Album of The Week ‘These Are The Hands’ Alexander McCall Smith & James Ross 22nd June 2019
Album of the Week -Alexander McCall Smith & James Ross ‘These Are The Hands’
Artists appearing on this album – James Ross/ Michelle Burke/ Kathleen MacInnes / Alexander McCall Smith / Leo Forde / Liam Bradley / Patsy Reid / Ryan Young / Su-a Lee / Euan Burton / John Kenny / Ryan Quigley / Mikey Owens – Produced by Calum Malcolm
An album of new songs and music with words by Alexander McCall Smith and music composed by James Ross. These Are The Hands explores Scotland’s relationship with the sea and the land, including themes such as immigration, emigration, ship building, fishing and mining. James plays piano and Alexander narrates.
The music and the songs celebrate the presence of the sea in Scottish life, past and present. The sea has to a great extent defined the Scottish character: nowhere in Scotland is far from the coast; the sea gives us our weather, our skies, and, even today, an important part of our livelihood. Influenced by Scottish traditional music, the new compositions convey a sense of just how the sea has made its mark on the people of Scotland.
A number of the songs look back at Scotland’s previous maritime experience. These include earlier times – the sea crossings of early saints and the sea roving of Vikings. Others have a more recent setting – as in the case of Shetland whalers and the young crew of a corvette on North Atlantic duty in the Second World War. The historical circumstances may vary, but the nature of the sea itself, its pull, its warnings, its perils have been the same throughout the ages.
The music and lyrics also explore the relationship that people have had with the land. Alexander and James explore the story of the Scottish coal miner and depict the hardship of pit work through song and instrumental music.
In Summer 2015 the songs were performed at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival as part of Made in Scotland and received high praise by reviewers:
“Though steeped in Celtic tradition, elements of jazz, blues and classical music could also be found in Ross’s lyrical, sometimes wistful score, and the music as well as the words tell tales of Scotland’s history. The singers, Michelle Burke and Kathleen MacInnes are gifted storytellers, who beautifully communicated the emotions and narrative of McCall Smith’s rich and expressive lyrics.”
(The Herald Scotland)
1. The Waves Bear The Saints
2. On Clouds Over Mull
3. The Great Michael
4. Forth Bridge
5. The Vikings Sing Thweir Tribute
6. Built On The Clyde
7. You Are Far Away
9. Miner’s Hymn
10. Cutty Sark
11. Corvette Returning
12. Silver Darlings