(June 2010) 17 tracks (46 mins): Ali Beag's Two Steps * Hebridean Polka Set * Oran Badantarbairt * Gaelic Waltzes * Malcolm Jones' Jigs * Fuadach Bhaile Bhlar * Hector The Mechanic * Lochbroom Waltzes * Cainearachd * King George V's Army * Mrs Helen Robertson * Bo Bhuiridh * Miriam Maclean of Polbain * Highlanders' Revenge * Iasgach a' Ghiomaigh * Morag Made The Wedding * The Kingshouse Set.
Melodeon, resonator guitar, strings and some nineteenth-century Gaelic poetry set to music.
Kevin Macleod is based in Edinburgh and is the banjo player with The Occasionals. He often returns to his family home in Coigach in Northern Scotland, where his friend Ali 'Beag' MacLeod is a respected local traditional accordionist.
Ali 'Beag' and Kevin first considered this recording in the autumn of 2009, over a few drams and rums in the kitchens of Ali 'Beag's home in 255 Achnahaird and Kevin's family home, 204 'Springwell' in Polbain. Initially, they thought to do a duet recording, reflecting their opportune musical sessions, but they were also keen to include a fine new self-penned poem from their great friend Sandy 'Boots' MacLeod.
This led Kevin to revisit the recordings he had made in 2004 of his father, Roddie Macleod, reciting the last remaining examples of local Gaelic poetry composed by one Neil MacLeod, The Polbain Bard. They had produced a small booklet, An Trubhal Na Mo Dhòrn (The Trowel In My Hand), documenting Neil's life and work, and recorded the poetry in Roddie's native Coigach Gaelic.
Three of the best poems are here, each augmented by exciting music from good friends and musical pals Freeland Barbour (The Occasionals) on piano and John Maclean (The Aliens, Beta Band) on keyboard. John's father, Will Maclean, closely related to Ali, Roddie and Kevin, has granted use of artworks entitled Badentarbat Suite, which enhance the booklet.
Mandolinist Luke Plumb of Shooglenifty recorded the album beautifully in Springwell, added fine musical colours in places and expertly sorted the multifarious audio sources.
A flavour of the music and bàrdachd traditions of Coigach, not just today, but also back in time where it all came from.
"A unique CD and more or less a social document of this area of the Highlands..." (Tosh Marshall)
"The tar, brine and salty sunshine of the Summer Isles. Centred round Ali's pungent melodeons and Kevin's mandolin-family instruments are local wordsmiths, bards, artists, cousins and characters, featured in songs, tales, Gaelic poetry and tunes stretching back from today through the 19th Century. Shooglenifty's Luke Plumb and The Occasionals' Freeland Barbour add their sure mark." (Norman Chalmers, Scotland On Sunday)
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