Island & Sea & Gaelic song: Maggie MacInnes
A Fagail Mhiughalaigh (Leaving Mingulay)
Family, faith, fishing, and the sea: those four things were the strongest ties which kept people who lived on the remote Scottish island of Mingulay going. They are what form the ideas around which Gaelic singer and clarsach player Maggie MacInnes bases the music she’s chosen for this album, as well.
There is family connection for MacInnes, too. Mingulay is uninhabited today, but her great grand parents lived there, and the musician has long been drawn to thinking about how people in such a remote community -- Mingulay is twelve miles off the coast of the island of Barra, in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, and the Outer Hebrides themselves are separated by forty miles of water from the northwestern coast of mainland Scotland -- sustained themselves.
When MacInnes was invited to prepare music for a
television documentary about Mingulay and its people, she began gathering her ideas into music. Music from that film is on this recording, some of it rearranged, added to, and remixed, and there is new music as well. The album comprises traditional music, including a hymn which was a favorite of Macinnes’ great grandmother. There is a song from a seventeenth century female bard from the island, as well as a song of fairy legend, several waulking songs from the island’s women’s work, songs of history and of life on the sea, and the instrumental title track, which is composed by MacInnes. In the singing, playing, and song selection, it is a graceful and thoughtful project, illuminating lives and landscapes in ways that connect them with lives today.
Michael McGoldrick on flute, Christine Hanson on cello, Brian McAlpine on keyboards, and and renown Gaelic singer Flora MacNeil on backing vocals are among those who support MacInnes on the project.
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