Album of The Week – Lauren MacColl – ‘Landskein’ 29th Aug 2020
This weeks Album of the Week is Lauren MacColl’s Landskein – tune in at 12pm on Saturday 29th August 2020 when Lauren will be in conversation with Auntie Liz about the album
Lauren MacColl is considered one of Scotland’s most expressive fiddle players. Her performances are emotive, engaging and informed by an equal helping of tradition and technique. From the Black Isle, she studied music in Glasgow before returning home to the Highlands where she draws much of her musical inspiration. A founder member of both chamber-folk quartet RANT and song-trio Salt House, Lauren also performs with Rachel Newton’s band and in a duo with Calum Stewart. In 2017 she was commissioned by Fèis Rois to write a suite of music based on the life and prophecies of the Brahan Seer. Premiered at Celtic Connections, the music was released as an album to critical acclaim.
Lauren was fiddle tutor for RCS Junior Conservatoire for over a decade, continues to teach her own students and community groups, and runs the Black Isle Fiddle Weekend for adult learners each year.
Her work as a session musician on viola and fiddle as seen her record for a wide variety of artists across the Scottish music scene. In 2019 she realised a book of her own tunes titled ‘To The North…’ and toured the Seer across major Scottish venues.
The title of Lauren MacColl’s Landskein, suggests a thread or yarn in which the lifelines of a landscape, people, stories and memories are richly intertwined. The central thread of this skein traces the lifeline of L:auren MacColl herself, making her homeward journey to the Highlands, finding her place, awakening her senses in the hills and reconnecting with the taproot of the tradition that nurtured her. Her work reflects a personal journey through many layers of experience, a subjective view of multiple horizons, a singular interpretation of ancient melodies that have been shaped and reshaped by many hands.
The album was recorded on location in Abriachan Hall – a small, crinkly tin-roofed building known for its fine acoustics and ceilidhs, high in the hills above Loch Ness – the very place Lauren MacColl first remembers hearing the elemental and enchanting power of unaccompanied fiddle.
In a world of highly produced music, social media, flashing images, constant chatter and noise, this recording – of almost entirely solo traditional airs – is an uncompromising and rare delight. Bold in its simplicity, Landskein doesn’t call attention to itself, yet is quietly rebellious in its intent. The only addition is the sparse, subtle, sensitive accompaniment of pianist James Ross, giving Lauren MacColl’s exquisite fiddle lines harmonic lift and ground.
The Highland landscape that Lauren MacColl’s Landskein evokes has inspired many writers, poets, artists and musicians to creatively express something of this place, each contributing to its weave and texture.
2018 MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards Album of the Year (Shortlist)
2017 MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards Composer of the Year Nominee
2009 MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards Instrumentalist of the Year Winner
2008 ‘Classic Album’ at Celtic Connections for ‘When Leaves Fall’
2005 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award Winner
- Air Mullach Beinn Fhuathais (On Top of Ben Wyvis)
Source – The Airs and Melodies of the Highlands of Scotland Volume 2 – Captain Simon Fraser
- Put the Gown Upon the Bishop
Source – Gow’s 3rd Repository
This melody is attributed to a satirical song published in James Johnson’s Scots Musical
Museum, vol. 5 (1797) which refers to the infamous Jenny Geddes – famed for throwing a stool
at the minister’s head in St Giles Cathedral in 1637.
- Mo Chràdhghal Bochd (Sad and Heartsore My Weeping)
Source – song composed by Màiri nighean Alasdair Ruaidh (1615–c. 1707). From the singing of Deirdre Graham, Breakish, Skye.
This song is also known as Lament for Sir Norman MacLeod, and in one verse depicts a grief so
sore, her eyelashes fell out….. “ ‘S e bhith smuaineachadh ort, A chràidh mi am chorp, Is a
chnàmh na roisg bho m’ shùil ( It is thinking of you, That has tortured my body, And wasted the
lashes from my eyes) “
- MacGregor of Roro’s Lament
Source – Patrick MacDonald Collection
- Mrs McIntosh of Raigmore
Source – William Christie Collection
- A’ Cheapach na Fàsach (Keppoch Desolate)
Source – The Airs and Melodies Peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland and The Isles Volume 1 – Captain Simon Fraser
- ‘Ial, Ial’, Ars’ a’ Chailleach / Bodachan a’ Ghàrraidh (“Ial, Ial”, Said the Old Woman / Old Man
of the Garden)
Source – The singing of; 1) Rona Lightfoot and 2) Maeve Mackinnon
- Sproileag (An Untidy Witch)
Source – Gesto collection of Highland music
- Iorram Iomraimh ( A Rowing Time Piece)
The Airs and Melodies Peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland and The Isles Volume 1 – Captain Simon Fraser
- Pentland Hills
Source – Caledonian Pocket Companion, Book 12 – James Oswald
- Là Dhomh ‘s Mi Dìreadh Bealaich (One Day as I Climbed the Hill)
Source – The Inverness Collection of Highland Mus