Saturday, April 06, 2013

Scotland's music: Joy Dunlop Reflections

Joy Dunlop is a storyteller, through, word, music, melody, and song choice. For her recording Faileasan (Reflections) she’s chosen to focus on songs from her native Argyll in the west of Scotland. There are songs of love -- its lighter sides, its tragedies, songs that look at love with wry humor and songs of romance. There are waulking songs, which are songs sung to the rhythm of work. There’s a lullabye, and there are songs which celebrate the land and landscapes of Argyll. Dunlop sings them all in Scottish Gaelic, but you need have no worries if this is not a language you understand well: she is a storyteller, after all, and the rhythm and heart of the songs come clear through her voice, and in the stories which live in the melodies as well. There are also, let it be said, English translations of the lyrics as well as Dunlop’s comments on the songs in the liner notes.

To further celebrate Argyll, Dunlop decided to source everything from backing musicians to production to photography from her native place. A number of those backing musicians are people you have met here along the music road before, among them Karen Matheson on voice, Donald Shaw on accordion, harmonium, and piano, Aidan O'Rourke on on fiddle, and Lorne MacDougall on pipes and whistles. It is Dunlop’s voice which centers the music, though, through songs including An Roghainn/The Choice, a set of puirt a beul/ mouth music from Argyll, a song in praise of the landscape of Taynuilt, and Carsaig’s Lullabye.
Dunlop is both an artist and a scholar of Gaelic music, talents she puts to good use here in sourcing and describing her material, and presenting it with clarity and love. She is also a vibrant performer, so if the chance comes your way to see her in concert, take it. In the meanwhile, join Joy Dunlop and her musical friends in sharing the songs and Faileasan (Reflections).
you may also wish to see
Capercaillie: Roses and Tears
Mary Ann Kennedy and Na Seoid
from Scotland: Joy Dunlop and Twelfth Day

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