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Rough Guide

The Rough Guide To Scottish Music



Scotland's music is an evolving story of originality and musicianship evoking life in the highlands and islands, the farm, the tenements and now increasingly the cosmopolitan city streets. Celebrate the contemporary sounds of Lau, Admiral Fallow and Karine Polwart alongside classic craft from The Campbells Of Greepe and Kathleen MacInnes.

Compiled by Mary Ann Kennedy

The Rough Guide To Scottish Music

Scotland's modern social history has engendered the re-imagining of folk and traditional music to suit life amidst the mountains, on the farm or croft, up the close-stairs of city tenements and now as part of a modern, mobile and cosmopolitan world. This Rough Guide offers a contemporary view of Scotland's finest folk architects.

Contemporary trio Lau are named after the Orcadian word meaning 'natural light' and shed new rays of meaning on the Scottish repertoire. 'Butcher Boy' is a brooding track with gentle electronica post-production that subtly extends and warps their guitar, fiddle and accordion tones. Acoustic quartet Salt House sing 'Katie Cruel' accompanied by a chilling fiddle that echoes high in its tessitura before looping cellular minimal motifs.

Another traditional re-interpretation is contributed by the multi-generational family ensemble, The Campbells Of Greepe, one of the great dynasties of Gaelic music rooted in a part of the Isle of Skye famed for its musical connections. 'S&;igraveos Dhan An Abhainn' is Gaelic reworking of the 1867 African-American spiritual 'The Good Old Way', and inspired by the Coen Brothers' film, 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?'. Joy Dunlop &;amp Twelfth Day also give us an updated version of the traditionalwaulking(cloth-working) song 'Faca Sibh Raghaill Na Ailean?'. Driven by its steady beat, you can still imagine the women of the community working the tweed while making this laborious task pass the quicker in song.

Young traditional music champion Rona Wilkie has blended her dual musical heritage in classical and traditional music, working with her Norwegian-Swedish partner Marit F&;aumllt's l&;aringtmandola (a ten-string Nordic mandola) and a classical string quartet. Together they explore, in a beautiful slow air and joyous jig, music that belongs to both traditions and to the coastlines either side of the North Sea.

Illustrating the current blurring of borders between Scotland's folk and indie pop worlds, Glaswegians Admiral Fallow forge a path into this territory with their full-on track 'The Paper Trench', with an accessible sound that has seen them tread the UK's festival stages widely. Dundee's Anderson McGinty Webster Ward and Fisher have a vocal-rich sound of a similar arc, perhaps indicating that the distance from west to east Scottish coasts are not as transcontinentally American in their dimensions as some Scots would have you believe.

Celebrate the new folk radiating from Scotland's creative core with this Rough Guide album.

ADMIRAL FALLOW -The Glaswegian six-piece work layered vocals, hammering drums and propulsive guitars juxtaposing their mod-rock sensibilities with folk references.

BREABACH - Breabach are a contemporary folk ban made up of graduates from Scotland's finest music conservatoires.

KARINE POLWART -Karine crafts sensitive songs that tell stories of love, despair and rebellion.

LAU - This trio's unique vision has inspired their rich catalogue of reworked folk songs coloured through with subtle electronica.

ALASDAIRMACILLEBHÀIN (ALASDAIR WHYTE) -This young Gaelic singer hails from Salen village on the Isle of Mull

THE CAMPBELLS OF GREEPE -The Campbell family are a multi-generational family band of pipers and singers from a village called Greepe on the Isle of Skye.

FINLAY NAPIER & THE BAR ROOM MOUNTAINEERS -The line-up and sound is no-frills, with thick guitars and drums driving Finlay's rough and ready Scot singing voice.

RONA WILKIE AND MARIT FÄLT -Together this duo explore the folk of their homelands Scotland and Scandinavia.

AMWWF -The band was formed out of chance meetings at open mic nights: an organic arrangement that is reflected in their easy-going creative outlook.

RACHEL SERMANNI -Rachel's voice bears the influence of Eva Cassidy strongly and is accentuated by Sermanni's stylized guitar lines.

JOY DUNLOP & TWELFTH DAY - Twelfth Day are a Scottish folk duo featuring Catriona Price on fiddle and voice and Esther Swift on harp and voice.

KATHLEEN MACINNES -Kathleen sings in Gaelic (her first language) with pride and resolve.

EMILY SMITH - Emily's crystal clear voice soars atop sweet-toned fiddle, guitar and rhythm.

MÀNRAN-Mànran are a six-piece that contribute infectious up-beat folk.


THE CHAIR - The Chair are a riotous musical octet. On stage they mash together fiddles, banjos, drums and accordions with high rock energy.

SALT HOUSE - Salt House are an acoustic four-piece that draw on grassroots folk and contemporary influences.