Margaret Stewart - Togaidh Mi Mo Sheolta (Along The Road Less Travelled)

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Music samples


Gaelic Singer Of The Year - Scots Trad Music Awards 2008

(February 2008) 15 tracks: A Phiuthrag 'S A Phiuthar * An Domhnalolach Urramach * Chaidh An Dileag Ud Nam Cheann * Tha Mi Sgith 'N Fhogar Seo * Feill Nan Crann * Blar Na H-Eaglaise Brice * A Bhainis A Bha 'N Ciostal Odhar * Saoil An Till Mi Chaoidh * Aban An T-Seasganaich * Co Leis An Crodh Druim-Fhionn Ud Thall,'S Fheudar Dhomh Bhith Beo * Cumha Aonghais Mhic Taghnaill Oig Na Ceapaich * Aran 'Twinkle' * Laoidh A Chon Duibh * O Thug 'Ad Bhuam Thu * Clann Domhnaill An Cogadh Righ Tearlach I, 1644-45 * Togfaidh Me Mo Shealta.

Margaret Stewart, from the village of Upper Coll in Back on the Isle of Lewis, now residing in Nairn, is regarded by many as one of Scotland's finest Gaelic singers. A native Gaelic speaker and a natural singer from childhood, she has won many accolades, including the National Mod's premier Gold Medal award, and Gaelic Singer Of The Year 2008 at the Scottish Traditional Music Awards.

She has previously recorded two highly acclaimed albums with piper Allan MacDonald, and on this, her third album for Greentrax, she researched many of the songs through the School of Scottish Studies. This recording contains some gems of the older Gaelic songs. Margaret has been employed by the Tobar An Dualchais / Kist o' Riches project as one of two Gaelic song specialists who are cataloguing the Gaelic song archives at the School of Scottish Studies. Margaret also looks at the Irish Gaelic connection.

Togaidh Mi Mo Sheolta (Along The Road Less Travelled) offers a variety of Gaelic songs from various parts of Gaelic Scotland - an ancient waulking song, an Ossianic ballad, a Jacobite epic, humorous songs from Lewis and Uist, love songs, a MacDonald praise song, a lullaby, two emigrant songs and more.

The album features material from some of the great Gaelic bards - Ian Lom, Duncan Ban Macintyre, The Blind Harper, Iain Mac Mhurchaidh and some songs which are rarely heard, some indeed which have never been commercially recorded, and as such are of considerable cultural importance.

Iain MacDonald again sources and produces some of Scotland's finest musicians to back Margaret, including Allan Henderson, Iain MacFarlane, Ingrid Henderson, Katleen MacInnes, Griogair Labhruidh, Ian Hardie, James Ross and The Strathclyde Police Pipe Band.

Margaret also pays tribute to her close relationship with the Irish Gaeltacht, and has included translations for all songs in Irish Gaelige as well as English. Four of the tracks on the album were recorded in Ireland, accompanied by such musical friends as Uillean piper Mick O'Brien and daughter Aoife, guitarist Mark Kelly of Altan and sean nos singer Peadar O'Ceannabhain of Connemara, with whom she sings a duet.

"Margaret Stewart has a long established reputation as one of the finest of Gaelic singers. A native of the Island of Lewis she grew up in a community of singers and appreciative audiences, including her own family. Her rich inheritance of song ranged from lullabies, laments and waulking songs to the compositions of local bards and songs of far-travelled sailors who often expressed their longing for their native island and their love for the girl they left behind… Margaret sings her songs sensitively, intimately and with unfailing dignity." (Dr John MacInnes)

"While the Gaelic renditions may sound less familiar the lovely voice will mesmerise... This album inspired by a love of Gaelic Scotland will in turn inspire the listener... The accompanying booklet with the triple translations and stunning photographs adds extra value to a very important release." (Irish Trad Music Magazine)

"Margaret's singing comes from her heart, and the knowledge and understanding she has of the oral tradition of the Gael comes through so clearly in her singing... The album highlights the many different kinds of songs which exist in the Gaelic oral tradition... The choice of songs express a wide range of emotions, and this is a particular strength of this CD... Should be in the collection of anyone who is interested in Gaelic." (Iseabail T MacDonald, The Scotsman)

"By common consent, Margaret Stewart was a worthy winner in the Gaelic Artist of the Year category,following the praise heaped on her latest album Togaidh mi mo Sheolta." (Sue Wilson, Hi-Arts)

"It is an album that carries the past into today's world, and has the kind of reflective beauty of time standing still." (Folkworld)

"Albums of Gaelic song probably don't come much betterthan this. Margaret Stewart brings her natural authenticity to a body of material that she inhabits as effortlessly as one might expect from somebody so steeped in the Gaelic culture." (Folking)

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