28 tracks: Bu chaoin leam bhith ’n Uibhist (Hugh Matheson) * An cuala sibh mar dh’èirich dhòmhs’ (Miss Bella MacPhail) * Guma slàn don ribhinn òig (Ewen Morrison) * Cailleach Mhòr Stadhlaigh (Fred Macaulay) * Tha bò dhubh agam (Mrs Marion Ann MacDonald) * Mo bhò dhubh mhòr (Roderick MacDonald) * Hud, a bhodaich (Roderick MacDonald) * ’Ghruagach dhonn a’ bhrollaich bhàin (Donald MacLean) * Òran an ròin (Rev William Matheson) * Òran an ròin (Miss Margaret MacLeod) * Òran na caillich (Andrew Laing) * Hóro, leannain, an cluinn thu (Roderick Macaulay) * Tunnag bhàn Mòire / An ràcan a bh’ agamsa (Ewen MacDonald) * An Eala Bhàn (Mrs Helen Morrison) * ’S ann mu thuath, fada tuath (Ewen Morrison) * ’S ann a-raoir a rinn mi ’n dàn seo (Hugh Matheson) * Tha mìle long air Cuan Èirinn (Mrs Marion Ann MacDonald) * Gur mis’ tha fo mhì-ghean (Donald MacLellan) * Hó, mo leannan, hé, mo leannan (Miss Bella MacPhail) * Bodaich odhar Hoghaigearraidh (Rev William Matheson) * Canntaireachd (Miss Kate MacCormick) * Òigh Loch nam Madadh (Donald MacLean) * A fhleasgaich òig as ceanalta (Mrs Helen Morrison) * O, gur e mo ghaol a’ lasgain (Roderick MacDonald) * Horó, chan eil cadal orm (Ronald John MacDonald) * Òran an radain (Mrs Rachel MacLeod) * Hì ho ró, mo ghruagach dhonn (Donald MacLean) * Thug mi ’n oidhche raoir san àirigh (Donald MacLean) * Chì mi Clèatrabhal bhuam (Angus MacDonald) * Bàs an Fhìrein (Mrs Rachel MacLeod) * A Mhàiri bhòidheach (Ronald John MacDonald
Review by David Kidman
This new release of archive material is the 25th in the Scottish Tradition series of recordings from The School Of Scottish Studies at the University Of Edinburgh and comes with all the attributes of previous volumes in the series: high-quality performances, fine remastering, authoritative choice of material and comprehensive notes and full texts (and perfectly effective near-translations) supplied within a typically chunky booklet – in other words, in accordance with usual excellent Greentrax house standards. The project’s editor, Margaret Callan, has clearly immersed herself fully in these recordings and her selection of 28 representative performances reflects her keen appreciation of, and deep affection for, the North Uist Gaelic song tradition as practised in the third quarter of the 20th century, just as the performances themselves reflect the singers’ unreserved natural respect for their own cultural heritage. The listener is provided with a unique opportunity to experience, under one roof as it were, the rich and extensive repertoire of the community, through the contrasting performances of men and women from different generations, embodying a diversity of local dialects and singing styles. The actual recordings date from between 1950 (four tracks by Donald MacLean: some a touch variable in sound quality but still acceptable) and 1975. Particularly impressive listening it all makes, although I might single out memorable moments provided by the Rev. William Matheson (Òran An Ròin), Mrs. Helen Morrison (the ballad An Eala Bhàn and the love song A Fhleasgaich Òig As Ceanalta) and Ronald John MacDonald (Horó, Chan Eil Cadal Orm), the latter two mentioned coming complete with chorus singers’ contributions. Nevertheless, there’s not a single performance here that’s not both compelling on its own terms and treasurable. Occasional curiosities like the fading-out of the final track and some deficiencies in technique – as on Miss Kate McCormick’s slightly strained rendition of a piping song (Canntaireachd) – are of course entirely forgivable in context of the importance of these recordings. The songs themselves don’t conform to any one category or group of categories and range from love songs, cradle songs and spiritual verse to humorous songs, from homeland songs to puirt-à-beul, milking and waulking songs. But whatever the category, the immediacy and integrity of each and every individual performance is palpable, and the disc’s 67 minutes seem to pass by in but a moment.
This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 04 March, 2014.