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Contemporary Gaelic Songwriting Residency

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Contemporary Gaelic Songwriting Residency

The Contemporary Gaelic Songwriting Residency is a Gaelic language and music mentoring project linked to the Gaelic literary festival, Leabhar ‘s Craic.

Through a unique collaborative mentoring process an album of original Gaelic songs by Willie Campbell and Calum Martin will be launched at the festival in March 2014.

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Ceòl ‘s Craic @ Leabhar ‘s Craic

22 March 2014

 

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This event showcased the results of two songwriting initiatives instigated by Ceòl ’s Craic. (www.ceolscraic.org)

The first part of the evening featured young musicians from Glasgow’s East End who have been exploring Gaelic music and culture aided by a stellar mentoring team.

Patsi MacKenzie, our MC for the evening, was joined onstage by Margaret Nicolson, a key player in the project, to introduce MIMA, a five piece band who gave their version of headliner Willie Campbell’s song “M’anam Trom”.

Next up were a trio of rappers. The audience erupted when half way through their rhyming they burst into a Gaelic rap.

They were followed by a young girls choir who delighted the audience with their rendition of “Tha mi Sgìth”.

Bobbi and Morgane performed their own composition “S Tu Mo Rùn” and

the final act was vocal group Eastenders who performed an English/Gaelic version of “Skyscraper”.

This first half of the show was brought to a close with all the kids and mentors taking to the stage for a rousing version of “He Mandu”.

There followed a brief conversation between Patsi and Gaelic music champion Calum Martin who talked about his role in the writing initiative which has resulted in the album “Dalma” by Willie Campbell.

A short film on the project was produced by Fraser Purdie:

http://youtu.be/Op3thVF_6Wo

Campbell, fronting a powerhouse four piece band, launched into “Fir Chlis” a slice of 60′s inspired melodic pop. This was followed by the hypnotic,bass driven “Grunnd Na Mara” which in turn was followed by a stripped down interpretation of bluegrass legends The Louvin Brothers’, “Nearer My God To Thee”.

Campbell’s eclectic influences were evident throughout his set but the whole is bound together by his passionate delivery and love of melody.

Musical collaborator Calum Martin joined Willie and the band to close the evening with the anthemic “Sàmhach”.

This album launch is another milestone for Ceòl ’s Craic as it’s the first release on our new Ceòl ’s Craic record label.

Copies of “Dalma” available now from our website shop.

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Ceòl ‘s Craic @ Leabhar ‘s Craic

 

Bha a’ chuirm seo a’ taisbeanadh toraidhean dà iomairt sgrìobhaidh òrain a chur Ceòl ’s Craic air bhonn. a chur air bhonn le Ceòl ’s Craic. (www.ceolscraic.org)

Bha a’ chiad phàirt den fheasgar a’ nochdadh luchd-ciùil òg bho Thaobh Sear Ghlaschu, a tha air a bhith a’ sgrùdadh ceòl is cultar na Gàidhlig le cuideachadh is stiùireadh bho sgioba comhairleachaidh air leth.

Air an àrd-ùrlar còmhla ri bean an taighe, Patsi NicChoinnich, bha prìomh ghnìomhaiche na pròiseict, Mairead NicNeacail, airson MIMA a chur an aithne don luchd-èisteachd, còmhlan-ciùil de chòignear a thug dhuinn an tionndadh fhèin de dh’òran Willie Caimbeul, “M’anam Trom”.

An uair sin air àrd-ùrlar bha còmhlan-triùir rapairean. Chòrd e gu mòr ris an luchd-èisteachd nuair a thionndaidh iad letheach-slighe gu rap sa Ghàidhlig.

A’ leantainn orrasan bha còisir de nigheanan òga a chòrd ris an luchd-èisteachd leis an òran aca,“Tha mi Sgìth”.

Chuir Bobbi agus Morgane am blas fhèin air “S Tu Mo Rùn”, an t-òran a sgrìobh iad fhèin.

B’ e am buidheann seinn Eastenders a bh’ air àrd-ùrlar mu dheireadh le tionndadh Gàidhlig/Beurla de “Skyscraper”.

Thugadh a’ chiad leth seo den chuirm-chiùil gu deireadh leis a’ chlann agus an luchd-cuideachaidh aca a’ gabhail chun an àrd-ùrlair airson tionndadh brosnachail de “Hè Mandu”.

Bha còmhradh goirid ann an uair sin eadar Patsi agus an gaisgeach ciùil Gàidhlig, Calum Màrtainn, a bha a’ bruidhinn mu dheidhinn a dhleastanas anns an iomairt sgrìobhaidh a bha air toradh anns a’ chlàr “Dalma” le Willie Caimbeul.

Chaidh film mun phroiseact a chruthachadh le Fraser Purdie:

http://youtu.be/Op3thVF_6Wo

Chaidh an Caimbeulach agus a chòmhlan-ciùil spreagail de cheathrar dìreach a-steach do “Fir Chlis”, sliseag de cheòl fonnmhor pop air a bhrosnachadh le ceòl nan 60an. Às dèidh sin, thàinig “Grunnd Na Mara” le taic làidir bhon bheus, agus leanadh seo le mìneachadh grinn de “Nearer My God To Thee” leis an luchd-ciùil ainmeil bluegrass, Na Bràithrean Louvin.

Bha buadhan roghainneach a‘ Chaimbeulaich follaiseach tron t-seat aige air fad ach bha an coileanadh iomlan fighte-fuaighte tro liubhairt dìoghrasach agus a mheas air fonn.

Chaidh an co-oibriche ciùil, Calum Màrtainn, air àrd-ùrlar còmhla ri Willie agus a chòmhlan gus an oidhche a thoirt gu crìch leis an òran làoidheil “Sàmhach”.

Is e clach-mhìle eile a th’ anns an fhoillseachadh seo do Cheòl ’s Craic oir ’s e a’ chiad chlàr a chaidh a sgaoileadh fo ainm chlàran Ceòl ’s Craic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When Alex Macdonald at An Lanntair, Stornoway suggested a couple of years ago that Willie and I should get together and write some new contemporary Gaelic songs I was a bit sceptical at first, as I had more or less come to the conclusion that no one in this new generation of young Gaelic songwriters was interested in the style of music which I had grown up with and had become such a feature of my musical landscape.

I have always believed that Gaelic was, and is, such a musical language that it should never be restricted in any way to only certain styles.

I had never heard Willie’s music with his group Astrid until this point, but when I did I was amazed at its 60s influenced sound, it was infectious, and I knew that here was someone who could re-awaken in me the desire to be involved with this kind of songwriting once again.

It was in early 2013 that we embarked on our first Gaelic collaboration, this was a very personal song to Willie, and I knew he was a bit concerned that it would retain that special and emotional character the English song lyric and music had already conveyed.

It was given its first public airing at the Ceol is Craic concert in Glasgow where Ishbel Murray was sufficiently enthused about it to suggest that we should now make an album together, and she even volunteered to do the hard slog of getting funding etc. together.

I had always previously worked as a solo songwriter so this was a new departure for me and with the further complication, that a good number of Willie’s songs had already been written in English, there was the additional translation process to go through to make the Gaelic sound authentic, without taking anything away from the story of the song (no mean task), loads of lines and phrases had to change, which might then mean that the melody had to be altered to make it flow better and finally Willie had to sing it without sounding wooden or unnatural., and I must have driven him crazy at times with my insistence on redoing it until he got the Gaelic as good and as natural sounding as we could get it. But never once did he complain!!

I was taken further aback when Willie came to the studio one day and said he would like me to translate one of the Louvin Brothers songs as a possible album track, one of my own all time favourite harmony sounds, which even predated and influenced the fabulous Every Brothers. If I ever had any doubts about this album before, they were gone after that, and the rest (as they say) is history.

Calum Martin

 

 

Nuair a mhol Ailig Dòmhnallach san Lanntair o chionn bliadhna no dhà gum bu chòir dhomh fhìn agus Willie obrachadh còmhla agus òrain Ghàidhlig ùra cho-aimsireil a sgrìobhadh, bha mi caran eas-creidmheach an toiseach oir bha mi cha mhòr air a thighinn gun cho-dhùnadh nach robh ùidh aig neach sam bith den ghinealach ùr seo de luchd-sgrìobhaidh òrain Ghàidhlig anns an stoidhle ciùil leis an robh mise air fàs suas agus a bha air a thighinn gu bhith cho cudromach san t-sealladh ciùil agam.

 Tha mi air a bhith a’ creidsinn a-riamh gun robh agus gu bheil a’ Ghàidhlig na cànan cho ceòlmhor ’s nach bu chòir a cuingealachadh ann an dòigh sam bith gu stoidhlichean àraid.

 Cha robh mi air ceòl Willie leis a’ bhuidheann Astrid a chluinntinn a-riamh gu ruige seo, ach nuair a rinn bha mi làn iongantais gun robh am fuaim aige cho mòr fo bhuaidh nan 60an, bha e gabhaltach agus bha fios agam gun robh neach an seo a b’ urrainn miann ath-dhùsgadh annam a bhith an sàs anns an t-seòrsa seo de sgrìobhadh òrain uair eile. 

 B’ ann tràth ann an 2013 a thòisich sinn air a’ chiad cho-obrachadh againn ann an Gàidhlig,  bha seo na òran glè phearsanta do Willie agus tha fios agam gun robh beagan dragh air nach gleidheadh e an caractar speisealta is faireachdainneil a bha na briathran ann am Beurla ’s an ceòl air a lìbhrigeadh roimhe.

Chaidh a chur air beulaibh an t-sluaigh airson a’ chiad uair aig cuirm-chiùil Ceòl ’s Craic ann an Glaschu far an robh Iseabail Mhoireach air a beò-ghlacadh leis chun na h-ìre ’s gun do mhol i gum bu chòir dhuinn clàr a dhèanamh còmhla, agus thairg i fiù an obair chruaidh a dhèanamh a thaobh togail maoineachaidh is eile.

 Bha mi a-riamh air a bhith ag obair mar aon-neach a’ sgrìobhadh òrain agus mar sin b’ e nì glè ùr a bha seo dhomh a thuilleadh air an toinneamh eile a bh’ ann gun robh àireamh mhòr de dh’òrain Willie air an sgrìobhadh sa Bheurla mar-thà, bha pròiseas eadar-theangachaidh ri dhol troimhe gus am fuaim Gàidhlig a dhèanamh creidsinneach gun dad a thoirt air falbh bho sgeul an òrain (cha b’ e obair shoirbh a bha seo), bha aig tòrr mòr loidhnichean is abairtean rin atharrachadh a dh’fhaodadh ciallachadh gum feumadh am fonn atharrachadh cuideachd da rèir gus am biodh e siubhlach, agus mu dheireadh bha aig Willie ri a sheinn gun a bhith mì-fhaireachdainneil no mì-nàdarrach, agus tha fios gun do chuir mi craicte e aig amannan ’s mi a’ sìor iarraidh a dhèanamh a-rithist gus an d’ fhuair e a’ Ghàidhlig cho math agus cho nàdarrach ’s a ghabhadh dèanamh. Ach cha do ghearain e aon turas !!

Ghabh mi iongnadh nuair a thàinig Willie don stiuidio aon latha agus thuirt e gum bu toil leis nan eadar-theangaichinn aon de dh’òrain nam Bràithrean Louvin a dh’fhaodadh a bhith mar aon trac air clàr, aon de na fuaimean co-sheirm a b’ fheàrr leam fhìn a-riamh, a thàinig ro agus a thug buaidh fiù air na Bràithrean mìorbhaileach Everley.  Ma bha teagamhan sam bith agam mun chlàr seo roimhe, dh’fhalbh iad às dèidh sin agus tha an còrr (mar a chanas iad) na eachdraidh.  

Calum Martainn

 

 

Dalma Album Cover

Ishbel Murray at Ceòl ‘s Craic suggested that Calum and I do something together in Gaelic after playing on the same bill at their monthly event at the CCA. Unrelated to that, Alex Macdonald at An Lanntair had been making similar suggestions for a few years; the two of us working together seemed like an inevitability. I had a song I thought might lend itself well to Gaelic – very personal lyrically. I thought the change in language might take some of the emotion out of it – it didn’t as it happens – it’s track 6 on the album. Calum did a translation and I learnt something important about how that process works…. a literal translation sometimes doesn’t sound great. Calum changed some phrases, I in turn changed the melody to fit the Gaelic and the number of syllables and it all came together fairly easily – it was a useful lesson. We got to work on some more songs but both had other things to finish off – we were always chipping away over the months and the song list came together. We didn’t have a set way of working – I had some full songs that Calum translated or, as my cousin Duncan puts it, ‘retold’. Calum had some musical ideas I wrote some melodies and words for. We basically had a lot of fun and did what we thought was best for the songs, for me that meant ditching guitar ideas in the studio that I’d worked on or ideas each of us thought would be great not making it onto the album. I think it’s all worked out well. We are both all about getting the very best out of a tune, ditching parts we worked hard on being the price for that.

Singing in Gaelic feels pretty natural to me. I’m not approaching it as anything other than a language. Although I’m not fluent, I was raised around Gaelic speaking but not so much the music, ( Status Quo and 60’s compilations got played on our record player). I’m one of those people that will understand what’s being said but don’t feel confident enough to answer in Gaelic. It’s been great knowing I can approach the actual performance the same way as an English song, for me that is generally screwing my face up and belting it out. Not very technical. I was in a group called Astrid – we were together from the late 90’s up to 2004. We were good friends with a Welsh band we toured with Called Big Leaves. They suggested we do a split single, Welsh and Gaelic. We dismissed the idea. I thought we were cooler than we were. Gaelic seemed a bit fusty to me – I was wrapped up in a musical scene we weren’t really part of, the bottom line is it would just have not looked very cool. Of course, with hindsight it would have been a very interesting and unexpected thing to do and could potentially have opened up our career as a band, partly other people’s opinions stopped us I suppose. Now I’m a bit older I have a lot less of that baggage. I don’t expect everyone to enjoy this album but I do hope my enthusiasm for singing in Gaelic and for these songs is apparent. Someone without Gaelic can enjoy this set of songs. Tony Doogan has done a great job mixing, I hope there is something for everyone.

I have a lovely piano I still can’t play, my music room is full of push chair and plastic stuff normally. It’s magnificent. As a result it meant I wrote a couple of these songs in my car. Out at Cuddy point, Stornoway to be precise – every time another car came I felt really resentful and annoyed. Did they not know I was doing something important?

I wrote some music for Grunnd na Mara out on the Pentland Road – it wasn’t very good. The car didn’t always work. Sometimes just an empty house and coffee is best. I scrapped my first attempt at putting music to Kevin’s great words, sat in my kitchen and got something better. The first song that Calum and I did together in Gaelic was written on a grey day looking out the window sitting with my guitar. Tolsta can be a bit heavy feeling but also very beautiful and inspiring. It features in the lyrics of the album often, particularly the Traigh Mhòr. A breathtaking place in any weather.

I’ve really enjoyed working with Calum, we have similar tastes musically. Although he seemed surprised I was so into the Louvin Brothers, their version of Nearer My God To Thee is something incredible. I knew listening to it that there would be space in the melody for Gaelic words, so why not? Calum’s translation is great. Musically I wanted to keep it as close to the original as possible. Calum’s friend in Nashville, Scott, made sure of that.

I’ve included 2 songs with English vocal takes at the end of the album, just for anyone listening that is interested in hearing how the songs develop when translated. Thank you for buying this album.

W

 

Mhol Iseabail Mhoireach aig Ceòl ‘s Craic gun dèanainn fhìn agus Calum rudeigin còmhla ann an Gàidhlig an dèidh dhuinn a bhith a’ cluich air an aon phrògram aig an tachartas mhìosail aca san CCA.  Gun  a bhith ceangailte ris an sin idir,  bha Ailig Dòmhnallach san Lanntair air a bhith a’ dèanamh na h-aon mholaidhean thar beagan bhliadhnaichean; bha coltas ann gun robh an dithis againn ag obair còmhla gu bhith do-sheachanta.  Bha òran agam a bha mi den bheachd a bhiodh freagarrach sa Ghàidhlig  – glè phearsanta a thaobh liricean.  Bha mi a’ smaoineachadh gum faodadh an t-atharrachadh sa chànan pàirt den fhaireachdainn a thoirt às – ach cha tug. ’S e Trac 6 air a’ chlàr a th’ ann.  Dh’eadar-theangaich Calum e agus dh’ionnsaich mi nì a bha cudromach mu dheidhinn mar a tha am pròiseas sin ag obair ….  chan eil eadar-theangachadh litireil gu mòran feum glè thric.  Dh’atharraich Calum cuid de na h-abairtean, dh’atharraich mise am fonn gus freagradh e air a’ Ghàidhlig agus air an àireamh de lididhean,  agus thàinig e gu chèile gun strì – b’ e leasan feumail a bh’ ann dhomh. Fhuair sinn cothrom air obrachadh air tuilleadh òrain ach bha nithean eile aig an dithis againn ri chrìochnachadh – ach bha sinn a’ cumail a’ dol beag air bheag thar nam mìosan gus mu dheireadh thàinig an liosta de dh’òrain gu chèile.  Cha robh dòigh obrach shònraichte againn – bha cuid de dh’òrain slàn agam a bha Calum air eadar-theangachadh no,  mar tha chanas mo cho-ogha Donnchadh ‘air ath-aithris’.  Bha beachdan ciùil aig Calum agus sgrìobh mi fuinn agus facail dhaibh.  Bha tòrr spòrs againn agus rinn sinn mar a bha sinn an dùil a b’ fheàrr leis agus do na h-òrain,  dhòmhsa bha sin a’ ciallachadh tilgeil às bheachdan giotàir san stiuidio air an robh mi air a bhith ag obair, no beachdan a bha an dithis againn an dùil a bhiodh fìor mhath gun a bhith air a’ chlàr.  Tha mi a’ smaoineachadh gun do dh’obraich e a-mach math.  Tha sinn le chèile airson nas urrainn dhuinn fhaighinn a-mach à fonn, agus tha  tilgeil às phìosan air na dh’obraich sinn cruaidh na thoradh air an sin.

Tha seinn ann an Gàidhlig a’ faireachdainn gu math nàdarrach dhomh.  Chan eil mi a’ tighinn thuige ann an dòigh sam bith eile ach mar chànan. Ged nach eil mi fileanta, chaidh mo thogail an lùib luchd-labhairt na Gàidhlig ach cha robh ceòl cho cudromach (b’ e Status Quo agus co-chruinneachaidhean nan 60an a bhiodhte a’ cluich air a’ chluicheadair chlàran againn).  Tha mise mar neach a thuigeas dè thathar ag ràdh ach chan eil mi a’ faireachdainn misneachail gu leòr freagairt ann an Gàidhlig. Tha e anabarrach math a bhith a’ tuigsinn gum faod mi an taisbeanadh àrd-ùrlair a làimhseachadh san aon dòigh ri òran ann am Beurla,  dhòmhsa tha sin a’ ciallachadh a bhith a’ cur drèin air m’aodann agus ga leigeil a-mach gu sgairteil.  Chan eil e uabhasach teicnigeach.  Bha mi ann am buidheann leis an ainm Astrid – bha sinn còmhla bho dheireadh nan 90an suas gu 2004. Bha sinn glè chàirdeil le còmhlan Cuimreach agus chaidh sinn air chuairt le Called Big Leaves.  Mhol iadsan dhuinn clàr a dhèanamh eatarainn ann an Cuimris is Gàidhlig.  Cha do ghabh sinn ris a’ bheachd. Bha mi den bheachd gun robh sinn nas fhasanta na sin.  Bha a’ Ghàidhlig dhòmhsa rudeigin seann-fhasanta – bha mi air mo bheò-ghlacadh ann an saoghal ciùil de nach buineadh sinn ann an da-rìribh, b’ e cnag na cùise nach biodh e a’ coimhead uabhasach ‘cool’.  Gun teagamh, a’ coimhead air ais bha e air a bhith na nì a bhiodh glè inntinneach agus gun dùil ris, agus dh’fhaodadh gun robh e air dreuchd-beatha fhosgladh a-mach dhuinn mar chòmhlan, tha mi a’ creidsinn gun do chuir beachdan dhaoine eile stad oirnn ann am pàirt. A-nis agus gu bheil mi beagan nas sine, chan eil uimhir de dhragh agam mu na nithean sin.  Chan eil mi a’ dùileachadh gun còrd an clàr seo ris a h-uile duine ach tha mi an dòchas gu bheil an dealas a th’ agam follaiseach a thaobh seinn ann an Gàidhlig agus do na h-òrain.  Faodaidh neach gun Ghàidhlig tlachd fhaighinn às an t-seata òrain seo. Tha Tony Doogan air obair mhath a dhèanamh den mheasgachadh, tha mi an dòchas gu bheil rud ann do gach neach.

Tha piàna brèagha agam nach urrainn dhomh a chluich fhathast, tha an seòmar ciùil agam gu h-àbhaisteach làn de stuth agus dèideagan chloinne. Tha e mìorbhaileach.  Mar thoradh air an sin, tha e a’ ciallachadh gun do sgrìobh mi òran no dhà anns a’ chàr agam.  A-muigh aig rubha Cuddy, ann an Steòrnabhagh – a h-uile turas a thigeadh càr eile bha mi a’ faireachdainn gu math searbh agus mì-thoilichte.  Nach robh fios aca idir gun robh mi a’ dèanamh rudeigin cudromach?

Sgrìobh mi beagan ciùil dha Grunnd na Mara a-muigh air rathad a’ Phentland – cha robh e uabhasach math. Chan obraicheadh an càr an-còmhnaidh.  Uaireannan, ’s e taigh falamh agus cofaidh as fheàrr.  Thilg mi às a’ chiad oidhirp agam air a bhith a’ cur ceòl ri briathran mìorbhaileach Chaoimhin, shuidh mi sa chidsin agus rinn mi rudeigin na b’ fheàrr.  Chaidh a’ chiad òran a rinn mi fhìn agus Calum còmhla a sgrìobhadh air latha dorch a’ coimhead a-mach air an uinneig ’s mi nam shuidhe leis a’ ghiotàr.  Faodaidh Tolstadh a bhith a’ faireachdainn caran trom ach aig an aon àm fìor bhòidheach is brosnachail.  Tha e a’ nochdadh anns na liricean sa chlàr tric,  gu h-àraid an Tràigh Mhòr.  Àite iongantach ann an aimsir sam bith.

Tha e air còrdadh rium gu mòr a bhith ag obair còmhla ri Calum,  tha an aon seòrsa ùidh againn ann an ceòl.  Ged a bha iongantas air gum bu toil leam na Bràithrean Louvin cho mòr, tha an tionndadh acasan de Nearer My God To Thee mar nì a tha do-chreidsinneach.  Bha fios agam nuair a bha mi ag èisteachd ris gum biodh àite sa cheòl airson facail ann an Gàidhlig, agus carson nach biodh?  Tha an t-eadar-theangachadh aig Calum math fhèin. Bho thaobh ciùil, bha mi airson a chumail cho dlùth ris an tionndadh thùsail ’s a ghabhadh. Rinn Scott, caraid Chaluim ann an Nashville, cinnteach às an sin.

Tha mi air 2 òran le beagan Beurla  a chur aig deireadh a’ chlàir,  dìreach airson neach sam bith a tha ag èisteachd aig a bheil ùidh ann an cluinntinn mar a tha na h-òrain a’ leasachadh nuair a thèid an eadar-theangachadh. Tapadh leibh airson an albam seo a cheannach.  

W.

 

 

 

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Willie Campbell’s story is novel-worthy. You can trace it in the cadences of his songs. First, there was the beloved, would’ve-could’ve-should’ve-made-it-massive band Astrid, the greatest pop group the North of Scotland ever produced. They imploded, of course, in true rock’n'roll style – though the realities of an r’n'r lifestyle and break-up are rancour’n'remorse, not the inane ‘glamour’ of the tragically wasted rockstar. (The band, incidentally, are all great friends again – the sign of true friendship). Finding himself back on his native Isle of Lewis, Willie found…himself. As he reassessed his priorities in life, the terrific flow of songs with which he’s always been blessed never ceased. He formed the powerful rock band Our Small Capital – melodic earthquakes a speciality – and the sublime strings-and-all 15-piece band the Open Day Rotation, whose gigs are moondust – rare, exquisite and, you can’t help feeling, somewhat magical.

Now, in an unexpected yet wholly welcome move, Willie has teamed up with a similarly renowned figure on the musical landscape, the multi-skilled Calum Martin, to present us with a unique Gaelic album. Alex MacDonald at An Lanntair – responsible for catalysing many an artistic endeavour over the years – first made the suggestion these two musical talents might come together. They paired up at Glasgow’s popular Ceol ‘s Craic club night, and the gig was such a success artist Ishbel Murray commissioned them to write some material together. With the generous help of the Creative Futures Residency Programme, Willie and Calum began the challenge of making this groundbreaking album.

And what an album it is! Thoughtful, open-hearted lyrics and shimmering, everlasting melodies combine to give us something truly remarkable. It’s beautiful and inspirational. I hope you are as moved by it as I am, and I trust that this will not be ‘Willie’s Gaelic album’, but his ‘first Gaelic album’. Willie’s recordings are soundtracks to the truly humane life – which is to say, a life of fallibility, of resolution and of ultimate redemption.

Great minds have wondered what music is actually for. Unlike most pleasures, music provides us with no skills useful for survival. Music, whose existence is simultaneously based on emotional resonance and on deep-rooted mathematical relationships of which we are not usually aware, seems to constitute a pleasure we enjoy for its own sake. So it’s very rare that an album comes along which might also contribute to survival – in this case, the survival of a language, a culture, a way of seeing things. Willie’s music has always been a way of showing how things matter – so perhaps from him, a Gaelic album is not just a surprise, it’s an inevitability.

Enjoy this album for its significant cultural contribution, enjoy it for its own sake, but I hope and trust you will indeed enjoy it for a long time to come.

Kevin MacNeil novelist, poet, playwright

https://soundcloud.com/the-open-day-rotation/sets/2-tracks-from-dalma

 

Tha sgeul Willie Caimbeul airidh air a h-aithris. Faodaidh sibh an sgeul sin a leantainn anns na fiaraidhean sna h-òrain aige. An toiseach bha an còmhlan àrd-chliùiteach Astrid aige, air an robh mòr-mheas, am buidheann pop a bu mhotha a thàinig a-riamh a-mach à ceann a tuath na h-Alba. Bhris iad suas ann am fìor stoidhle rock’n'roll – agus chan ann mar rionnag a chaidh a dhìth, ged nach eil e idir a’ tighinn orra a bhith aig fois. (Tha e ri ràdh ge-tà gu bheil an còmhlan uile a’ conaltradh a-rithist  - comharra fìor chàirdeas). Ga fhaighinn fhèin air ais ann an Leòdhas, eilean a bhreith is àraich, lorg Willie  …e fhèin. Fhad ’s a bha e ag ath-mheasadh nan nithean a bu chudromaiche na bheatha, chùm an t-sruth mhìorbaileach de dh’òrain a bha na lùib a-riamh a’ dol gun sguir. Chuir e ri chèile an còmhlan roc cumhachdach sin, Our Small Capital – crithean-talmhainn ceòlmhor na shònrachas aige – agus an còmhlan de15 àlainn teudan-is-eile, Open Day Rotation, a tha a’ cluiche chuirmean a tha tearc ach loinneil agus caran draoidheil.

A-nis, ann an gluasad gun dùil ris ach gu tur di-beathte, tha Willie air ceangal suas ri fear a tha cho cliùiteach ris fhèin ann an saoghal a’ chiùil, an ceòladair ioma-sgileil, Calum Màrtainn, airson clàr sònraichte Gàidhlig a thoirt gu buil. B’ e Ailig Dòmhnallach aig An Lanntair – a tha air a bhith cunntasail airson iomadh oidhirp ealaineach a choileanadh thar iomadh bliadhna – a mhol sa chiad àite gum bu chòir an dithis tàlant ciùil seo a thighinn còmhla. Rinn iad sin aig oidhche club Ceòl ’s Craic ann an Glaschu agus bha an taisbeanadh aca cho soirbheachail ’s gun tug an neach-ealain, Iseabail Mhoireach, barantas dhaibh airson stuth a sgrìobhadh còmhla. Le cuideachadh susbainteach bho Phrògram Creative Futures Residency, ghabh Willie agus Calum ris an dùbhlan gus clàr gun choimeas a chruthachadh.

Agus abair clàr! Tha liricean fosgailte meòrachail agus fuinn ghleanasach sheasmhach  a’ tighinn gu chèile agus a’ toirt dhuinn nì a tha dìreach suaicheanta. Tha e àlainn agus brosnachail. Tha mi an dòchas gu bheil e a’ drùidheadh oirbh mar a tha e ormsa, agus tha mi làn dùil nach bi seo mar ‘Clàr Gàidhlig Willie’ ach mar ‘a’ chiad chlàr Gàidhlig aig Willie’. Tha clàraidhean Willie mar chùl-bhrat don fhìor bheatha daonna – tha sin ri ràdh, beatha de fhàillinneachd, de sheasmhachd agus de shaoradh aig a’ cheann thall.

Tha iongnadh air a bhith air eanchainnean mòra an t-saoghail a-riamh a thaobh an reusain airson ceòl. Aocoltach ris a’ mhòrchuid de thoileachadh, chan eil ceòl a’ solarachadh dhuinn sgilean sam bith a tha feumail airson soirbheachadh. Saoilear gu bheil ceòl, a tha stèidhichte air ath-fhuaimneachadh faireachdainneil agus dàimhean domhainn matamataigeach aig an aon àm, do nach eil sinn gu h-àbhaisteach mothachail, a’ dèanamh suas toil-inntinn às a bheil sinn a’ faighinn tlachd air a shon fhèin. Mar sin, is ann glè ainneamh a thig clàr a dh’fhaodas cuideachd cur ri soirbheachadh – sa chùis seo, soirbheachadh cànain, cultair, dòigh amhairc air nithean. Tha an ceòl aig Willie a-riamh air a bhith mar dhòigh air brìgh nithean a thaisbeanadh – mar sin, ’s dòcha nach eil clàr bhuaidhe-san na iongantas ach na dho-sheachantachd.

Gabhaibh tlachd às a’ chlàr seo airson a chudromachd chultarach, gabhaibh tlachd às air a sgàth fhèin, ach tha mi an dùil ’s an dòchas gum faigh sibh dha-rìribh tlachd às airson ùine mhòr ri teachd.

 

Kevin MacNèill, sgrìobhadair, bàrd, sgrìobhaiche-dràma

Follow the progress of the residency as Calum Martin and Willie Campbell work together to create a unique collection of new Gaelic songs.

http://willie-campbell.tumblr.com

 

This residency was inspired by the creative potential that was uncovered as a result of a very modest project – the writing of one Gaelic song. Below is an excerpt from the review of Leabhar ‘s Craic 2013, the annual Gaelic literary festival hosted by Ceòl ‘s Craic and held at the CCA in Glasgow.

Leabhar ’s Craic – 23 March 2013

The evening performance began with an electrifying display of musical and technical ingenuity by Willie Campbell. He finished his set with a captivating Gaelic version of one of his songs – the result of an exciting new collaboration with fellow musician Calum Martin. Fans of Willie Campbell, from his days with indie rock group Astrid, might be surprised to find him experimenting with Gaelic lyrics. But Calum, a staunch upholder of Gaelic musical tradition, is acutely aware that Gaelic music has to move forward into new ground to interest young musicians from Gaelic speaking communities. His recent association with Willie was born from a mutual recognition of the relevance of Gaelic to song writing across all musical genres. Their collaboration appears to have had a very promising start, judging by the enthusiastic audience reaction to ‘Shabhail thu mi’.

 

Leabhar ’s Craic – 23 Mart 2013

Thòisich cuirm an fheasgair le taisbeanadh mìorbhaileach de dh’ealantachd teicnigeach is ciùil bho Uilleam Caimbeul. Chuir e crìoch air an t-seata aige le tionndadh drùidhteach Gàidhlig air aon de na h-òrain aige – toradh co-obrachaidh ùr eadar e fhèin agus a cho-neach-ciùil, Calum Màrtainn. Dh’fhaodadh gum bi luchd-leantainn Uilleam Chaimbeul bho a làithean anns a’ bhuidheann indie-roc, Astrid, a’ gabhail iongnadh ga chluinntinn a’ feuchainn a-mach liricean Gàidhlig. Ach tha Calum, a tha a’ cur mòr-thaic ri traidisean ciùil na Gàidhlig, air leth mothachail gum feum ceòl Gàidhlig gluasad air adhart gu cluaintean ùra gus ùidh luchd-ciùil òg bho na coimhearsnachdan Gàidhlig a thogail.

Thàinig an ceangal sin le Uilleam gu bith o chionn ghoirid tro bhith ag aithneachadh le chèile cho buntainneach ’s a tha a’ Ghàidhlig do sgrìobhadh òrain thar nan gnèithean ciùil uile. Tha an co-obrachadh eadar an dithis aca a’ nochdadh gu bheil toiseach tòiseachaidh air leth gealltanach air a bhith aca, a rèir beòthalachd an luchd-èisteachd an lùib ‘Shàbhail thu mi’.

 

 

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