Watercolour Newsletter Autumn 2023
Jamie MacDougall in Concert – Tolmie at the National Mòd - Mary Ann at Na Trads ... and more!
Ardgour might be a bit damp after all that rain, but it’s still looking beautiful in the autumn sunshine as we pull together this month’s newsletter. There’s even a rumour that our much-missed car ferry MV Corran is on her way back from a year-long ‘holiday’ in Bute – we can’t wait. And as for what’s happening, here we go!
JAMIE MACDOUGALL SINGS HIS VOCAL HEROES - ARDGOUR PARISH CHURCH 21st OCTOBER 2023
We are delighted to welcome Scottish operatic tenor and the BBC Scotland ‘voice of classical music’ to perform a special night of song at the village’s iconic Thomas Telford kirk. Our charismatic friend Jamie and pianist Michael Barnett invites you to an evening of music and conversation in the atmospheric surroundings of Ardgour Parish Church to celebrate vocalists past and present who have inspired and influenced him during his singing career.
Glasgow-born Jamie is one of Scotland’s leading performers, appearing with English National Opera, Scottish Opera, Opera Holland Park and Opera North, as well as companies in Europe and Canada. We’ve enjoyed a long and happy friendship with Jamie, going back to music school and student days for Mary Ann!
The evening will feature everything from classical to swing, including arias and songs made famous by the likes of Nat King Cole, Matt Munro, Mario Lanza, Luciano Pavarotti and many, many more. Join Jamie MacDougall and pianist Michael Barnett for a night with the stars. The concert is one of a series of winter gigs promoted by Watercolour Music in Ardgour, and takes place for the first time in the parish church, by kind permission of Rev. Donald McCorkindale and the Kirk Session.
The concert series as a whole has been made possible with funding from Creative Scotland, Ardgour Glensanda Fund, William Syson Foundation and Ardgour Community Council. Book your tickets soonest from Ardgour Ales in the village or via our Eventbrite link
GUN SIREADH, GUN IARRAIDH – AWARD-WINNING FRANCES TOLMIE COLLECTION, ROYAL NATIONAL MÒD – TUESDAY 17th OCTOBER 2023
Congratulations to Mary Ann’s mother Kenna Campbell and assistant editor Ainsley Hamill for their success at this year’s Gaelic Literature Awards. ‘Gun Sireadh, Gun Iarraidh – The Tolmie Collection’ is the newly realised collection of Gaelic song by the seminal Skye song collector Frances Tolmie, published by Acair Books.
This labour of love was given the Donald Meek Award for Non-fiction Book of the Year, and a star-studded gathering of the cream of Gaelic singers will gather at the National Mòd to celebrate.
Reprising a sold-out concert at Celtic Connections, MD’d by Ainsley, The Tolmie Collection will take place in Paisley Town Hall on Tuesday 17th October at 8pm – featuring Mary Ann, Kenna and Seumas Campbell, Ainsley Hamill, Wilma Kennedy, James Graham, Rachel Walker, Mischa MacPherson, Ceitlin Lilidh, Màiri Callan and a formidable house band including Alasdair Iain Paterson, Megan Henderson, Ron Jappy, Louis Abbott and Conal McDonagh.
Tickets available online from Box Office
NA TRADS 2023 – NOMINATIONS SEASON AGAIN!
Mary Ann is over the moon to be back in Dundee in December as part of the Gaelic-Scots presenting tagteam that is herself and the delectable Alistair Heather for this year’s Scots Trad Music Awards. Nominations are open for the Awards and we would love it if you would consider nominating poet and singer Marcas Mac an Tuairner in the Trad Music in the Media category.
We worked with Marcas on his ground-breaking Gaelpop album ‘Speactram’ last year, and have been delighted to see his latest poetry collection, ‘Polaris’, being recognised this year. Marcas works tirelessly and passionately for Gaelic and Scottish culture, and writes a regular column on Gaelic arts and culture in ‘The List’, as well as a regular Gaelic-language column in ‘the National’. It would be lovely to see him recognised likewise for this role.
You can nominate here Remember, you can vote in as many or as few categories as you like, but do it now!
NOMINATIONS CLOSE AT MIDNIGHT ON SUNDAY 15th OCTOBER
Watercolour Newsletter Summer 2023
WATERCOLOUR MUSIC – NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2023
Well, we promised we wouldn’t bombard you with newsletters... it’s been a while! But we have been busy, honest. (Rather than bombard you with all of that, why not check out the Watercolour Music Projects page to catch up). And here’s why we’re getting in touch – some info about a couple of very special events close to our hearts. Enjoy!
DÀIMH at ARDGOUR VILLAGE HALL – 1st EUROPEAN FOLK DAY 23rd Sep 2023
The ‘Best Folk Band in Europe’ – Lochaber trad music heroes, Dàimh, celebrate the first-ever European Folk Day with a gig on home turf. Multi-award-winning west coasters Dàimh play Ardgour Memorial Hall on Saturday 23rd September as part of a Europe-wide celebration of folk and traditional music. Watercolour Music are behind the gig, which builds on the success of last year’s return to live music for the village hall through the Scottish Government’s Scotland on Tour project.
This year’s series will include concerts by our great friend (all the way back to school!), the celebrated tenor and BBC Scotland presenter Jamie MacDougall, and the pioneering female trad powerhouse, Heisk. We’re also holding our breath for something special in December – watch this space! Multi-award winners Dàimh, a true Gaelic supergroup and ‘un-challenged champions of straight-in-the-eye Highland music’ are based around West Lochaber and the Isle of Skye.
They were crowned ‘Best Folk Band in Europe’ at Germany’s Folkherbst festival last year, so it’s really exciting to be able to celebrate those European connections here in Lochaber. And we’re grateful to this year’s funders - Creative Scotland, the Glensanda Fund, the William Syson Foundation and Ardgour Community Council – without whom these beautiful gigs couldn’t happen.
Tickets are available from Ardgour Ales, or online and you can always drop us an email if you want more info.
GUN SIREADH, GUN IARRAIDH – THE FRANCES TOLMIE COLLECTION
Kilmuir, Skye - 7th Sep 2023
Earlier this year, the newly realised collection of Gaelic song by the seminal Skye song collector Frances Tolmie was published by Acair Books. The work of many years by Kenna Campbell (aka mam/ma-in-law!) with ex-student Ainsley Hamill, ‘Gun Sireadh, Gun Iarraidh’ (Without Seeking, Without Asking) is a fully updated edition of Tolmie’s original published collection in the Journal of the English Folksong Society.
The songs have been reunited with their missing texts, additional background included on the songs, and the whole layout revised to be an indispensible go-to for Gaelic singers, students and all lovers of Gaelic song. On 7th Sep, the collection comes home to Skye with an afternoon of talks and discussion, a community meal and evening cèilidh at Kilmuir Hall in the North End of Skye. Kenna will be joined in the afternoon by our cousin Dr Priscilla Scott, the pre-eminent authority on women in the Gaelic movement at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, amongst them Frances Tolmie.
And the cèilidh will also feature Kenna’s brother Seumas, Deirdre Graham, Kathleen MacDonald and Eilidh MacKenzie and family, as well as young musicians and singers from the local fèis and Mary Ann. Frances’s great friend and companion during her work, Mary Ross, hailed from nearby Kilmaluag, so it’s very appropriate that the event should take place in the North End.
More details can be found on Ionad Thròndarnais’s Facebook page and all are welcome. Proud daughter moment too as ‘Gun Sireadh, Gun Iarraidh’ has been shortlisted as Non-fiction Book of the Year in the Gaelic Literature Awards, which will be announced on the 14th September.
We’re delighted to see our friend Marcas Mac an Tuairneir also nominated in the awards for his poetry collection, ‘Polaris’, Gaelic and English poetry with translations from poets writing in other minoritised languags in Great Britain – Scots, Irish, Manx, Welsh, Cornish, Jerrais and Polari. Marcas’s album on Watercolour Music – ‘Speactram’ – tapped into the Gaelic pop music beginnings of the 1980s as well as the pop and dance sounds of Marcas’s own youth in the 80s and 90, to create the new genre of Gaelpop.
It’s been a while since we let you know about the goings-on at Watercolour Music, but we have been busy! We’ll keep this update short and sweet but we’d love to tell you about two projects very close to our hearts and which are about to come to fruition. Each was a project realised through lockdown and the slow emergence from it, and we are so grateful to everyone who made them possible.
JIM JUDGE - NEW ALBUM
Nick has had the great privilege of working with a powerful new songwriting voice in the shape of Jim Judge from Kinlochleven. We’ll have more on his album, ‘Learn to Forgive’, produced by Nick, in the next newsletter, but you can have a listen here and be moved and uplifted by turns.
CÒISIR SGÌRE LOCH ABAR – MARY ANN TAKES UP THE BATON AGAIN
After several years of being the freelance workshopping ‘bad auntie’ (taking the singing kids, winding them up and handing them back to their mammy and daddy conductors!), Mary Ann is returning to the fray to conduct the Lochaber District Gaelic Choir on a regular basis.
It’s one thing to work in the choral world in general but there’s something special about having your own team. The choir will be working on a monthly workshop basis to make life more fun and much more accessible, and gatherings will mostly be on the first Saturday of each month, with the first workshop on Saturday 2nd September at Duncansburgh Church Old Hall and everyone is welcome!
You can read more here and you can find out more about joining in by emailing Gaelic Tutor Carolyn Groat NEXT MONTH ... We’ll have news on an innovative video project Nick helped produce in Ardgour in response to the Corran Ferry crisis. And there’s some exciting Tirisdeach news on the horizon for Mary Ann.
Told you we’d been busy! Nick and Mary Ann @ Watercolour Music
Watercolour Newsletter Summer 2022.
WATERCOLOUR MUSIC’S 1st INDIE TV PRODUCTION – TRIALL, BBC ALBA Thursday 29th September & Sunday 2nd October and on BBC iPLAYER
In Summer 21, Mary Ann was commissioned by the St Andrews Voices festival to develop a project that would bring into focus the path of musicians, professional and community, back into the world of performance in the gradual easing of the lockdown.
Being on the west coast, and in the middle of the 1500th anniversary of St Columba’s birth, it seemed like a good, if bonkers, idea to make a our ‘boots, boats and bikes’ musical pilgrimage to the festival from Iona to St A’s, coast-to-coast. The immersive, gradual journey allowed Mary Ann to contemplate and work her way through the not inconsiderable psychological challenges of being out in the wider world again, having essentially been isolated in our Lochaber recording studio alone for the previous year and a half. It also gave her a chance to meet musical friends and connections, to interview them and to hear their testimony and their aspirations for the future.
The whole journey and the 23 interviews were archived on film for the University of St Andrews, and we shot masses of additional material bilingually with a tiny but responsive, on-the-hoof crew of Nick and our fellow Ardgour creative Reece Mackay - mostly for online but with half a notion to making a film. This we’ve now done thanks to the enthusiastic support of MG ALBA and the one-hour doc will air this Thursday and Sunday on BBC ALBA at 9pm. Triall will then be available online via the BBC iPlayer for 30 days.
As a business that had to diversify and be imaginative in a world where the work just disappeared on us, this first independent TV production showed us that we could adapt to be able to use our existing experience and skills in new and positive ways.
As well as the (glorious!) concert with the international Gaelic collective Aon Teanga (One Tongue) the journey featured many well-kent musical names including fiddler Patsy Reid, singers Sheena Wellington, Alice Marra, Hannah Fisher and Sorren MacLean, and broadcaster Mark Stephen, as well as many ordinary folk for whom music was a lifeline. And the programme features several intimate live performances and well as the stunning scenery you’d expect on a journey like this. .
TALAMH BEÒ – NEW MUSIC INSPIRED BY THE NORTHWEST HIGHLANDS
As a foothold for a profession still grappling with the aftermath of COVID, the recent pan-highland Blas Festival was a godsend for many musicians, ourselves included. The festival gave Nick and myself an opportunity to bring ‘home’ a project that had started just a couple of weeks before our whole world closed down, playing the music in the place that inspired it, two-and-a-half years after it was first commissioned.
‘Talamh Beò’ (Living Land) was made possible by the Coigach and Assynt Living Landscape project, with the remit for a collective of ourselves, Finlay Wells and Prof Donald MacLean to create an album’s worth of new music that drew on the people, place, history, land and seascape of a spectacular part of the north-west Highlands. A place where the Gaelic language is inextricably woven into the human landscape, and where the physical landscape tells the history of the rocks themselves, oldest on the planet. Even though the four of us were unable to reach Coigach and Assynt from our bases of isolation in Lochaber and Argyll, we spent our lockdown working hard to create this music together.
From each of our studios, we played with bathometric data to create new melodies, harmonies, rhythms; we mentally climbed the hill to the Bone Caves to sing into their reverberation; we spoke to local folk on the ubiquitous Zoom to try and find the energies of the inbetween spaces of cooperation and of conflict, of new arrival and long-established, of minoritised and dominant. And then for three perfect days in August 2020, 151 days since the world changed, we headed north and west to make it real. So much to do, and so little time – the four of us hadn’t seen each other, let alone others, and the need to make the collective and the ideas knit together into this new music was overwhelming. We gloried in it all, and it helped us through the following reclosings until we finally had an album, and some music and song that we wanted to share with the world.
We are so grateful to Blas Festival, and to CALLP, for enabling us to play this music live for the first time (this really was working backwards!) in Oban, Invergarry and finally Achiltibuie – the homecoming gig. And we have an album too now, that we will be releasing officially next month. More to come on that very soon, but in the meantime, here’s a preview of one of the highlight tracks, ‘Cèilidh Buan’, our tribute to one of the last native Gaelic speakers in Coigach, Ali ‘Beag’ MacLeod, Achnahaird, now playing in the eternal cèilidh somewhere beyond. Joining Mary Ann on vocals is the inimitable James Graham from Lochinver, one of Ali’s favourite singers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRw4yCl0YMk
Thanks to you all for your continued interest in and support of our work! Please do get in touch, we love to hear from you, and we will be back very soon with details of the album release.
Le meas is gràdh Mary Ann & Nick @ Watercolour Music .
Spring News 2021
A chàirdean uile, Ciamar a tha sibh? Tha sinn an dòchas gu bheil sibh gu math agus ann an saoghal beagan nas dòchasaiche! We’ve been busy at Watercolour Music with some wonderful projects that have been a real pleasure to work on: here’s a wee update on what we’ve been up to.
HIGHLAND WHISPERS – ONLINE & REALWORLD EXHIBITION
When lockdown first hit us all in the spring of 2020, like many artists we were a bit all at sea to begin with. But we soon started to make the most of the fact that we were blessed with a studio to work in and from which we could also collaborate with others.
Our first big project was Highland Whispers – a virtual game of artistic consequences between five artists, devised by Nick. He was joined by Co-curator of the project Toria Caine, visual artist Anna Raven, poet Pádraig Ó Tuama and photographer Alex Boyd.
Supported by Creative Scotland, Highland Whispers took the five human senses as inspiration – senses deprived and heightened in lockdown. The five artists created a response each in turn, and always at the prompting of the arrival of a work from one of the others. The five impulses and twenty reponses have now been drawn together in a compact and powerful exhibition which you can visit here – wander around the virtual gallery, watch the tour guide videos with project manager Mary Ann Kennedy, and read more about the artists and their process.
SHOUT OUT! You can also be part of the Highland Whispers project through our collaboration with Pádraig's tenx9 storytelling sessions. Do you have a story to tell? We want to hear it! On Saturday 21st May we'll be holding a mini tenx9 session on the theme of the exhibition - Five Senses, Five Stories. If you'd like to offer a story to tell in ten minutes - a true story from your own life - or if you'd like to be part of the Zoom audience, get in touch with the team at email@example.com.
And if you’re in Ullapool between now and the 20th May, you can see the exhibition in the real world. As curator of An Talla Solais gallery there, Toria has devised an ‘inside-out’ exhibition that lets you explore the works through the beautiful big gallery windows, and you can listen to the poetry and music on your smartphone, using the QR codes in the display.
Our thanks also go to An Comunn Gàidhealach and the Royal National Mòd, who hosted a special preview series on the project back in October 2020. If you are interested in hosting the realworld exhibition at a festival or gallery, please get in touch with Mary Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org.
COIGACH & ASSYNT LIVING LANDSCAPE – TALAMH BEÒ
In early 2020, Nick and Mary Ann hooked up with long-time collaborator, Finlay Wells, and geopoet and strategist Professor Donald MacLean bid for a commission to write music inspired by the landscape of Coigach and Assynt in the northwest Highlands. To their great delight, they were successful, and plans were made to spend time
in that amazing part of the world to write the words and music for Talamh Beò – Living Land, as part of a network of imaginative projects in the Coigach and Assynt Living Landscape Partnership.
But no sooner had the good news come through than the impact of the coronavirus pandemic took over and all bets were off. However, the quartet carried on working in close cooperation with CALLP, and even managed to spend a magical few days in late summer at Stoer Lighthouse and travelling around the area recording sights, sounds, people and places. CALLP and Watercolour will be releasing news of this special project very soon, so keep an eye out for more info! And meantime, you can explore the various projects being supported by CALLP here.
SOISGEUL – Scotland’s Gaelic Gospel Choir – please help raise funds!
The day before the first national lockdown was the last time many Gaelic choristers had the opportunity to sing together, when Soisgeul, the Gaelic Gospel Choir, gathered in Inverness for a weekend of workshops and performance. Since then, it’s not been possible for choirs to sing together and it’s been down to projects like Watercolour Music’s production of ‘Thoir Dhomh Do Làmh’ for BBC ALBA’s Hogmanay programme to keep folk’s singing hearts alive.
Inspired by the new year project, where 300 singers from 32 choirs and eight countries took part, Soisgeul collaborated with An Comunn Gàidhealach at the end of April to produce a virtual festival of singing – ‘Làn-Dùil’ – In Hope. Mary Ann is Artistic Director of Soisgeul, working in collaboration with Guest Leader Gareth Fuller and a fabulous committee team including secretary Joy Dunlop, treasurer Nicola Pearson and president Jackie Cotter, all great musicians in their own right.
The music is amazing – no Gaelic choir has ever sounded like this! https://www.soisgeul.com/home We are running a wee crowdfunder to help us raise some pump-priming funds to let us continue making great music and sharing this unique meeting of musical worlds – the Gaelic and Gospel music traditions. Your help, even a small gift, will make all the difference! Click on the link to go to the fundraising page: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/soisgeul-lan-duil.
WATERCOLOUR MUSIC – STUDIO & HOUSE OPEN FOR BUSINESS!
We are delighted to be able to welcome recording clients and visitors to our studio and self-catering house once again. We’ve upgraded our studio facilities to offer high-quality 4K video and live streaming options for visiting musicians and other artists. And the house/studio accommodation has been freshly decorated and upgraded. We’re grateful to be busy, but always happy to hear from potential visitors. And of course, we’re following all current guidelines and restrictions. For studio enquiries, please email email@example.com for prices and availability. For holiday or other residential enquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for availability and direct deal best prices.
Autumn News 2020
New Video from Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin& Ultan O'Brien
Samhain - All Hallows' Eve News from Watercolour Music
“Music’s not about perfection – it’s about getting through the hard times and celebrating the good.” Janis Ian
Beò fhathast an seo ann an Àird Ghobhair. Still here and still writing, recording, creating, looking forward. It’s getting harder, it’s getting scarier for so many of us in this altered world, but I hope some of what we can share with you this month will bring you some joy or at the very least diversion!
There’s some information on some of the projects we’re involved in right now, and also some free stuff to watch and listen to online – some of the songs finding their very first outing. If you’re enjoying these, please consider placing an order for some of our albums and books. And as ever, with every hard-copy order through our shop, we’ll send you a bonus album of our choice as a thank-you. Remember you can also purchase download albums through us too, ensuring that the money goes direct to the artist.
Bithibh slàn, falain, sàbhailte,
Mary Ann & Nick @ Watercolour Music
New Releases from Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin& Ultan O'Brien
The human voice and the fiddle are often thought of as musical cousins. ‘Solas an Lae’ (The Light of the Day) is the début album from Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin and Ultan O’Brien, a compelling exploration of that relationship, creating a unique dialogue that blends raw, rugged earth with the ethereal otherworld. In ‘Solas an Lae’, bouncing songs and strings off one another, Eoghan and Ultan have created a duo album that emerges viscerally from the sean-nós roots of upbringing to blossom into two of the most articulate Irish musical voices on the scene today.
Dublin-based with Clare and Connemara connections, Eoghan and Ultan have been playing together for many years in bands including Skippers Alley. Their involvement with Manx singer Ruth Keggin and with the international Gaelic project ‘Aon Teanga (One Tongue)’ took them to Highland Scotland, where they first recorded at Watercolour Music in Lochaber. “It’s hard to imagine recording anywhere else,” says Eoghan. ‘Solas an Lae’ is produced by Watercolour Music’s Nick Turner who also worked with the Irish duo on ‘Aon Teanga’.
‘Solas an Lae’ takes its title from once of the tracks, ‘Mo Mhúirnín’, a starkly beautiful rendition of 19th century poet Padraic Colm’s poem ‘The Beggar’s Child’.
“Mo mhúirnín, we’ll go far away
from the net of the crooked town
where they grudge us the light of the day.”
The first single from the album is ‘Cúirt Bhaile Nua’, a classic song of love and heartbreak from Mayo. The track is accompanied by a nightime video, filmed outside at Watercolour Music’s studios, which is situated on the shores of Loch Linnhe within sight of Ben Nevis. Nick also produced the eerily elemental video which features the duo singing and playing in firelight, and an almost sacrificial scene of a harmonium up in flames. Instruments may have been harmed in the making of this film.
‘Cúirt Bhaile Nua’ (WCMCD074) is released on Watercolour Music on October 29th 2020.
‘Solas an Lae’ (WCMCD075) is released on Watercolour Music on November 5th 2020.
Marcas Mac Releases Début Single Fichead ‘s a h-Ochd
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.
The song – Fichead ’s a h-Ochd – was commissioned by National Library of Scotland, for theirRevisit the Gaelic 1980s series, placing the song firmly within current retro trends, with the synth-heavy sounds of the decade showcasing Marcas’ signature smokey vocal. With lyrics by Marcas the Gaelic banger was co-written and produced by Lochaber-based music supremo Nick Turner and recorded at Watercolour Music during lockdown, observing strict social distancing guidelines. The doyenne of Gaelic song Mary Ann Kennedy provides backing-vocals, rounding out the creative trio.
Situated within a larger multi-artform project, Fichead ‘s a h-Ochd is the flagship offering from Marcas’ groundbreaking COR project, which the commission spawned. The lyrics are inspired by never-before-heard testimony, gathered from sources including Kenna Campbell OBE, Mary Ann Kennedy, The Scottish Book Trust’s Rosemary Ward and Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Jim Whannel, who related experiences of being part of Scotland’s then Civil Rights movements - one seeking to establish Gaelic-medium Education and the other to remove Section 28. The numerical title of the track – fichead ’s a h-Ochd is twenty-eight in Gaelic – references the latter, but whilst the retro-yet-contemporary vibe of the track shirks the ‘trad’ moniker, it remains part of a wider-Gaelic song tradition.
“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.
THE ROYAL NATIONAL MÒD 2020
Gaeldom’s premier festival is taking place online this year, and Mary Ann and Nick have been really busy with various aspects of the Mòd. Mary Ann performed with her duo partner Finlay Wells at the Official Opening of the festival, with a command performance from Ardgour Village Hall, complete with absent adjudicators! Mary Ann and Finlay performed two new songs written in lockdown, including a song written as a minding of Peigi Aonghais, auntie to BBC producer Angela MacKinnon who is always such a big part of the Mòd coverage behind the scenes and on mic. More about the other song to come below! Mary Ann also acted as virtual adjudicator, judging video entries for this year’s competitions and recording the adjudications from the studio. It’s not the same as the real thing, but it did allow some wonderful new singers to participate from abroad, and there were no irate parents or competitors to take issue with the marks!
Also featuring through Mòd week is a special preview of a unique lockdown project that Nick and Mary Ann have been working on since the beginning of the pandemic. Highland Whispers is a gathering of five artists, exploring the five senses in five chain reactions – a kind of game of isolation Consequences. The Whispers is an idea that’s been bubbling under for a long time, waiting for the right moment, and lockdown seemed to be it. Joined (virtually) by co-curator Toria Caine, painter Anna Raven, poet Pádraig Ó Tuama and photographer Alex Boyd, the group have created 25 works for an exhibition to be launched online at the end of November. Never having met, and yet exploring such intimate aspects of being human, the project has produced some profoundly moving and beautiful works, communications and ‘workings in the margins’. You can watch ‘Cagar’, a series of five short films made especially for the Royal National Mòd throughout Mòd week at 1pm daily, and then archived on their Facebook page and YouTube channel.
JANIS IAN – BETTER TIMES WILL COME
Another exciting lockdown project to be a part of led to a new virtual friendship with a singer-songwriter hero, Janis Ian. A new, but defiantly optimistic, song went out from a tiny Florida island with an invitation from Janis for musicians and singers around the world to record their own versions. One degree of separation – Edinburgh guitarist Ian Young, once of Gaelic folk group Na h-Eilthirich, knew Janis and contacted Mary Ann with a view to recording a Gaelic version. This was really the first music that Mary Ann had felt like making since the lockdown, and it marked a real turning point for her. The project now has its own website where you can find Mary Ann’s and over a hundred other versions. This was also the second new song that Mary Ann performed at the opening of the Mòd, looking ahead to a time ‘gun tig là nas fheàrr’.
BOTHAN NAN ÒRAN
Working with Fèisean nan Gàidheal, Watercolour Music have launched ‘Bothan nan Òran’, an online mentoring programme for young Gaelic songwriters. Starting up after the October holidays, Mary Ann will be joined by two exciting young composers and writers – Robbie MacLeòid and James Hind – to work with young (and not so young) musicians in a creative and supportive environment as the develop their songwriting skills. With encouragement online from other writers such as Calum ‘Runrig’ MacDonald and Rachel Walker, the Bothan could be the place to produce the next great Gaelic hit! Sign-ups and more information can be found via Fèisean nan Gàidheal.
OTHER FREE STUFF ONLINE!
Check out some of the music and other creative stuff we made over the past few weeks!
Fraser Shaw Remixed
Mary Ann was commissioned by the Fraser Shaw Memorial Trust as part of a team of Scottish musicians and singers celebrating the life and music of the young Glasgow-Islay musician, Fraser Shaw, who passed away in 2015. The Fraser Shaw Remix Grants have enabled ten musicians to create new arrangements and settings of Fraser’s music, previously showcased in the Trust’s lovingly-produced album, ‘Mac Ìle’. Listen to her new song, ‘Monmhar’, and find out more about the trust and about Fraser.
Tional Gaelic Festival
Hands Up for Trad organised their first ever all-Gaelic festival in September, hosted by Joy Dunlop. Mary Ann and Finlay Wells performed a set in the Watercolour Byre on the Friday evening – prizes for anyone who spots the extra performer near the beginning!
The Patter Merchant EP - Autumn Release from Damaged Goodz
WCMCD074 EP Release
The world is a pretty shitty place right now so DAMAGED GOODZ has decided to drop a new EP to cheer everybody up. "The Patter Merchant" follows hot on the heels of "From Darkness To Light" and is the 2nd EP of a scheduled 4 to drop in 2020.Produced by his DJ and long-time friend ZEENY, the aim is to make your head nod and piss your pants laughing at the same time, it’s worth a try. The beats go from mid 90s classic Boom Bap to Funk To Horrorcore to the ridiculous on THIRD DEGREE BURNS NIGHT (Where BeeJay has a semi-fictional Rap Battle with the beautiful legendary presenter Jackie Bird).
The Patter Merchant
Revenge Of The Funkmaster
Art Of The Devil
New Year / New Me (I Smell Shite)
Nod To The 90s
Third Degree Burns Night
DAMAGED GOODZ is one of HIP HOP in Scotland's most successful artists spanning 25+ years with an
arsenal of critically acclaimed releases. In his time, he has opened shows for 50 CENT / XZIBIT / THE
GAME / BUSTA RHYMES / LLOYD BANKS / THE STREETS / BLACK EYED PEAS / SUGARHILL GANG
/ GRANDMASTER FLASH and TASK FORCE.
Damaged Goodz has played legendary venues like / SECC (2 Nights) / BARROWLANDS (3 Nights) / 02
ACADEMY (3 nights) / O2 ABC (2 nights / GLASGOW GARAGE / KING TUTS (10 times) / BRIXTON
ACADEMY & ALEXANDRA PALACE as part of THE STREETS tour as a Battle MC for JUMP OFF.
Damaged Goodz has performed live sessions on BBC / XFM / SUNNY GOVAN / BEAT 106 with a
multitude of radio plays under his belt. He has also run a successful club night for 2 years in
INVERNESS called CHURCH STREET HIP HOP NIGHT where he hosted all the best HIP HOP artists in
Summer News 2020
Chan Eil Mo Leannan Ann An-Seo
A socially and geographically distanced twist on an old Gaelic cèilidh favourite. With Calum Martin, Mary Ann Kennedy, Cristin MacKenzie and Ruairidh Graham, recorded especially for BBC Radio nan Gàidheal’s long-running morning magazine show, Prògram Choinnich on August 12th 2020. Recorded at Watercolour Music, Lochaber, at Leum Music, Isle of Lewis and at home studios in Lewis and Leith.
For the Inglorious Twelfth - for which these beautiful creatures are culled, and still awaiting Royal Assent to legislation that will protect them.
My fascination with hares goes back to long machair summer nights on Tiree. I wanted to make a connection with one of my childhood totems of nature, while writing about the West Highlands that I now consider home. The sleeping giant of the whaleback ridge became the foundation as I walked the Ardgour hills, seeing but not able to reach Creag Meagaidh in lockdown. The brown hare’s mountain cousin became the song-teller.
With eyes accustomed to sun and moonlight, the hare ranges out unthreatened over the reserve, sometimes bounding and jinking for the pure joy of living, sometimes as still as the ‘caochan’, the hidden streams that make their way unseen through moorland undergrowth.
The song plays with the fluidity of dual-meanings and dual-languages while the sound of the ‘saoghal balbh’ is a quiet nod to a Uist song, Angus MacMillan’s ‘Deàrrsadh Gealaich air Loch Hòstadh’, recorded beautifully for the BBC by my mam, Kenna.
GEÀRR IOMRADH - THE HARE'S ACCOUNTING 28 Cèit. 2020
From Darkness to Light EP - Latest Release from Damaged Goodz
WCMCD073 Single Release
Featuring MARY ANN KENNEDY with Beats by NITY GRITZ, Cuts by DJ ZEENY
Release Date 8th August on all platforms
"In The Presence Of Greatness” is the new single from the EP "From Darkness To Light" from Hip Hop stalwart DAMAGED GOODZ. The Beats are provided by long-time friend and collaborator NITY GRITZ who brings an uplifting belter to the table, the song features the spine-chilling vocals of the phenomenal MARY ANN KENNEDY. All cuts are by DJ ZEENY. The song is dedicated to his Great nephew Dylan who helped bring happiness into the world.
DAMAGED GOODZ is one of HIP HOP in Scotland's most successful artists spanning 25+ years with an arsenal of critically acclaimed releases. In his time, he has opened shows for 50 CENT / XZIBIT / THE GAME / BUSTA RHYMES / LLOYD BANKS / THE STREETS / BLACK EYED PEAS / SUGARHILL GANG / GRANDMASTER FLASH and TASK FORCE.
Damaged Goodz has played legendary venues like / SECC (2 Nights) / BARROWLANDS (3 Nights) / 02 ACADEMY (3 nights) / O2 ABC (2 nights / GLASGOW GARAGE / KING TUTS (10 times) / BRIXTON ACADEMY & ALEXANDRA PALACE as part of THE STREETS tour as a Battle MC for JUMP OFF.
Damaged Goodz has performed live sessions on BBC / XFM / SUNNY GOVAN / BEAT 106 with a multitude of radio plays under his belt. He has also ran a successful club night for 2 years in INVERNESS called CHURCH STREET HIP HOP NIGHT where he hosted all the best HIP HOP artists in the country.
Recorded, Mixed and Mastered By Nick Turner
All Will Be Well at this year's Solas Festival
Michael Marra's 'All Will be Well' by Solas Festival's Big Sing Choir
Sruth na Maoile wins big at the 2020 Celtic Media Festival Awards
Mary Ann’s international radio collaboration, ‘Sruth na Maoile’ is celebrating major success at the end of its 25th anniversary celebrations. The international Celtic Media Awards – held online from Glasgow this year – recognised the show as ‘Radio Music Programme of the Year’. Mary Ann has worked alongside co-presenter Seán Ó hÉanaigh for twenty-five years sharing the Gaelic languages and music of Ireland and Scotland on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and they marked the big anniversary with a live gala concert in Ennis Co. Clare, simulcast on both stations. The international jury praised ‘Sruth na Maoile’ (the Gaelic name for the stretch of water between Scotland and Ireland) and its presenters for their empathy with and knowledge of the music and musicians. Mary Ann and Seán were only sorry not to be able to be in Quimper, Brittany, to celebrate in proper style. They’re currently recording the 26th season of ‘Sruth na Maoile’ from their studios in Connemara and Lochaber, with technology and a long-time friendship creating a seamless lockdown version of a show that would normally be recorded face-to-face. The programme is the longest-ever running international co-production in any Celtic language.
Spring News 2020
Gaelic Narnia – An Leòmhann, A’ Bhuidseach agus Am Preas-Aodaich
Live-streamed readings on Facebook & Youtube with Mary Ann Kennedy
Sending love and good wishes to all our friends around the world during these strange times.
We know that we’re very fortunate here at Watercolour Music to be in a beautiful part of the world where we can go walking in isolation, where our studio is just next door, and where our community is stepping up to the mark to help the more vulnerable folk amongst us. Mary Ann has been documenting, Groundhog Day-style, the same early-morning photograph of Ben Nevis from the end of the house every day for four full weeks now. We’ve been into town (Fort William) only twice for food and supplies and it’s a veritable Marie-Celeste. And our only visitors are a postie every few days. Social distancing is not difficult in Ardgour.
We are however, like so many folk, concerned about our business. As musicians and creatives, most of our planned work disappeared overnight with the lockdown, and we keep ourselves busy and avoiding too much of the Netflix binge by planning as best we can for the future and letting our imaginations make the most of what we have for the rest.
So we’ve taken the (actual) Dressing-Up Box and embarked on a project that started off as an escape-hatch for Mary Ann, but which has become a real focus for us during the pandemic. Mary Ann is currently on the final chapters of the first ever Scottish Gaelic translation of the CS Lewis children’s classic, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. With mam, Kenna Campbell, as editor, one of Mary Ann’s favourite childhood stories can now be enjoyed in her mother tongue.
Although the project as a whole is at an early stage, we wanted to share this with the many Gaelic-speaking children (big kids too) who are stuck at home at the moment, and also to offer something that parents without Gaelic could also enjoy with their kids through their own memories of the book. And so we’ve recorded the book chapter-by-chapter, and with the kind permission of the CS Lewis Company, we’ll be live-streaming the readings on Facebook and Youtube from the 21st April.
The broadcast rights – a special dispensation for COVID19 – allow us only to stream live, so please make a date with us on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2pm BST to follow the Narnia adventure in Gaelic. You’ll be able to find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LeoBuidseachPreas and on Youtube at www.youtube.com/Watercolourfilms. Once you’ve reached the page at these times, you’ll find a link direct to the live broadcast – just click and away you go!
This is entirely a voluntary project for us here at Watercolour. Somewhere down the line, we might be able to look at publishing, but for now, we just wanted to get something out online that might bring pleasure to others at a difficult time, and we’re working entirely within the resources that we have available to us here at Watercolour.
If you would like to support our work, we’d be delighted and most grateful. You can make a contribution via Paypal at email@example.com. Or better still, buy one of our albums or books via the Watercolour shop – http://watercolourmusic.co.uk/Label/index.html. Where there’s a payment choice, please pick the Paypal one for a direct order to Watercolour. All album and book orders will be mailed out with a bonus CD from our catalogue included as a thank-you from us.
Take good care of yourselves, stay safe, and wash your paws,
Le meas Mary Ann & Nick @ Watercolour
Winter News 2019
House Concert at Watercolour Music Blue Rose Code Watercolour Music, Ardgour PH33 7AH.Sunday 17th November 3pm Suggested donations: £10 (children free) Booking essential (pay at door) via firstname.lastname@example.org
tel: 01855-841320 mob: 07918618374
Watercolour Music is delighted to host a one-off House Concert for 2019 with one of Scotland’s leading independent lights. A nomad, both geographically and musically, Ross Wilson aka Blue Rose Code writes straight from – and to - the heart. His songs address universal themes of love, loss, travel, home, accepting the past and embracing the future in a deeply personal way.
They are variously painted with the vibrant colours of folk, Americana, jazz, country, soul and pop; an eclecticism that has become a hallmark of his work and which has seen him compared to John Martyn, Van Morrison and Tom Waits amongst others. . As Blue Rose Code, Ross can perform solo and in everything from a stripped-down trio to his core five-piece band right up to a ten-piece soul jazz ensemble and relishes tailoring his line-up and repertoire to suit particular events or venues.
Whatever the format, a Blue Rose Code show is always a unique, unforgettable and truly uplifting experience. As ever, please do book ahead to allow us to plan for number. Pay on the day – but please reserve your places via the contacts above and we look forward to seeing you on the 17th!
Angus MacLeod: Slat à Coille
Another Mary Ann Kennedy produced CD also get its release this winter. Although he has family ties to Lewis, South Uist and Skye, Angus MacLeod was brought up in Inverness, in a home filled with Gaelic.
He now works as a solicitor in the city. He is married to Karen, and they have two daughters Anna and Ellen who also sing and are fluent in Gaelic too. Angus received a precious inheritance of Gaelic language and culture from his parents Catrìona and the late Murdo.
He won the Traditional Gold Medal at the Golspie Mòd in 1995, and the An Comunn Gold Medal at the Inverness Mòd in 2014, and has sung in Ireland, the Isle of Man, Wales, Cornwall, London, Brittany and America as well as across Scotland.
He sings solo, as a member of the Inverness Gaelic Choir and as a member of the group Trosg. He is also chair of the board of directors of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture in Scotland.
Stuart A Jackson - M'arach
A debut album from Gaelic singer Stuart Jackson. Produced by Mary Ann Kennedy and recorded at Watercolour Music
Stuart was born in Lochaline, Morvern, Argyll and raised on the family farm at Fuinary, in Morvern. This upbringing, by the shores of the Sound of Mull, was shaped by immersion in local songs and music, both at school and from his parents at home. His mother, Creina, was an accomplished singer and dad, Alasdair, played the accordion at home and for most of the local dances.
Stuart performs a selection of Gaelic songs that have a special significance to him "M'arach, as the name suggests, is a reflection of Stuart's upbringing with many of the songs having very personal and poignant connections to himself, his family and their background farming for three generations at Fuinary on the Morvern Peninsula.
The songs are interwoven skilfully to create a journey of changing emotions - from deep sorrow to the rousing happiness of sing-along classics... M'arach is the perfect soundtrack to a proper ceilidh." Angus MacPhail, Skipinnish.
"The most anticipated album of the Gaidhealtachd in 2019." Donald MacRae, Gaelic singing legend.
"My love of singing, and the music of the Gael, undoubtedly stems from this early and immersive introduction from my parents. I owe them a great deal for the happiest of childhoods, my upbringing, and for being such an understanding and loving couple. I would like to make a small repayment to the debt I owe them by dedicating this album to them. For Alasdair and Creina."
Autumn 2019 News
Bidh an là a' fàs fada nas giorra bhon Dàmhair air adhart, a-reir na h-abairt – ach bidh gu leòr a’ dol tro lathaichean agus oidhcheannan na mìos seo aig Watercolour! The days draw closer from October on, as the old saying goes, but there will be plenty happening on the days – and nights – of that month here at Watercolour!
Sruth na Maoile @25
Saturday, 5 October 2019, 8.00pm
- Glór Theatre, Ennis, Co. Clare
Mary Ann will join her long-time Irish colleague and friend, Seán Ó hÉanaigh, in the County Clare on the 5th October for a gala concert featuring top folk and traditional artists from Scotland and Ireland. The concert celebrates 25 years of their radio programme Sruth na Maoile, and will be simulcast live on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta in Ireland and BBC Radio nan Gàidheal in Scotland on the night. The night will feature artists representing the whole timespan of the longest-running Gaelic co-production in the world – from the stars that inspired the show in 1994 to the new generation emerging today. The mouthwatering cast will include:
Karen Matheson & Manus Lunny (Capercaillie)
Moya Brennan & Cormac de Barra (Clannad)
Séamus Begley, Méabh Ní Bheaglaoich & Donogh Hennessy (Co. Kerry)
Zoë Conway & John McIntyre (Young Irish trad musician of the year)
Eabhal (Battle of the Bands winners 2018)
Pádraig Rynne, Tara Breen, Elaine Hogan (Notify)
Bríd Ní Mhaoilchiaráin (Corn Uí Ríada sean-nós winner)
Ruairidh Gray (South Uist) … and some surprise guests!
Mòd Ghlaschu 2019
The National Mòd returns to Glasgow for the first time in nearly 30 years, and Mary Ann will be busy in her hometown with some very exciting events in the very place she won her own Mòd Gold Medal. You can check out all the events here https://modghlaschu2019.com/events-programme/ but here’s what we’re all going to be involved with.
Celtic Praise – Prince’s Square, Buchanan Street, Glasgow
Sunday 13th October 2019, 7.30 pm - FREE
Gaelic Gospel choir Soisgeul will be raising the roof leading the singing in an absolute feast of lively Gospel singing in the elegant, prestige setting of Princes Square. Soisgeul – Gaelic choral singing like you’ve never heard it before – will be joined by friends including the dynamic Gospel musical director Gareth Fuller, who has worked with Mary Ann to create unique Gaelic versions of some gospel classics. And you can also opt to pre-book and dine in one of Princes Square’s many fine restaurants.
Lorg Ghlaschu – OranMor, Byres Road, Glasgow
Monday 14th October 2019, 7.30pm - £14/£10
From the Rye-Field Rye to Marchtown, the Ha-stein Farm to Badger's Ford, St Malieu's Cross to White Island, the Little Pool to Still in the Corner. You know where all these places are. You just never knew what they meant. Lorg Ghlaschu features a stellar musical gathering curated by Mary Ann Kennedy, and informed by Alasdair Whyte’s meticulous research, leading a trail through the city’s rich treasure trove of Gaelic place names, history and people, all set against the beautiful video backdrops of Watercolour Music’s Nick Turner. Discover the natural roots of the Dear Green Place. Celebrate how people helped create one of the great cities of the world. Special guests also include - Findlay Napier, Finlay Wells & Lorne MacDougall.
Cuirm Ceòl Òr Ghlaschu - Glasgow Gold Concert – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Tuesday 15th October 2019, 7.30pm - £20/£16
This night to remember brings together an unparalleled line-up of some of Scotland’s and Ireland’s most renowned singers and musicians - including many Mòd Gold Medal winners - celebrating together the rich, flourishing Celtic culture they share. Glasgow’s Gaelic choirs and Gaelic schools join a host of musical friends for a night of classic songs and new discoveries! The night’s Musical Directors are Mary Ann and Brian McAlpine, with a house band including Marie Fielding, Cammy Maxwell, Alan Òg MacDonald, Finlay Wells and Ross Ainslie. They’ll be joined by a brass trio from the BBC SSO, young musicians from the Glasgow Irish community and no fewer than 15 Gold Medallists with Glasgow connections! Not to be missed.
BRIAN JAMIESON "The First Week Of A Mid-Life Crisis"
Release Date: 26th July 2019. Cat Nos: WCMCD072
EMAIL: Brianjamieson1976@gmail.com MOBILE: 07979992334
Scottish HIP HOP pioneer Brian Jamieson known mostly for his work as DAMAGED GOODZ, SKELETON VERSE & THE PARADOX drops his new release "The First Week Of A Mid-Life Crisis".
The 7 songs chart a fictional week in the near future with each song acting as a day where Brian has ups and downs a plenty after suffering a Mid-Life Crisis where he pushes the self-destruct button to the maximum.Brian pushes himself way out of his comfort zone by jumping into the GRIME / TRAP genre in order to improve himself as a writer and Emcee.
The music is produced by the legendary KONCHIS with a variety of jaw dropping soundscapes to compliment the story perfectly.
4 SEASONS IN 1 DAY (Wednesday)
THAT'S THE SPIRIT (Thursday)
SHATTER DAY (Saturday)
CRACKED MIRROR (Sunday)
Brian Jamieson has opened shows for:
50 CENT / XZIBIT / THE GAME / BUSTA RHYMES / LLOYD BANKS / THE STREETS / BLACK EYED PEAS / SUGARHILL GANG / GRANDMASTER FLASH / TASK FORCE / GOLDIE LOOKING CHAIN / PRONG / POP WILL EAT ITSELF / SCARS ON BROADWAY / BLACK PACIFIC / HEAVENS BASEMENT
Played legendary venues like..
S E C C (2 Nights) / BARROWLANDS (3 Nights) / 02 ACADEMY (3 nights) / O2 ABC (2 nights) / GLASGOW GARAGE / KING TUTS (10 times) / BRIXTON ACADEMY / ALEXANDRA PALACE / 3 x Live sessions on BBC RADIO 1,XFM,SUNNY GOVAN
New CD just released by Watercolour Music.
Sarah Fanet " It happened by Loch Leven"
Available from Here
HOUSE CONCERT & FILMING AT WATERCOLOUR MUSIC
Sunday 3rd March 3pm
Sarah Fanet, with special guest Sally Simpson
Watercolour Music, Ardgour PH33 7AH
Sunday 3rd March 3pm
Suggested donations: £10 (children free)
Booking essential (pay at door) via email@example.com or tel: 01855-841320
Watercolour Music is delighted to host a one-off House Concert for 2019 with a long-time friend and colleague, singer-songwriter Sarah Fanet. Sarah is due to release her new solo album in the summer, and this is an exclusive opportunity to hear her new songs, inspired by her life in her adopted home of Kinlochleven in Lochaber. She’ll be joined by fiddler Sally Simpson, fresh from a busy Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow with the Hannah Rarity Band and HEISK.
The gig is being organised to coincide with a short documentary film being made about Sarah’s life and music, and we would love it if you would support our friend in this special event. You can read about Sarah’s journey to her new identity and a new Highland home in this beautiful article for Bella Caledonia: https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2018/06/05/the-long-road-to-kinlochleven/.
As ever, please do book ahead to allow us to plan for number. Pay on the day – but please reserve your places via the contacts above and we look forward to seeing you on the 8th April!
And here's a little taste of the delights in store: The Low Road to Kinlochleven - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cET_SWfcSs
MARY ANN KENNEDY – Latest News and Tour Dates Jan-July
Mary Ann will be following up a highly successful Celtic Connections Festival with tour dates leading up to the international release of her new solo album, ‘Glaschu – Hometown Love Song’, out on 29th April 2019. An album inspired by Mary Ann’s home city of Glasgow, ‘Glaschu’ features songs and poetry celebrating city life past and present, a vibrant 16-track collection of Glasgow vignettes and vivid images, from the city’s main artery - the River Clyde, to street-life and markets, social deprivation and religious tension, and traditional Scottish sport and play.
Mary Ann said,
“The ‘Glaschu’ album is a kind of love-song to my home town – these songs are the story of the Gaels in Glasgow before me, but it’s the also the story of every new arrival community in any city the world over – the themes are universal. I grew up in the southside of a city rich in languages and cultures, and as part of Scottish Gaels’ biggest urban diaspora. We realised that, even though Gaelic had been part of Glasgow throughout its 800-year history, we were still very much part of the ebb-and-flow migration that is part of every city’s narrative.”
‘Glaschu’ was previewed Scotland’s renowned Celtic Connections festival , where Mary Ann performed in the atmospheric surroundings of the Tron Theatre, at the heart of the city quarter where many of the songs are set. She was joined by long-time collaborator Finlay Wells (Coast) on guitar, and played host to some very special guest singers from Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghleann Dail, one of the city’s Gaelic schools.
Mary Ann was also Musical Director of the official launch of the Royal National Mòd, Gaeldom’s premier festival, at this year’s Celtic Connections. Working with co-director Brian McAlpine, a stellar house band, massed Glasgow Gaelic choirs and over fifteen Mòd Gold Medallist singers, the night heralded the beginning of the eight-month build-up to the Mòd returning to Glasgow for the first time in nearly thirty years. Mary Ann’s own Gold medal was a ‘home win’ in the city in 1988.
As well as album dates, when she’ll be joined by young singers from each area sharing their home-town songs, Mary Ann will also re-visit her Bath Festivals commission IronBright with award-winning fellow harpist and singer Rachel Newton, and sound designer Nick Turner from Watercolour Music. With a new movement commissioned especially for the performance at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival, Mary Ann will return to the fabulous sounds inspired by the engineering genius of Thomas Telford and Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
And the Spring dates kick off with a one-off must-see, as the Irish, Manx and Scottish Gaelic dream-team of Aon Teanga (One Tongue) come together for one night only in the Scottish capital’s Gaelic hub, Bothan Dhùn Èideann. Joined by Ruth Keggin, Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin and Ultan O’ Brien, the quartet will re-unite the three Gaelic nations through song, music and general nonsense.
Tour Dates Mary Ann Kennedy 2019:
01 March: Bothan Dhùn Èideann, Edinburgh - with AON TEANGA (Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin, Ruth Keggin & Ultan O’ Brien) Canon’s Gait, 232 Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DQ
8.00pm til late
09 April: Edinburgh International Harp Festival, Edinburgh – IRONBRIGHT (with Rachel Newton & Nick Turner)
Merchiston Castle School, 294 Colinton Rd, Edinburgh EH13 0PU
Info: https://www.harpfestival.co.uk; https://eihf.tickets.red61.com/performances.php?eventId=5986:75
23 April: SEALL @ Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Isle of Skye – GLASCHU New Album – with Finlay Wells & special guests
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Sleat, Isle of Skye IV44 8RQ
26 April: Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock - GLASCHU New Album – with Finlay Wells & special guests
Custom House Quay, Greenock, PA15 1HJ
27 April: Paisley Arts Centre, Paisley - GLASCHU New Album – with Finlay Wells & Fèis Phàislig
New Street, Paisley PA1 1EZ
30 April: The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen - GLASCHU New Album – with Finlay Wells
5 West North Street, Aberdeen AB24 5AT
01 May: Eden Court, Inverness - GLASCHU New Album – with Finlay Wells & special guests
Bishop’s Road, Inverness IV3 5SA
04 May: Stapleford Granary, Cambridge - GLASCHU New Album – with Finlay Wells & Phoenix Training Choir
Bury Road, Stapleford, Cambridge CB22 5BP
14 July: Chichester Festival, Chichester – details TBA
FIND US ONLINE
Mary Ann’s website: http://maryannkennedy.co.uk/
Watercolour Music: http://watercolourmusic.co.uk
Full list of concerts 2019: http://maryannkennedy.co.uk/
Reviews for Mary Ann Kennedy’s debut solo album ‘An Dàn’/ARC Music 2017
4 stars **** Songlines “Mary Ann Kennedy is one of the finest interpreters of Gaelic song and an inspiring and vital force on the traditional Scots music scene… an excellent release it is too: self-composed and arranged, it demonstrates Kennedy’s fine talent as a composer, but it’s her vocals that are the real attraction here.”
“The voice of Scotland … a very beautiful contemporary folk album…recommended.” Rootstime
“The musical arrangements are sensitive and beguiling, with the piano and string quartet accompaniment especially graceful and elegant.” fRoots
“It’s a gem of an album” Folk Radio, UK
“… it is her delivery of the lyrics… that really shine in this collection.” Herald Scotland
“The album is often very beautiful. Mary Ann’s voice is exquisite and Finlay Wells’ guitars add so much – just listen to that sublime lead of ‘Grioglachan’” Folking.com
4 stars **** The Scotsman “This is one from the heart, as the singer and broadcaster performs her engagingly melodic settings of recent Gaelic poetry as well as lyrics of her own – including the opening Seinn, Horo, Seinn, which finely expresses her commitment to Gaelic song as an ongoing culture.”
“…a masterpiece...” Tambourine
Artist in Residence at the Øy Festival
Nick spent a magical weekend in November in one of Orkney’s farthest flung islands as Artist in Residence at the Øy Festival.
Nick spent a magical weekend in November in one of Orkney’s farthest flung islands as Artist in Residence at the Øy Festival. Tasked with creating the soundworld for their Island Space Station theme for 2018, Nick spent a glorious few days recording people, places and the sounds of Papa Westray’s human and natural world, before heading back to the studio to create a unique island sound diary distilling island life into biomusic, found sound and ambient soundscapes.
You can check it on our fantastic new-look Watercolour Music website as part of the Projects Page. From ocean wave to soundwave in an unpolluted sound source at the edge of human experience, Papa Westray provided the perfect canvas for Nick’s febrile imagination, but he also enjoyed the 90 second plane hop to his island destination, and the Muckle Supper – a big communal meal - that celebrated the end of the festival!
Michael Ephron New EP " Efroditis". Released November 2018
Michael Ephron the Welsh composer, lyricist and producer of this 5 song EP has had a fascinating musical life. Self taught, first on banjo at age 7 then moving to guitar and keyboards, he played as a solo act all over Europe and the Middle East in his teens. Equally passionate about words, he simultaneously wrote poems and plays.
He was living in NYC at the height of the cultural renaissance in the 1960s and performing as the poet in Poetry and Jazz perfomances. But his love of music in time overwhelmed his love of words and he moved into playing fulltime. In NYC he gained a reputation as an up and coming keyboard player on the avant garde free form jazz scene. Catching the attention of Jimi Hendrix he became a musical collaborator in Hendrix’s experiments around the time Woodstock Festival and after.
Moving out to the West Coast, he made the decision to move on from experimentation and founded a Funk Band, The Word. They were signed to Strata East Records, Gil Scott Heron’s label and recorded an album for them. In Los Angeles Stevie Wonder heard his compositions and got him a deal with RCA records. But for a while, personal health issues blighted his career. Moving to Asia he became active on the music scene in Manila, and known by musicians for his unusual highly individualized approach to composition.
His position is that fitting into any one musical genre is not for him; he is at home in any genre with the proviso that the music that preoccupies him be excellent music, be it Jazz, Latin, Country, Heavy Metal or Hip Hop etc. In addition when he composes it should have his very own personal stamp on it.
In the Philippines, he recorded an album of 18 songs, taking 6 years to complete. This EP is comprised of the 5 songs he wrote and produced with Bamboo, the Filipino star who was seeking to expand his musical horizons and heard Michael’s work. It was recorded and produced in the Philippines, Scotland, England, California, New York, Ireland and Cuba with Filipino musicians plus others from Scotland, England, the USA, Poland, Brazil and Cuba. The Album will be available on November 18, released by Watercolour Records.
There is a narrative in the EP that describes human behaviour gone haywire and its effect on love and our planet, but it is not a message devoid of hope. The next album with the remaining 13 songs will be released in the near future.
Concert st ST Huberts, Idsworth. Sussex
The Highlands Comes to Hampshire
Saturday October 27th
Hello to our Southern Watercolour Music friends!
Mary Ann was invited to play at this enigmatic venue by the Friends of St Huberts whilst visiting earlier in the year
The Church Friends have created a charity to help with the up keep of this 11th Century Church.
As part of their out-reach work thay have been hosting a series of concerts to raise funds and interest in the magnificent Chapel
A sell-out crowd enjoyed an evening of Harp and song in an intimate acoustic enviroment. Very good shortbread as well!
Cluaidh Site Now Open
MUSIC FROM THE OZARKS COMES TO LOCHABER
Sunday afternoon October 7th at 3pm
Watercolour Music - 2018 Residential Guitar Workshop Weekend
Sept 29th - 2nd Oct
Following the initial workshops, we are delighted to announce the dates for this year’s event. An intensive but relaxed weekend in the stunning surroundings of Scotland’s West Highlands with the undivided attention of two stellar guitar tutors – John Goldie and Peter Kroll-Ploeger.
There are limited places on this special weekend – two classes of at most eight players brings the setting closer to the mentoring process pioneered in the US. Students will arrive on Friday evening with a relaxed meet-and-greet, followed by intensive tutored sessions through the day on Saturday and Sunday, and a tutors’ and guests’ concert on the Sunday night. Monday will be a slower paced wind down with an informal recording tip sheet session.
We can provide an inclusive package of guitar weekend and half board accommodation or just guitar weekend with attendees making their own accommodation arrangements. Transport is inclusive throughout the weekend - so once you are here you are only concentrating on guitar playing.
The weekend is designed to give attendees the time and space needed to invest in their musical passion, unhampered by the usual interruptions and distractions of home and work. The workshops will be tailored to the abilities of participants, aimed at all levels of musician who want to learn new skills and increase their confidence in a group situation.
Watercolour Music specialises in creating a relaxed, supportive and inspiring environment, and the course will be the perfect retreat for guests to be able to concentrate on improving various aspects of their music and performance in the beautiful, peaceful location of Ardgour. The emphasis is on an informal atmosphere which incorporates structured activity in a supportive learning environment.
We also intend to include the extremely popular evening's cruise down Loch Shiel on Jim Michie’s MV Sileas. This has usually preceded the tutors concert
FaceTime with the tutors includes at least 8 hours of tutor-led group teaching sessions designed to bring out the best in your abilities. It won’t all be challenging work though - there will also be opportunities for a session with the other players, and of course the chance to spend some quality time ‘alone’ with your instrument!
We also encourage open-mic policy on the Sunday night tutors concert - a friendly, supportive environment in which to air your favourite songs or tune to the group and local audience, join in on an impromptu jam session, or just to sit back and enjoy the music.