Read about the albums below that have been selected in the Scots Trad Album of the Year Longlist 2017. Click on the links to find out more about each release. The Album of the Year will be unveiled at the most prestigious date in Scotland’s cultural calendar, the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Award ceremony on the 2nd December 2017. Tickets to attend are on sale from on 0300 300 1210 or by visiting www.paisley 2021.co.uk/events and can also be purchased via Paisley Arts Centre. Read about all the albums released in 2017.
|Artist Name||Mary Ann Kennedy|
|Album title||An Dàn Gaelic Songs for a Modern World|
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Showcasing Gaelic as a living, breathing language of today, ‘An Dàn’ is the debut solo album from broadcaster, writer, producer and award-winning musician, Mary Ann Kennedy. Mary Ann Kennedy is a much-loved and respected BBC Radio 3 personality at both a national and regional level, fronting major series and specials on world and traditional Scottish and Irish music. ‘An Dàn’ celebrates her Gaelic world of urban and rural, from the homeland to the diaspora, and is Mary Ann Kennedy’s first solo album.
Mary Ann Kennedy – aka Màiri Anna NicUalraig – was born 100 miles south of Ardgour in the multicultural and multilingual city of Glasgow. Glasgow, known as ‘Baile Mòr nan Gàidheal’ in Gaelic, literally means the ‘City of the Gaels’. Born into a family whose mother tongue was Gaelic, her mother, Kenna Campbell, grew up in a renowned family of tradition-bearers – The Campbells of Greepe on the Isle of Skye. Her father, Alasdair Kennedy’s home was the Hebridean island of Tiree.
‘An Dàn ’ is Mary Ann’s first voyage as a soloist, yet throughout, Mary Ann’s deep commitment to preserving Gaelic musical traditions is apparent. Mary Ann accomplishes this not only by re—creating what has gone before, but through new songs that help to shape its future. As Mary Ann so deftly writes, “The truest respect one can pay one’s culture and heritage is to make sure it’s a part of a continuum”.
For Mary Ann, who oftentimes refers to herself as an ‘urban Gael’, ‘An Dàn’ is a collection of Gaelic songs for the modern world. The word ‘Dàn’ translates as both ‘destiny’ or ‘fate’ as well as ‘song’. ‘Seinn, Horo, Seinn’ (Sing!) is the album’s opening track, a call to look forward to new ideas while honouring the past. The song started life as part of a commission for the Highland Festival, a seminal 90s event which gave rise to bands such as Mary Ann’s Cliar. The band won the all-time Best Album accolade at the inaugural Scots Trad Music Awards, and earned Mary Ann a Saltire Award. ‘Seinn, Horo, Seinn’ and ‘Eadar-Thìr’ (Between-Land) were both written and composed by Mary Ann. ‘Eadar-Thìr’ was inspired by St. Columba’s island of Iona, “Between the two: the edge of creation and heart of the world”.
As Mary Ann writes, “Songs of ... love and loss, nature and nurture, war and peace, spiritual and temporal, place and people... refracted through the facets of the linguistic prism that gives the Gaelic language and soul its particular outlook on the world and that gave rise to the unfathomable riches of our Gaelic song tradition... this is an album of present and future: this is my own ‘heart’s music’."
‘Òran do dh’Iain Dòmhnallach’ (Song for John MacDonald) is a setting of an exquisite elegy poem written by Irig MacDonald from the island of Tiree in honour of cousin and fellow islander John MacDonald who died saving the life of 2nd Lt. Jock Stewart at the battle of Arras in the Great War. It features a sample from a southern African Tswana song about homeland, reflecting Jock Stewart’s post-war life in South Africa and Ghana.
‘Mise Fhuair’ (I Have Won the Apple) and ‘Sìth na Coille’ (Forest’s Peace) were both authored by one of Gaeldom’s most revered poets, Aonghas MacNeacail. Mary Ann’s songwriting took off through her work with Aonghas, with whom she also created ‘Aiseag’ (The Ferryboat) for the first UK New Music Biennial in 2014. Mary Ann regards Aonghas as one of her greatest artistic influences as well as a friend and mentor.
Other Gaelic poetry on ‘An Dàn’ also features poetry from Mary Ann’s cousin Catriona Montgomery on ‘Dàn Ùr do Fhlòraidh NicNìll’ (A New Song for Flora MacNeil); Aonghas Pàdraig Caimbeul with ‘Gràdh Geal Mo Chridhe’ (My True Love) and George Campbell Hay for ‘Air Leathad Slèibhe’ (On a Hill-land Slope).
The last song on ‘An Dàn ’, ‘Grioglachan’ (Constellation), deserves special mention. ‘Grioglachan’ is a poignant song of praise and dedication to cousin, godmother and singing soul-sister of Mary Ann, Maggie Macdonald, who died from cancer in 2016. Maggie sang in Mary Ann’s choir as well as being a founder member of Cliar, and the words were written by fellow chorister, Marcas Mac an Tuairneir. Mary Ann reflects, “We gathered in the town, hundreds of us, and sang our breaking hearts out. Madge loved to watch the stars: Marcas sets a new star in the sky… sparkling silver as ever.”
String quartet, samples and soundscapes, choral richness, guitars, uilleann pipes and strings provide the sweeping journey of ‘An Dàn’. All liner notes written in both in Gaelic with English translations. ‘An Dàn’ is being released worldwide on July 28th through ARC Music.
|Label Name||ARC Music|