Saturday, September 29, 2007

now playing: Maggie MacInnes

The image on the cover of Oran na Mna: A Woman’s Song shows a woman’s hand just touching a child’s hand. It’s that sense of connection, of holding, of strength held in the lightest touch, that is the story running through and around and under the eleven tracks on Maggie MacInnes’ recording. Some are sung in English and some in Scots Gaelic, and there’s some spoken word poetry, as well. When the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow offered MacInnes, a singer and clarsach (harp) player who lives in Ayrshire, a commission to compose a work of her choosing, she turned to the idea of honoring the poetry of the women of folk history. Though many remain unnamed, MacInnes knew that it was the women, as much as the men, who kept the stories going on, who taught history and family and character through them. The women were both composers and bearers of songs, teaching them to upcoming generations, something MacInnes knew in her own family, as her mother is the singer Flora MacNeil, who also appears on the recording. Through songs from the tradition, songs searched from songbooks and archives, and songs newly composed, MacInnes traces the cycles of life from birth to childhood, to love lost and found, to the long reach of loving connections through time and across distance.

another fine album of uncommon music about mothers, grandmothers, and children
The Mother Album, a collboration from Susan McKeown, Robin Spielberg, and Cathie Ryan

another thought about sharing connection across generations at this creative practice piece, Taking Notice

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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