Alasdair Fraser (fiddle, viola) Paul Machlis (piano, synthesizers) Tommy Hayes (bodhran) Todd Philips (bass) Ron Wilson (drums)
A classic album with widespread appeal. Alasdair Fraser and Paul Machlis together explore the breathtaking harmonic resonances of ancient Gaelic airs, with contemporary settings of tunes from the Reverend Patrick MacDonald's 1784 Collection of Highland Vocal Airs and Captain Simon Fraser's 1816 edition of Airs and Melodies Peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland and the Isles.
1 The Scolding Wives of Abertarff * I'll Break Your Head for You * Catch and Kiss the Romp * The Haggis These are all both songs and dances. According to Simon Fraser, the first tune "had its origin from an observation of the late parochial minister of Abertarff, who used to say that of a number of respectable people who lived there, they were never withut some disputes that embittered their lives, chiefly among the females. These must have run high when the minister christened the place by the epithet Little Hell". I'll Break Your Head for You comes from the Isle of Skye, in which one half of the dancers "preserve a posture of attack and the other half a posture of defence." The Haggis is described as a dance and song "wherein the piper compares his bag and chanter to a well stuffed haggis with its pin." 2 Eilean Beag Donn a' Chuain (Little Brown Island in the Sea) (Donald Morrison) A modern Gaelic song first published by Acair in 1982 in Eilean Fraoich (Lewis Gaelic Songs and Melodies). 3 Skye Dance 4 Nighean Donn a' Chuailean Riomhaich Learned from the Gaelic folk group Na h-Oganaich (Young Blood). 5 Ruileadh Cailleach, Sheatadh Cailleach (An Old Woman Would Reel, An Old Woman Would Set) * The Bird's Nest * Harris Dance The first tune is a very old port-a-beul (mouth music) song from the Isle of Barra. The Bird's Nest was taken from a recording of Cape Breton fiddler Angus Chisholm. He learned the tune from the singing of his mother, a native Gaelic speaker. 6 The JB Reel (J Murdoch Henderson) * The Shepherdess * The JB Reel The JB Reel comes from an anthology of tunes entitled Flowers of Scottish Melody, published in 1932 by J. Murdoch Henderson. The tune was written in honour of James B. Peterson of Cullen. 7 Harris Dance * Skye Dance * Lochiel's Awa' to France * Harris Dance Lochiel's Awa' to France is a popular old reel also known as Lochiel's Farewell to Isla and Lochiel's Rant. 8 A Nochd Gur Faoin mo Chadal Dhomh (Tonight my sleep will be restless) All arrangements by Fraser/Machlis, traditional unless credited. Produced by Alasdair Fraser, Paul Machlis and Oliver DiCiccio.