Julie Fowlis -- vocals, whistles, shruti
Éamon Doorley -- guitar-bouzouki, backing vocals
Duncan Chisholm -- fiddles, backing vocals
Tony Byrne -- guitar, backing vocals
All songs are traditional and sung in Scottish Gaelic, unless otherwise stated. Repertoire will be selected from the following and announced from the stage:
*Program is subject to change*
There will be one 15-minute intermission
A ghaoil leig dhachaigh dham mhàthair mi (O love, let me home to my mother)
In this song a young girl pleads with the water-horse to return her to her mother. She met this mythological creature, common in the Gaelic tradition, at the edge of the cattle fold and now begs him to return her as she was. The words here from 'The songs of Gaelic Scotland' by Anne Lorne Gillies and the tune learned from Kate Nicolson (Ceit Phàdraig).
This traditional song is from Galicia, a region in Northern Spain. Originally composed in Galician, Julie learned this from the beautiful singer Rosa Cedrón, when they collaborated on a project called ‘Facing the Atlantic’, which explored the connections between Gaelic Scotland and Galicia. Julie performs this song bilingually in Galician and in Gaelic and it features on her new album ‘alterum’.
These creatures have a special place in Gaelic folklore and tradition, and North Uist in particular has stories and songs of 'Clann rìgh fo gheasan' - children of a Scandinavian king under a spell, banished forever to remain creatures of the sea. These songs have always interested me greatly. I was invited to record two seal songs for a fantastic BBC production called 'Innsean an Iar', the Gaelic adaptation of the much acclaimed series 'Hebrides on the Edge’, narrated by Ewen MacGregor, in 2013.
Our own Scottish Gaelic interpretation of the classic Lennon/McCartney song 'Blackbird'. This track was the first Scottish Gaelic song by a solo artist to be playlisted by the BBC in London. The studio version was only ever released on a limited-run box set edition of her second album, 'cuilidh', but is available to purchase as a download directly from Julie's website at www.juliefowlis.com/store.
Fear a’ bhrochain / Dòmhnall Binn (The gruel man/sweet Donald)
These are two traditional pieces of mouth music which I love, the second of which I learned from the singing of the Rev William Matheson of North Uist and Edinburgh. On the album ‘alterum’.
Go Your Way (by Annie Briggs)
This is the first song I have recorded in English on one of my own records. Composed by the wonderful Annie Briggs, I simply loved it from the first moment I heard it. My sincere thanks to Annie for giving me her preferred lyrics, and indeed for her blessing to put it on the newest album ‘alterum’.
The Thatcher/Peter Byrne’s/The soup dragon/Isaac’s welcome to the world
A lively set of instrumental tunes. The second tune Julie learned from the guitar playing of the great Arty McGlynn on his recording McGlynn’s Fancy, the third is a Gordon Duncan favourite, and the last tune was composed by the band’s fiddler, Duncan, after the birth of his son Isaac. This set was recorded on the Live at Perthshire Amber album.
Cadal ciarach mo luran (Sleep softly, my beloved)
A simple yet beautiful lullaby from the Gaelic tradition. As you might expect, the mother singing to her child is reassuring the child that she will always be there for them. From ‘Gach Sgeul/Every Story’ album (2014).
Ribinnean rìomhach (Beautiful ribbons)
A selection of Gaelic mouth music, two jigs at the beginning and end, and a strathspey in the middle. The final tune has some unusual rhythms and was learnt from the singing of Seordag Murray from Achiltibuie. This recording was made for the School of Scottish Studies by Calum MacLean, who is eulogised in the song on Julie’s fourth studio album (Gach Sgeul/Every Story) called ‘Do Chalum’.
Tha mo ghaol air àird a’ chuain (My love is on the high seas)
A traditional Gaelic song which was selected by Disney Pixar as the soundtrack to the official trailer of the Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe winning movie, ‘Brave’ in 2012. Available on Julie’s debut album ‘As My Heart Is’.
Smeòrach Chlann Dòmhnaill (The mavis of Clan Donald)
Vivid and descriptive words from one of North Uist’s most acclaimed poets, John MacCodrum, who was the last official bard to the MacDonalds of Sleat. He was born in 1693 in North Uist. Julie first learnt this song in Primary School from a local tradition bearer and former teacher Isa MacKillop. She was invited to perform this song at the Official Opening Ceremony of the Glasgow XX Commonwealth Games in 2014, which was broadcast live to a TV audience of a billion people.
Fodar dha na gamhna beaga set (Fodder for the small stirks)
Another set of mouth music which was inspired by the first of the three, which I learned from a compelling Tobar an Dualchais recording of a Mrs Mary Lamont from Tiree. The chorus is made up entirely of vocables which were easy to learn and sing but more tricky to spell and write! I learned the second song in this set from the singing of one of my own relations, Ruairidh Macdonald.
Aoidh, na dèan cadal idir (Aoidh, don't sleep at all)
A traditional lullaby with a warning. All is not as it seems! This features on Julie's second album, ‘cuilidh’.
Danns’ a luideigin odhar (Dance, dun-coloured slattern)
A humour and lilting example of Gaelic mouth-music which Julie learned from a recording made in 1950 by legendary folklorist and scholar Dr John Lorne Campbell for the National Trust for Scotland’s Canna Collection, now available online at www.tobarandualchais.co.uk
Biodh an deoch seo ’n làimh mo rùin (This drink would be in the hand of my love)
This dates back to the 1600’s and has survived in many forms across Gaelic speaking areas of Scotland. It has a slightly gruesome edge and an elaborate backstory!