Calum Alex MacMillan - Till

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(April 2017)

11 Tracks: Fonn Mo Leannain * Fagail Shiadair * Thug Iad a Thung Thu * Mo Nighean Donn * Luchagan Airde Faillidh (Jigs) * An Iarran-Monach * Fil o Ro * Oran an Fheoir * Nam Faighte Long Dhomh * Clann Bheag a’ Bhaile A-Muigh (Puirt) * Till Rium a Leannain.

A second solo album from the talented Isle of Lewis native and ex-Dàimh vocalist Calum Alex Macmillan.

This album retraces his deepest traditional roots while embracing the present with a collection of traditional and contemporary songs from his native Lewis alongside some newly self-penned pipe music.

Till means 'return' in Gaelic, denoting the frequent visits back to his family home in Point, a tradition-rich peninsula off Lewis's east coast, during which Calum Alex, currently based in Inverness, gradually gathered songs and tunes for the album.

The album title also resonates aptly in English, with its dual sense of cultivation – tilling the land – and of looking forward ('until'), reflecting both Macmillan’s heartfelt fealty to centuries-old tradition, and his skill at bringing it to timeless yet modern-day life. Produced by Donald Shaw ( Capercaillie/Celtic Connections fame) Till's sensitively spacious, freshly imaginative arrangements feature such fellow contemporary folk luminaries as Julie Fowlis, Greg Lawson (GRIT), Ross Martin (Dàimh), James Mackintosh (Shooglenifty), James D. Mackenzie (Breabach) and Manus Lunny (Capercaillie).

His primary source was numerous kitchen-table sessions with his father, Harris Tweed weaver John ‘Seonaidh Beag’ Macmillan, himself a celebrated singer, and co-founder of pioneering Gaelic group The Lochies.

"Besides sharing his own songs, Dad played me loads of his reel-to-reel tapes from years ago, of other folk singing, old BBC programmes and suchlike. I also discovered that my great-auntie, in the next village, had tapes that her late auntie had made, of singers she knew in the area. I have a lot of singers going back on both sides of my family, and there were a good many others, really quite widely-known singers, living nearby when I was growing up, who sang songs by local bards – some of them written by my ancestors. The ones on the album have so many interconnections for me: with my childhood, my family’s history, with that particular place and that community." Calum Alex MacMillan.

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