Album of The Week – Ross Ainslie ‘Vana’ 24 Oct 2020
Album of The Week – Ross Ainslie ‘Vana’ 24 Oct 2020
Vana – Artists featured
Ross Ainslie – Whistles, Cittern, Highland Pipes, C Small Pipes, Bansuri, /Greg Lawson – Fiddle / Paul Towndrow – Sax / Steve Byrnes – Acoustic Guitar and Drums / Hamish Napier – Keys and Harmonium / James Lindsay – Bass
Malcolm Jones – Electric Guitar (Track 9 and 10) / Duncan Chisholm – Fiddle (Track 8) / Steve Cooney – Acoustic Guitars and Bass (Track 8) / Damien O’Kane – Banjo (Track 1 and 6) / Graeme Stephen – Electric Guitar (Track 4) / Shahbaz Hussain – Tabla (11 and 12) / Matthew Noone – Sarod (Track 11 and 12) / Jock Urqhuart – Words (Track 13) / Cormac Byrne – Percussion / Eric Alfonso – Congas
All music was written by Ross Ainslie PRS/MCPS except Rapa Nui written by Ross Ainslie and Jamie Maclean.
Produced by Ross Ainslie / Andrea Bobbi and Steve Byrnes
Vana is the fourth solo album from multi-instrumentalist Ross Ainslie. Out on Friday 30th October 2020, Vana is named after a wellness retreat in India that Ross visited last year.
Drawing inspiration from the peace and recharging energy of his visit, Ross set to work writing and arranging this new body of work. Ross wanted the music on the album to reflect the feeling of allowing life to happen at the pace you want it to go, instead of being dictated by external factors.
Following on from his 2017 critically acclaimed album Sanctuary, Vana is to be consumed in the same way – continuously from beginning to end. Vana is a musical journey for the listener and draws influences from World Music, which is inspired by Ross’ work with bands Salsa Celtica and India Alba. Ross has also collaborated on the album with renowned saxophonist Paul Towndrow to give a jazz feel to some tracks, including ‘Absinthe in Aranya’.
Ross said: “Vana is the final product of a reflective journey towards self-preservation. I was beginning to feel burnt out with the pressures of touring, so I decided that I had to take a step back to breath and evaluate what direction I wanted my life to go in.
“I took myself away to the Vana Wellness Retreat in India which really helped me take some time to reflect and take stock of the life I have lived and the one I want to enjoy in the future. I started this album when I returned from my trip and I have taken my time with its development, focusing on musical aspects that are most important to me and giving each track the time and attention I feel they deserve.”
The opening track ‘Science of Life’ sets the scene for the musical journey the listener is about to embark. The track draws inspiration from one of Ross’ favourite tunes, ‘Song for Barry’ by the Becker Brothers. This opening track features the inimitable banjo playing of Damien O’Kane.
‘Rapa Nui’ is an adaptation of an older tune by Ross called ‘Easter Island’. Recorded first by Ross’ 12-piece band Treacherous Orchestra, this album’s version is the way that he intended it to sound when he wrote it in his early twenties.
‘Absinthe in Aranya’ features another older tune of Ross’ that he wrote on his 21st birthday called ‘Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder’. Recorded first on Ross and Jarlath Henderson’s first album Partners in Crime, he revisits it with a jazzier flavour and chord arrangement by Hamish Napier and James Lindsay. This track also features Graeme Stephen on electric guitar.
‘Wisdom in the Chaos’ features piping legend John Wilson on canntaireachd. Ross met John while teaching in Germany where they shared a few informal sessions where John sang Piobaireachd and Ross accompanied on whistle. It sparked the idea to have John record on this album. The tune he is singing is one of Ross’ which is in the piobaireachd style with a modern approach.
‘Hope in the Chaos’ features Runrig guitar maestro Malcolm Jones. Ross was delighted to have Malcolm on this track having been a fan of his for years. This track is depictive of the celtic-rock genre, a style of music that Ross grew up listening to.
Ross Ainslie is one of Scotland’s finest traditional musicians and composers, playing pipes, whistles and cittern. He is renowned for his highly acclaimed solo material, and as a skilled performer and prolific collaborator who performs regularly with bands Treacherous Orchestra (of which he is a founding member), Salsa Celtica, Dougie Maclean, Ali Hutton, Charlie Mckerron, Tim Edey, Jarlath Henderson and India Alba.
Ross Has also released Symbiosis 111 on 2 Oct 2020 – Artists Ros / Ali Hutton and Jenn Butterworth
Track Listings ‘Vana’
1. SCIENCE OF LIFE
2. WOUNDED FOREST
3. RAPA NUI
4. ABSINTHE IN ARANYA
5. EMERGENCY OPERATION
6. CROSS OF THREADS
7. HAPPY HIDEAWAY
8. GIFT OF GODS
9. WISDOM IN THE CHAOS
10. HOPE IN THE CHAOS
12. CONCRETE JUNGLE
13. MAYBE ANOTHER TIME
Bonus Track (on physical album only)
14. TUNE FOR EVERYONE
Some Previous Albums
Ross Ainslie & Jarlath Henderson – Partners In Crime 2008
Ross Ainslie – Wide Open 2013
Ross Ainslie – Sanctuary 2017
Ross Ainslie & Jarlath Henderson – Air Fix 2013
Ross Ainslie – Remembering – 2015
Ross Ainsley – Homemade Tunes 2016
Ross Ainslie & Ali Hutton – Symbiosis 2017
Ross Ainslie & Ali Hutton – Symbiosis 11 2018
Ross Ainslie & Ali Hutton & Jenn Butterworth – Symbiosis 111 2020