Album of The Week – The Woods by Hamish Napier 28th March 2020
Listen in at 12 pm on Saturday 28 March 2020 when you will hear Liz Clark in conversation with Hamish about this stunning new album – The Woods
The Woods was released on 20th March 2020. The album follows on from the previous 2 albums, River (2016) and The Railway (2018). Hamish plans to release two more albums, The Hill and The Sky in 2022 and 2024, respectively. Together the five albums will form a pentology of music inspired by Hamish’s’ native Strathspey. Each album represents one of the a ‘classical elements’ – water, fire, earth, wind and aether. They were believed to be the building blocks of matter and the natural world by numerous ancient cultures (Greece, India, Persia, Japan, Tibet and others). The pentology is an epic musical journey that will end up taking a decade to complete. Hamish pleased to say ‘I’m now more than half way there!’
Who plays on it?
‘The Woods is a massive 20 track album that is 1 hour 6 minutes long. It contains exclusively my own material (25 new original folk tunes). It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever made, taking 11 months to research, compose and arrange. I interviewed local wildlife experts, foresters and their families, and delved into some great old local history books and tree guides. It took over 300 hours in the studio to record and mix. I’ve incorporated sounds recorded in the forest: wind, water, birds, axes, saws, roaring stags and sparring capercaillies. It features a stellar cast of musicians: Ross Ainslie, Jarlath Henderson, Innes Watson, Su-a Lee, James Lindsay, Calum MacCrimmon and Steven Byrnes. It was co-produced and beautifully recorded by maverick soundsmith Andrea Gobbi.’
What’s it about?
/For The Woods, I have used the Scottish Gaelic alphabet, which is centred around Scotland’s native trees, to explore the folklore, natural and social heritage of Strathspey. I’ve composed tunes for all 18 Gaelic letters. There’s also music for the people who lived in the woods locally, and who explored, worked, foraged, mused, trained, flourished and died there. I explored the flora and fauna of the Caledonian forest, riparian woods, montane scrub and other woodlands, in particular the properties and uses of our twenty or so native trees’.
It includes a 28-page, 6000-word booklet with native tree facts and Highland folklore; a beautifully detailed drawing of the Caledonian forest by Somhairle MacDonald; and stunning landscape photography by David Russell at Highland Wildscapes.
The Woods is sponsored by Cairngorms Connect a partnership of neighbouring land managers, committed to a bold and ambitious 200-year vision to enhance habitats, species and ecological processes across a vast area within the Cairngorms National Park. My music marks the beginning of this momentous nature project and I am very proud as a local artist to play a small part in the epic goal of Cairngorms Connect. You can read more on their amazing website here
- The Pioneer
- The Capercaillie Rant / An Taghan
- The Tree Blessings
- The Tree of Luck
- Myconrrhiza / The Tree of Life
- The Tree of Life / The Lightening Tree
- The Broortree
- The Tree of Knowledge
- Forest Folk
- Hawthorn River / Theitches Tree
- The Shiled Tree / The Trembling Tree
- The Tree of Love
- The Tree of Magic / Venus of the Woods
- The Foragers
- The Tree of the Return
- The Tree of the Underworld
- The march of the LUmberjills
- The Regeneration march / Little Berry of The Moors
- Cappercaillies at the ‘lek’