reflective of these contributions to Scottish public life in recognising their legacy, that which we benefit from in contemporary Scotland.”
“The COR project is of a very high calibre,” says Graeme Hawley of the NLS, who selected Marcas for the commission. “I love the look and feel – Marcas has absolutely nailed the aesthetics. I think it will be of huge interest to Gaelic speakers.”
The song will receive its first play on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal’s Feasgar on its 28th October commerical release date and will be released to radio after that initial spin. The date linking to the title is auspicious, without doubt, with Marcas, like his father, born on the 28th of his birth-month and brought up in a house with that number.
- Location: Gaeltacht
- Website: http://www.watercolourmusic.co.uk