He­bridean roots for Karen’s new­est of­fer­ing

The Oban Times - - Leisure -

Fun­box is a brand new fam­ily show from Anya, Gary and Kevin (the stars

of The Singing Ket­tle). IN these days of mu­sic with no fron­tiers from cos­mopoli­tan multi- cul­tural coun­tries it is per­haps not so un­usual to hear of mu­si­cians from Africa and In­dia en­gag­ing with beau­ti­ful melodies from the Scot­tish tra­di­tion of cen­turies old Gaelic songs.

But when the voice bring­ing those songs to life is Gaelic singer Karen Mathe­son, it’s not sur­pris­ing to find the re­sult­ing record­ing far ex­ceeds just a meet­ing of sim­i­lar mu­si­cal minds.

In­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised as lead vo­cal­ist of ac­claimed cross­over folk band Caper­cail­lie, with which she has toured over THE Don­ald Meek Award 2015 for the Gaelic Book of the Year has been awarded to Alas­dair Camp­bell (Alas­dair a’ Bhoc­sair) for his novel, Ro Fhada ’s an t- Suid­heachadh Seo.

The award cer­e­mony was held at a spe­cial event at the Ed­in­burgh In­ter­na­tional Book Fes­ti­val on FOR THE first time an art gallery in Achar­a­cle will host a joint ex­hi­bi­tion and show­case the works of a lo­cal mother and daugh­ter.

Re­sipole Stu­dios gallery in the vil­lage is keep­ing it in 30 coun­tries and sold over a mil­lion al­bums, this solo pro­ject ‘Ur­ram’ (Gaelic for re­spect) is a mu­si­cal love let­ter to her fam­ily’s He­bridean roots. It is a col­lec­tion of time­less Gaelic songs that evoke the char­ac­ter and at­mos­phere of is­land life, through work songs, love songs, lul­la­bies, mouth mu­sic and evoca­tive po­ems to the sur­round­ings.

The sound of the al­bum is en­gag­ingly con­tem­po­rary in its am­bi­tion though, with guest mu­si­cians in­clud­ing Seiko Keita (Sene­gal) on African kora, Soumik Datta (In­dia) on Sarod, Scot­land’s Mr McFall’s Cham­ber group on strings, Innes White and Thurs­day Au­gust 27.

Alas­dair was un­able to at­tend the event but his pub­lisher Lisa Storey, Clar, col­lected the award on his be­half. Lisa said: ‘ He will not be­lieve this! I am ab­so­lutely de­lighted for Alas­dair. He is so wor­thy of this recog­ni­tion.’

Ad­di­tional fund­ing from Sor­ren Ma­cLean on gui­tars, and long-term mu­si­cal part­ner Don­ald Shaw pro­duc­ing and on pi­ano.

Karen said: ‘This al­bum came about af­ter find­ing old pho­to­graphs when my par­ents died.

‘They sent me on a jour­ney of dis­cov­ery about their early lives, their an­ces­tors, the tales of hard­ship, em­i­gra­tion and the losses of war, which com­pelled me to con­nect mu­si­cally with what was im­por­tant to them.

‘The songs them­selves are a mix­ture of those learnt as a child and songs gath­ered Bòrd na Gàidhlig, en­abled the Gaelic Books Coun­cil to in­crease the num­ber of prizes and re­ward a num­ber of other writ­ers.

Roddy Ma­cLean was in sec­ond place with An Cre­anaiche, his novel about the mur­der of JFK.

Air a’ Chru­ard, Rody Gor­man’s po­etry an­thol­ogy was awarded third prize.

A spe­cial judges’ prize for a young Gaelic writer they judged to be wor­thy of praise and en­cour­age­ment was awarded to Stephanie Camp­bell for her chil­dren’s book An Raga.

Rose­mary Ward, di­rec­tor of the Gaelic Books Coun­cil, said: ‘ I would like to ex­tend my con­grat­u­la­tions to ev­ery­one who made the short­list. The judges were hugely im­pressed with the ex­tremely high literary and from the amaz­ing ar­chives of dig­i­tized record­ings by the School of Scot­tish Stud­ies. ‘It is the first time that I have recorded a solo al­bum of purely Gaelic ma­te­rial and it’s been a joy to col­lab­o­rate with such great mu­si­cians from the world mu­sic scene.’ Gaelic stan­dards of the sub­mis­sions and we (GBC) are ex­tremely grate­ful to them for their help in iden­ti­fy­ing the wor­thy win­ners.

‘ We are also grate­ful for the fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance from Bòrd na Gàidhlig that has en­abled us to in­crease the num­ber of literary prizes we can award.’

Allan Mac­Don­ald, chair­man of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, was in at­ten­dance to present the win­ners with their prizes.

The Don­ald Meek Award was es­tab­lished in 2010 by the Gaelic Books Coun­cil, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Cre­ative Scot­land, with a view to en­cour­ag­ing new and es­tab­lished Gaelic writ­ers. This year’s en­tries in­cluded po­etry, non-fic­tion, fic­tion, drama scripts and teen fic­tion.

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WIN­NERS: The Gaelic Book Coun­cil award win­ners for

2015.

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