Hebridean roots for Karen’s newest offering
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.
WINNERS: The Gaelic Book Council award winners for