I remember the first time I heard music by fiddler Duncan Chisholm. It was a single song that featured on one of Songlines Magazine’s “Top of the World” compilations. At the time they were marking the release of his album Farrar, and the song they chose to feature was Lorient Mornings.
I thought I had never heard anything so beautiful. There is something about the way he plays, with long sweeping notes and these tiny pauses that are like catching your breath when you happen upon a remarkable scene.
There is landscape in his playing. I have always been fond of music which seems to still have earth clinging to it, like the sounds have been pulled from the ground fully formed and are then simply released through the voice or hands of the artist.
Ever since Farrar (which of course I ran out and bought straight away) I have waited for Duncan’s next album to come out, checking his Web site every few months for news.
My heart lives with track number 9, a medley of three songs: Caoineadh Johnny Sheain Jeaic (lament for Johnny Mac Donncha), Lorient Mornings and Illean Aigh. There is a story being told here, of love and loss and gentle gratitude for the joyful moments.
The shift from the first song to Lorient moments happens around the five minute mark, with rain drops of piano music. No matter what I am doing, I find I have to stop and look at the stereo. Everything falls into Illean Aigh, the sound of the fiddle swaying like a boat over waves, steered by a man searching for something unnamed among the sea lochs.
The laments are offset with lively tracks that bring back a whirling “spring will come” positivity, and I challenge you to try to make it through The Head Roaster and The Last Miles without tapping your foot.
Canaich is set for general UK and Itunes release 21 June. I have checked Duncan’s Myspace page and there aren’t any samples of the new album up yet, but listening to the tracks there will give you a good sense of his style. You can also order the CD or listen to tracks on Duncan’s Web site.
When I am passionate about something the first thing I want to do is share it, which is why I am bursting with excitement to give away one copy of Canaich.
To enter, leave a comment below about your experience with Scottish folk music. When was your first introduction to it, or how does it influence you?
If you do not have a blog to link back to, you can enter by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org and including “Canaich CD” in the subject line.
Winners of last month’s Scottish Breakfast Tea giveaway will need to sit this one out, but do visit Duncan’s Web site and give his music a listen, and be sure to join in again for July’s giveaway.
The deadline to enter will be Thursday, 24 June. I shall pluck the name from the hat of treats on Friday and run to the post office on Saturday morning!
****This giveaway has now ended. Congratulations Anne!****