Birl-esque, a new album inspired on the morning ferry commute to Skye, launches this month after touring Glencoe, Acharacle and Kilmelford, writes Euan Carr.
Birl-esque, named after the Scots verb ‘birl’ meaning ‘to revolve rapidly, whirl round, dance’ and a ‘rapid movement of the fiddle bow’, is the first duo album from two of Scotland’s most prolific traditional musicians, Eilidh Shaw on fiddles and vocals, and guitarist Ross Martin.
Both best known for their work with top traditional bands in the Scottish music scene, Eilidh with The Poozies and Ross with Daimh, the duo decided that after 15 years of living together and playing together, it was now time to make an album together.
From there Birl-esque was born.
Birl-esque was recorded in studio Ostaig at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, the Gaelic college in Skye. They travelled from the village of Morar to get the ferry in Mallaig for the 40-minute crossing to Armadale on Skye.
The album material is a mixture of music Eilidh and Ross have played at concerts and sessions over the years, plus tunes that came to mind when going to the studio on the morning ferry.
Ross said: ‘The album was nearly called ‘Amber Alert’, as anyone who has used the CalMac service between Mallaig and Armadale over the last year or so will be familiar with – the scenario of never being quite sure if the return sailing will go ahead or not!’
The album features two special guests in The Bracadale Rhythm Gentlemen.
This illusive pair have recorded on almost all albums of note that have been made on Skye for the last 80 years, often sneaking into the studio at night and laying down subtle bass and drum parts, whether invited to or not, asking only for a dram and an oatcake to be left out for them in return.
The new album will be officially released on Monday November 27.