Scottish Album of the Year Award 2013 -
Longlist of nomations includes ‘Affric’
Duncan is delighted to hear that his latest release, Affric has been included within the longlist for the Scottish Music Industry Association’s ’Scottish Album of the Year Award’. The 20 albums on the list represent a dazzling range of genres and musical styles highlighting, once again, the extraordinary depth of talent being produced in Scotland. Open to Scottish artists who released albums in 2012, the longlist is the product of a rigorous and thorough nomination process, with submissions received by 100 specially-invited nominators from the Scottish and UK music industries as well as elsewhere in the arts and media.
A four-week promotion of the music / artists included within the longlist will follow, allowing the public to stream every one of the twenty longlisted titles. Be sure to visit the SAY Award website here to download their app or read about and listen to the wealth of Scottish music that has been included within the longlist. Congratulations to all those artists on the list. It is wonderful to be part of a national arts prize which strives to focus attention on the Scottish music scene and in particular, on the fact that it has become one of the most vibrant, influential and well respected in the world. Enjoy the music….
The Scotsman, 5* Review.
The Strathglass Suite at The Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. Jan 2013
It’s created arguably Celtic Connections’ most stunning venue yet – and one with a useful 600 capacity, albeit that this long-since sold-out show could reportedly have filled it twice over. Read on…
Northings Review, The Strathglass Suite at The Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. Jan 2013
SOLD out for months, tonight the Strathglass Suite is the hottest ticket in rainy Glasgow; extra rows of seating have been squeezed in wherever possible and people are crowding on the balconies above. Read on…
BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards comes to Celtic Connections
Read about the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards coming to Glasgow – to be hosted by Celtic Connections, and the wealth of talent and fantastic music involved via the scotsman.com.
Affric – fRoots Review
On the quiet, Wolfstone founder member Duncan Chisholm has always been one of the finer and more expressive Scottish fiddlers, with a delicate touch and rare sensitivity when required. His solo album Affric marks the end of a six year project, being the final part of The Strathglass Trilogy, a musical representation of the highland glens that form the ancestral lands of the ancient Chisholm clan.
Affric – Songlines Review ****
Final part of Caledonian concept-album trilogy.
Chisholm was born and raised near Inverness, in the Scottish Highlands. He learned under the late, great fiddler player, composer and instrument maker Donald Riddell, is a regular player with Julie Fowlis and has his own band, Wolfstone. Affric is the third and final part of his epic Strathglass Trilogy, six years in the making, following the previous volumes Farrar and Canaich.
Affric is Duncan’s musical homage to the ancient Chisholm clan lands north-west of Loch Ness. Glen Affric is home to ancient Caledonian pine woods, lochs, moorlands and mountains, and it’s easy to see them all moving through the mind’s eye as the 11 beautiful conceived instrumental tracks take us through a suite that begins with a traditional air, the kind of tune that Chisholm’s pure tone and expressive feel raises to the sublime. Self-penned tunes mix with pieces by Phil Cunningham, Rory Campbell and others, and there’s an excerpt from the poet Neil Munro’s ‘To Exiles’ read by piper Allan MacDonald. Other guests include Patsy Reid on fiddle and viola, Tony Byrne and Ross Hamilton on guitars – driving the evocative, beautiful ‘The Flooded Meadow’ – plus accordion, uillean pipes and Phil Cunningham’s piano. There’s a lot of musical variation throughout, with contrasting textures, tones and atmospheres, whether it be the guitar-driven otherworldliness of ‘The Erchless Scout‘, the lyrical warmth of ‘The House in Rose Valley‘ or the unadorned beauty and epic landscape of ‘Unknown Air‘. Beautifully recorded and presented, Affric represents some of the finest instrumental music from Scotland’s new generation of players. by Tim Cumming.
Affric - included in Songlines Magazine’s Best Albums of 2012
Covering music from traditional and popular to contemporary and fusion, Songlines features artists from all around the globe. Duncan is delighted that Affric has been included within their Best Albums of 2012. Read all about why Songlines have hand picked an eclectic mix of music to be included within their ten Best of 2012, in the Jan / Feb 2013 issue of the magazine which will be available on general purchase on 7 December 2012. Affric will also be featured within the Songlines podcast for that issue.
Friday 26 October 2012
The Strathglass Suite at The Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum
Duncan is very excited about performing music from The Strathglass Trilogy along with an orchestral ensemble during the wonderful Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow on 26 January 2013. Accompanied by strings and brass you will hear a selection of well loved tunes in a new form. Read all about it in Duncan’s interview with STV.
Folk Radio UK – Interview / Affric Album Review
Wednesday 3 October 2012
The Affric album launch tour has kicked off to a great success with a very warm welcome at An Tobar on Mull. This intimate venue provided the perfect start to the tour and Duncan is very much looking forward to both the official album launch at The Queen’s Hall on 5 October, and the subsequent dates. The fantastic Allan Henderson is accompanying Duncan on fiddle and piano, and the remarkable Matheu Watson joins on guitar and viola. Please see our ‘Dates’ page for full details of the dates / venues for this Scottish tour.
A fabulous time was had by all during a recent trip to Chicago. Julie Fowlis and Nicola Benedetti joined in a new collaboration of traditional gaelic material during the closing ceremony of The Ryder Cup. Duncan accompanied the wonderful ladies on stage at the much anticipated celebrations, after the huge success of the European Ryder Cup Team. What a wonderful event to bring home to Scotland in 2014 www.rydercup2014.com.
Monday 3 September 2012.
Affric – on general release today!
Happy Monday everyone. Much excitement in the Copperfish Records office this morning as Affric goes on general release. Visit our Store to order your copy today. Enjoy the music!
Sunday 2 September 2012. Affric Review – Scotland on Sunday.
Rating: * * * *
‘It’s journey’s end for the outstanding Highland fiddler as he completes his musical peregrination through the landscapes of his homeland, and ancestry, in the final album of the Strathglass Trilogy. His great love and command of the fiddle’s wide-ranging abilities carry the contrasting textures and rhythms, augmented by eight other instrumentalists, from the opening old slow air to an equivalent ending, by way of new dance tunes in old traditions, all set with palpable emotion. Carefully made, the album is powerful, modest and moving.’ Norman Chalmers
27 August 2012 - Kin receives a Herald Angel Award!
Subsequent to Duncan performing his multi-media production Kin at the Edinburgh Fringe, he was delighted to be presented with a ‘Herald Angel‘ – awards which were introduced to recognise excellence at the world’s premier cultural occasion.
Amongst an array of talent from both the Festival and Fringe, Duncan was invited to the awards presentation on Saturday at The Festival Theatre where Les Dennis presented award winners with their ‘Angels’. Duncan is thrilled that Kin was selected for this Award at a time when such a wide and varied selection of fantastic entertainment is available to enjoy at the world’s largest arts show. You can read all about the award winners here. We have been overwhelmed with the response that this production continues to receive. Thank you to all those of you who came to see it!
21 August 2012
Hear Duncan talk on BBC Radio 3, Late Junction which will broadcast at 11pm, Tuesday 21 August 2012 (or listen again on the BBC iPlayer). Duncan will be talking about Affric and The Strathglass Trilogy and of course, you will be able to hear some music from the new album! The wonderful Kris Drever will also play live on the programme so – tune in for a great night of entertainment.
The first batch of Affric have been sent out to our pre-order customers! Great excitement at the Copperfish office and a thank you to all those who have sent lovely comments on this much anticipated release.
1 August 2012
Welcome to our new website!! We hope you enjoy browsing. It has been a busy summer for Duncan and there is lots of news to report – in particular, Duncan’s new album is now complete! Be the first to enjoy Affric, by pre-ordering in CD or download format, directly from this site. Take advantage of our special prices for a limited time only. Click on the album covers above to visit our store. Duncan is very much looking forward to taking this new music on the road in October 2012, we hope you can join him! Keep an eye here for updates on what’s happening over the rest of the summer and beyond. Enjoy the music…..
25th April 2012
Duncan will be performing his multi-media show Kin at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe on Sunday August 19th. The performance will take place at The Acoustic Music Centre at St Brides. All details are on the Live Page now
19th April 2012
I am delighted to say the new album is on course and I can guarantee this will be my finest work yet.
I am heading for the studio next month for the first batch of recording having spent the last six months doing all the necessary prep work.
The album will be launched at The Queens Hall in Edinburgh on October 5th where I will be performing pieces from the new album as well as a selection of tunes from the Strathglass Trilogy and the two previous solo albums. I am also delighted to have the wonderful Kathleen MacInnes as a guest for the evening. Kathleen will be performing ahead of ourselves on the night.
All dates for the October Tour are posted on our Live Dates page now.
Keep an eye out on the Live Dates page for when all tickets go on sale…..it will be great to see you.
2nd April 2012
The BBC documentary “Castle Commando” will be aired in the UK tonight on BBC2 at 7 o clock.
Duncan composed and produced all of the music for “Castle Commando”. If you missed it then you will be able to view it on BBC iplayer at your leisure.
10th Feb 2012
Copperfish Records are delighted to announce that Duncan will officially launch the much anticipated concluding part of his Strathglass Trilogy at the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh on Friday 5th October 2012.
Purchase tickets via the following link: www.thequeenshall.net/whats-on/shows/duncan-chisholm
Full details of Duncan’s October tour will follow – and will be available via this website very soon.
25th Jan 2012
Duncan was delighted to be commissioned to write and produce the music for a BBC Documentary “Castle Commando”, broadcast on BBC2 (in January 2012).
See The Scotsman Preview (on our Press Page) for an article about the programme and Duncan’s involvement.
12th December 2011
We are gearing up for another short run of Union Hill gigs this week starting off with a concert at Bogbain Farm, Inverness this coming Sunday (18th Dec)
Union Hill is a very enjoyable project that myself, Iain MacFarlane and Marc Clement put together each Christmas. We try for a unique and original blend of music, taking in songs and tunes that we rarely get the opportunity to play. If you get the chance, please come along to see us. We are playing four concerts in and around the Highlands although our gig in Glencoe has already sold out.
The remaining concerts are at Stoer Village Hall on Monday 19th Dec and Achness Hotel, Rosehall on the 21st Dec, will be good to see you…..
21st November 2011
**A fantastic 5 star review in The Herald today for Duncan’s concert last Friday night at The Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh.**
THERE was a telling moment at the end of Friday’s Fiddle 2011 concert.
Duncan Chisholm was so surprised to receive a second encore that he left his fiddle backstage and had to retrieve it for a final set of tunes. This wasn’t so surprising in a way because Chisholm had spent the previous hour or so playing with such a sense of “oneness” between bow, fingers and strings that there almost appeared to be no instrument there at all. It was as if he was simply singing this music clearly and directly to his audience.
For any aspiring players present – and there would have been many, as this annual weekend festival does a fantastic job of fostering interest and direct participation in fiddle music – the Beauly-based Chisholm’s performance must have been an inspiration. It was certainly a glorious demonstration of the poetry in Highland music and Chisholm’s command of a simultaneously persuasive and steely tone and the deft subtlety of his phrasing.
Chisholm doesn’t deal in pyrotechnics in these instances, although he can tear things up good-o with folk-rock band Wolfstone. Given infinite space to express himself by his duo partner, Tony Byrne’s selfless, ever-apposite guitar accompaniments, he explored the depth of Gaelic airs such as the gorgeous Nuair Bhios Mi Leam Fhin, which was all the more effective in his velvety lower register, and celebrated the sheer musical joy in his own much-played The Farley Bridge. At one point, as he moved up a gear, the audience briefly clapped along before stopping, content to let the music communicate its own momentum and bask in the beauty of an unbilled but genuine masterclass.
4th November 2011
Its a very sunny and cold “good morning” from Denver, beautiful outside if a little on the arctic side. We are now over half way through the Julie Fowlis US Tour and the response has been incredible at all the concerts. I spent my birthday in Washington DC and on a flight to Denver which was eventful. Someone (they are not letting on whom) told the crew that it was my birthday so I had to lead the entire plane in a Highland version of in-flight yoga and serve Pretzels with a home-made crown on my head…….nice!
Today we are playing at the Rialto Theatre in Loveland. This afternoon I am rehearsing tunes with Tony Byrne for the Scots Fiddle Festival, which is fast approaching in a couple of weeks time. Some new material for the new album will be tried out also, so looking forward to that. All details for the Queens Hall concert at The Scots Fiddle Festival is on the Lives Dates Page
23rd October 2011
Duncan will be performing with Tony Byrne at the Scots Fiddle Festival next month. The concert will be at The Queens Hall, Edinburgh and will start at 7pm with a set from up and coming artists “Tyde”
Duncan will then take to the stage to perform music from both Farrar and Canaich as well as a taster of some material from his next album.
All ticket details are now posted on the Live Dates page
27th September 2011
**JULIE FOWLIS US TOUR 2011 - DATES NOW POSTED ON LIVE DATES PAGE**
19th September 2011
The beautiful Highland Autumn is on us again and after a hectic summer of Festivals it is time for a few domestic dates and I am very excited about the diary ahead. There are a number of dates with Julie Fowlis coming up around Scotland and northern England which will be fantastic. This will be a very special Tour as Julie and ourselves will be performing not only brand new material but also lesser heard tracks, rarely performed in concert before. The highlight of the Tour, however, will be us performing the ‘Live at Perthshire Amber’ Album and it will be a great opportunity for those who have heard the Album, to ‘re-live’ that amazing night last October in Pitlochry!!
All the upcoming Julie Fowlis tour dates are now on the Live Dates page
All Wolfstone’s upcoming dates are available at www.wolfstone.co.uk
1st August 2011
A big thanks to everyone who came to see “Duncan Chisholm and Friends” at Speyfest last Thursday evening, we all had a wonderful time.
This week I am off with Wolfstone to Switzerland, but before that I am getting my teeth into the next project.
I have been asked by the BBC to write, arrange and produce music for a forthcoming documentary to be broadcast early in the New Year. Although my music has been used before in documentaries and films, this will be the first time I have written specifically for a project and needless to say I am delighted to be involved.
I will be able to give you more information on the programme over the coming weeks
12 July 2011
The summer is on us !!!!…….well it’s sunny today so I suppose that means we are into summer….
….and summer means it’s well into festival time which is a happy time for me always.
This year I am very excited about one festival in particular.
This year’s Speyfest, located in Fochabers, will feature a “Duncan Chisholm and Friends” evening on Thursday 28th July. I am excited because I was approached to put together an evening of music that would incorporate my solo material but also to feature friends whom I would like to perform with. To this end I asked an incredible line-up of musicians and to my delight all of them agreed to come along.
The line-up for the evening is myself, Tony Byrne (guitar), Allan Henderson (piano and fiddle) Martin O’ Neill (bodhran). Special guests will be the one and only Dougie MacLean along with banjo genius Gerry O’ Connor.
The material we are working on is sounding fantastic and the evening will be a special one for me as Speyfest always feels like my home festival.
Thursday Nights Concert at Speyfest includes :
The Fochabers Fiddlers
Duncan Chisholm and Friends
Concert Start 19.00 Hrs Ticket Prices £16/£14
Available from The Booth
12th April 2011
Had the first proper rehearsal ahead of the May Tour today, with Allan Henderson. Delighted with the whole day, the two fiddles are working perfectly together and his piano playing is exactly what the tunes are needing…..very excited about the way it is all coming together.
Myself and Tony Byrne will be doing some radio promotion for the tour over the next couple of weeks with appearances on BBC Radio Scotland’s “Travelling Folk” on the 21st April. We will also be doing a session on Celtic Music Radio FM very shortly, details to be posted soon.
1st March 2011
What a great weekend has just passed. Friday night saw myself and Tony Byrne playing in Glencoe village to a packed room. Saturday night we were guesting at the Fiddlers Rally in Eden Court Theatre, Inverness where there was also a packed audience and many old friends on and off the stage.
Sunday afternoon came and I was delighted to be at Murrayfield for the Scotland-Ireland rugby international….not so delighted with the score but there you are…..another glorious defeat ! Met some fantastic people though including rugby legend John Beattie, who went on to inform me that he had been to see Wolfstone at the City Halls in Glasgow many moons ago on my 24th birthday and that he is a keen fiddler himself. His son, Johnny Beattie was playing on Sunday and in my opinion had a great game. Doddy Weir popped in later on to say hello but by this time the fiddle was out, Gary Innes had the accordion out, and we were half way through singing “Fairytale of New York”……………oh dear !!
There is no doubt about it, when the Scots and the Irish get together, there is a magic that co-exists between both camps, regardless of the result. Maybe it is a testament to rugby too that both sets of fans easily sit with each other and enjoy the game as well as each others company………just the way it should be…….and well done Ireland for a good game, well fought !!
8th February 2011
I am in transit today……….off to a place called Atyrau in Kazakhstan……….
British Goverment Advise; Always pack the winter woolies when going to Kazakhstan…..
I have a few moments so I thought I would remind you about some upcoming Scottish dates for your diaries.
Later this month I will be guesting at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness with the Inverness Fiddlers. Myself and Tony Byrne will be performing two 15 minute sets during the concert. It will be a great opportunity to perform some material from Canaich, Farrar and the two earlier albums ahead of our Scottish Tour dates in May when we will return to Eden Court.
During March and after a short break, Wolfstone will perform a few dates in Scotland.
We will be playing the Ferry in Glasgow (March 17), The Lemon Tree in Aberdeen (March18) and finish at The Ironworks in Inverness (March 19). We are all looking forward to the short tour and also to performing some new material that we have been working on, very excited !
2nd February 2011
“Solo Tour Dates Announced“
Today we have announced the Scottish Tour dates for May 2011. I am over the moon with the response so far, many thanks to everyone for their emails. This tour will be the first in which I will perform material entirely from my solo albums, this with the expert assistance of Tony Byrne on guitar and Allan Henderson on fiddle and piano.
The tour was pieced together carefully to take in some of my favourite venues from around the country and we have spread this far and wide, from the Isle of Lewis to Peebles. Tickets for most of the concerts are already available, for purchase details please see our Live Dates page.
26th January 2011
I am delighted to announce an intimate solo concert with myself and Tony Byrne for next month. The concert will be in a great little venue in the west Highland village of Glencoe.
My good friend, David Cooper will be promoting the concert at the “Crafts and Things” coffee shop on the evening of the 25th of February ahead of our Eden Court Theatre appearance on the 26th. I have played this venue a few times before with Union Hill and loved the informal and intimate atmosphere, and in such a beautiful part of the country.
All details for ticket sales can be found on our Live Page now
19th January 2011
What a great day we’ve had.
The day started with myself and “Chisholm the Younger” heading for Dingwall in what some people would describe as (amazingly enough) almost Spring-like weather. Unfortunately the purpose of our visit (an hour on a bouncy castle and a read of the Press and Journal- the latter being my preference) was unable to be fulfilled due to the place being shut. Unperturbed by this we headed, with the four-legged member of the family, to Reelig Glen, where there are no bouncy castles but lots of massive trees to crane your neck to and shout ‘WOW !! at”…….and sniff if you have four legs.
Back to the house and mince and tatties all round…..marvelous !!
In the afternoon, a visit to Granny and Granda’s, followed by a visit to the other Granny and Granda, all of which usually involves much feeding of the visitors…..marvelous again !!
Throughout the day the soundtrack to our various excursions in the car was the new Julie Fowlis album which was recorded live at the Perth-shire Amber Festival in October. I am delighted to have been involved with this album, Julie’s singing on it is exquisite and we all have been touring and working hard over the year so the band is sounding very tight and together indeed.
The new album will be launched on Saturday night, 22nd January, at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
17th January 2011
I have just returned from a wonderful weekend at Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow. The concert I was involved with was a celebration of 60 years of The School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh.
The School is and has always been a fascinating place to visit and is extremely important in regards to our culture and our understanding of our music, our forgotten stories and ways of life.
The School was invaluable to me while researching the Kin project.
So it was a great honour to have been asked to perform at such a special evening. Karen Matheson, Julie Fowlis and Margaret Stewart were performing the gaelic element of the show. The Scots songs were covered by Sheila Stewart, Alison McMorland and Scott Gardiner and the instrumental pieces were performed by myself, James Ross, Gary West, Donald Shaw and Ross Martin.
I return to Celtic Connections on Saturday for The Highland Sessions, and then on Sunday for The Legends Fiddle Competition…………what a hoot !!!
29th November 2010
Tomorrow is our big day in Scotland……St Andrew’s Day
I have to say. the day usually passes at Chez Chisholm without much of a mention. Not that we are not very proud of our country and its traditions, but to be honest, there is very little in the way of celebrations on our Saints day.
Tonight however I am celebrating our country by watching a recorded programme which was broadcast while I was in Denmark. This is a tribute to Norman MacCaig featuring his friends Aly Bain and Billy Connolly, broadcast on the centenary of his birth. What better way to celebrate Scotland than to share an hour with three of Scotland’s finest talents.
I met Norman MacCaig in 1991, at a poetry/music evening in Edinburgh. Since that time I have always wished I had met him later in my life as I was too young to fully appreciate the man I was meeting. He wrote poetry which is timeless. His words were sharp and emotive but never sentimental, Norman MacCaig’s fresh eye saw remarkable newness even in the mundane things that surround us daily.
My own favourite is “Small Boy” which is actually quoted in the programme……sheer brilliance !!
- All dogs have a total of 42 teeth over their lifetimes
- The average dormancy of an active volcano is 42 years.
- The fastest speed for a land animal for 1 mile is 42mph
- Greatest recorded distance covered by one jump of a kangaroo is 42 feet
- Duncan Chisholm is 42 this weekend
- The longest lava flow recorded is 42 miles
- The worlds widest conveyor belt is 42 feet wide
- The largest shoes ever sold were size 42 (bought by Ross Hamilton)
- A barrel contains 42 gallons.
- The time it took for one person to eat an entire ox (good Lord!!!) was 42hours (Guiness book of Records, page 492)
16th October 2010
Another beautiful Autumn day in the Highlands and I am working away here in the office , only able to glance out of the window at the unfolding patchwork of reds and rusts that make up the woods to the west of where we are. The sky and the firth below are a startling blue and the smoke rises in a perfect vertical line from the distillery in distant Muir of Ord.
It is a day for being in Glen Strathfarrar, fishing off the boat at Monar, a day for bravely teeing off at the 2nd at Dornoch or climbing Beinn a Bha Ach Ard with a full hip flask, but no……..this day is spent, (apart from my conversing with yourselves of course) going through accounts and filing things. Once I get caught up however, and before it gets dark I am going to get the fiddle out, try to write something nice. Such a day should not pass without a bit of music.
The music (and craic) has been flowing all week in my home village of Beauly with the Blazin in Beauly fiddle week celebrating its’ tenth anniversary.
The week started with a variety night in which I was quizzed in a spoof Mastermind contest by a short and very eyebrowed Magnus Magnusson (Allan Henderson), my specialised subject being “answering the question before last each time”
MM Correct. Theology now….
In the Bible, Mark described it as……“A place where fire is not quenched, where the worm dieth not” and in Thessalonians it is described as “A place of everlasting destruction”, where are they describing?
MM Correct. What are haemorrhoids?
MM Correct…….Bruce MacGregor’s debut solo album “101 Reasons to do Nothing” was released in 2001, resulting in what?
DC Swelling and inflammation of the veins in the bottom
etc etc etc
The whole week was a massive success with 120 fiddle students taking part and countless hours of sessions, concerts and dances. All of this and a week of perfect Autumn weather….what lucky people we are !!
Songlines Review – September 2010
Preview of Spring Scottish Tour 2011 – by Sue Wilson.
No fuss – just a beautiful album of Highland tunes.
As is traditional for a Scottish Highland male, fiddler Duncan Chisholm isn’t one to get too demonstrative in the material accompanying his fourth solo release. A brief covering note states that Canaich is the second recording in a project he’s called ‘The Strathglass Trilogy’, following on from 2008’s award – winning Farrar, while the CD liner notes simply run through the credits and tune titles, dedicating the album to his one-year-old son with the minimum of fuss.
In equally traditional fashion, though, he distils a heart-melting intensity of feeling and expression into his playing, as Canaich’s dozen tracks continue his musical journey through Strathglass, a region described on his website as comprising ‘the very different landscapes that make up the ancient Chisholm lands to the west of Inverness’. This ancestral revisiting is largely mapped with contemporary tunes, including three beauties from Chisholm himself, among numerous gems from such top tunesmiths as Donald Shaw, Michael McGoldrick, Phil Cunningham, Niall Vallely and Allan MacDonald. The guest-list is similarly distinguished, including guitarist Tony Byrne, banjo genius Gerry O’Connor, fellow Highland fiddler Iain MacFarlane and Shooglenifty percussionist James Mackintosh.
Chisholm is most widely known for his work with folk-rock outfit Wolfstone, but his softer solo side has been justly earning critical raptures since his 1997 debut Redpoint. Canaich switches fluidly between jubilant jigs or reels and sublime lyricism, contrasting effectively with Farrar’s predominant focus on slow airs.
That, and the new arrangements’ more expansive palette, will surely add to the acclaim.
14th September 2010
It is only a month now until the 10th anniversary of the Blazin’ in Beauly fiddle week, which this year runs from the 10th until the 15th of October. I will be teaching and performing throughout the week and I’m looking forward to it all very much. At the Wednesday night concert this year Iain MacFarlane will be revisiting his excellent Blas Festival commission piece. After this, in the second half, I will be involved in a performance featuring the tunes of my teacher, Donald Riddell. We will be talking about Donald, his life, his tunes and his fiddle making. We have performed this show before at a sold out Celtic Connections evening but it will be great to perform this on Donald’s home soil.
All details of the Blazin’ in Beauly week can be found at www.blazininbeauly.com
13 September 2010
Duncan Chisholm (credit Ann Tuite)
MUSIC: DUNCAN MEETS CAPE BRETON (Community Centre, Nairn, 11 September 2010)
IT WAS A near full house at Nairn’s handsome new community centre on the Blas festival’s penultimate night, for a highly enjoyable programme of fiddle tunes and songs. Opening the show was Highland fiddle star Duncan Chisholm, flanked by Irish guitarist Tony Byrne, with a set drawn mainly from Chisholm’s last couple of albums, Farrar and Canaich.
These comprise the first two thirds of his projected Strathglass trilogy, a highly personal musical exploration, or evocation, of the localities and landscapes comprising his family’s ancestral home turf west of Inverness.
Chisholm’s approach to this project is as much associative and contemporary as it is rooted in the past. Hence his inclusion of such recent compositions as Gary Innes’s lovely ‘Chasing Daylight’ and originals like the joyous, jubilant ‘Isaac’s Welcome to the World’, written for his baby son, along with traditional material.
If there were an instrumental counterpart to the phone-book, though, Chisholm could likely perform it, and have his audience similarly in the palm of his hand, such is the intense though soft-spoken lyricism and vitality of his playing. His feather-light, quicksilver handling of dynamics and ornamentation, pace and rhythmic pulse, allied with his lambent, pure-distilled tone, lent his characteristic spine-tingling magic to the slower tunes, subtly underpinned by the sensitive economy of Byrne’s accompaniment – though the latter thrillingly cut loose a few times, too, weighing in with slashing, punchy grooves when Chisholm upped the pace.
2nd September 2010
The Blas Festival kicks off this week and I will be involved from Sunday night when I will take to the stage at the Culloden Visitor Centre playing music, alongside various Gaelic singers, from the Jacobite era ( that’s music from the Jacobite era, not singers !!)
Then, from Wednesday through till Saturday, I will be performing music from my solo albums with Tony Byrne on guitar. The festival concerts take place across the Highlands. We will be performing in Wick, Lochcarron, Rosehall and Nairn (all details on our live dates page)
The Blas Festival is devoted to the strengthening of our Gaelic culture through concerts, workshops, commissioning and outreach programmes and is very valuable addition to the Highland calendar.
So, if you are planning on visiting the Highlands next week, why not take a trip to Wick on the 8th, Lochcarron on the 9th, Rosehall on the 10th or Nairn on the 11th.
24th August 2010
After a hectic but fantastic weekend in Spain we find ourselves (Wolfstone that is) back at the Tonder Festival in the south of Jutland, Denmark this weekend. I cannot give this festival enough praise and I always recommend it to music lovers whenever or wherever I meet them. It is a festival that has grown organically over some few decades and, as all great festivals, the attention to detail is quite astonishing. What makes this a great festival however is not just the organisation, it is not even just the music, although it would have to be said that the music is always so varied and so very wonderful. What makes this a great festival is the feeling you are part of the family as soon as you arrive. It is the meeting of old friends and new, and I am very much looking forward to getting back. If you love music, do yourself a favour and one year go to Tonder, you will find yourself booking next years flight and tickets as soon as the final curtain goes down.
Tonder Festival www.tf.dk
10th August 2010
On August the 10th 1519, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, having sworn allegiance to Spain, sets sail from Seville for what he hoped would be the first successful circumnavigation of the Earth. Magellan, however, did not complete this voyage.
On August the 10th 1990, some 471 years later and 20 years ago today, NASA’s Magellan spacecraft, having looped round the sun arrived at Venus and swung into orbit 23 million miles from Earth. It then started to send us images of the surface of this violently scarred planet ……how far we have come!!!
On August 10th 2010 on a hillside in the Scottish Highlands, a man tried unsuccessfully to fit a baby car seat into the back of a Honda CR-V………..how far we still have to go…….
3rd August 2010
On Saturday I was at the Cambridge Folk Festival with Julie Fowlis.
As usual the festival threw up its’ usual heady mix of eclectic music to tickle the eardrums. Highlights for me were “The Burn’s Unit” (a brilliant Scottish line-up), Natalie Merchant who performed beautiful music in the evening and Salsa Celtica who were playing with a changed trad line-up of Jarlath Henderson, Megan Henderson and Dermot Byrne……fantastic !!!!
Cambridge is rightly still seen as the “Jewel in the Crown” of English Folk Festivals, it has an almost American feel to the proceedings and the way people are. Thy are true music lovers and it feels like a great community spirit over the weekend. For me these festivals are about meeting friends as much as the music and as well as a great Scottish contingent this weekend there were friends there from all over England, Denmark and the US.
Listen in on Wednesday night to Mike Harding’s programme on Radio 2 for some highlights of the weekend including Julie’s set from Sunday (without me as I was playing with Wolfstone that evening).
Alternatively on Sky Arts there will be a broadcast very soon of our set on Saturday afternoon on the main stage.
28th July 2010
It’s Wednesday morning and I’m in the office catching up with a few things. Someone’s put on Bob Marley and the office is filled with joyful sounds. For the second time in a week I am listening to the great man. This is no coincidence, When I heard we were to be sharing the bill with The Wailers at next week’s Belladrum Festival I delved into the record collection at Chez Chisholm and after some meanderings (always happens when looking through the LP’s) I at last found “Legend”, Bob’s greatest hits album.
Now, this morning, I am not concentrating…. I am transported….to Gran Canaria and the Atlantica Festival in 1998, where we shared the bill with Rita Marley, (an amazing woman herself) on a roasting hot summers night, at the beach playing to 20,000 people………fiddles, pipes and reggae, what a night !!!!!!
Belladrum is going to be great fun, not only is it the closest festival in the world to Chez Chisholm (approx 2.5 miles) but it has such an eclectic mix of music (fiddles, pipes and reggae for example). We are on at 5.30 in the evening and play for 50 mins so not a heavy day by anyone’s standard. We will spend the next few hours enjoying the music and maybe wander across the fields home…….then stick on Bob before bed….
6th July 2010
I had a fantastic day on Saturday in a sun drenched Edinburgh, which is always a fantastic place to be. I was playing tracks from and signing copies of Canaich for a short while at Coda Music on The Mound. Coda is a great shop to go for traditional music and I was delighted that so many people came along to listen and to wish me well with the new release. I had Ali Hutton along playing some exquisite guitar and together the two of us managed to squeeze ourselves on to the corner stage (corner shelf) and play to the assembled masses. Many thanks to everyone who made it along and to Coda for supporting my music and for the odd glass of wine that was projected in our direction….lovely!
18th June 2010
More excellent reviews have come in for Canaich.
15th June 2010 – The Herald Review
Duncan Chisholm: Canaich (Copperfish)
Published on 15 Jun 2010
Sadness and joy from award-winning fiddler
FIDDLER Duncan Chisholm’s previous album, Farrar, deservedly won the Album of the Year prize at the Scots Trad Music Awards in 2008, and its successor could well be in contention this year. Chisholm is a beautiful player with a real vocal quality in his slow airs. His soulfully bereft reading of the opening I Horo’s Na Hug Oro Eile is like Gaelic singing without the words, and there’s poetry in his fiddle and piano take on Phil Cunningham’s The Gentle Light That Wakes Me. Canaich isn’t all sadness and wistfulness, though. There’s swagger and jubilation, too, and sensitive imagination in accompaniments such as the simple whistle “choir” on Isaac’s Welcome To The World, the soft brass crooning behind Chisholm’s deeply expressive Craskie and The Desert Road’s subtly controlled electric elements. I could live without the repeated use of dull percussion in music that has a strong natural dance rhythm but while that can be a mildly annoying distraction, it doesn’t detract from Chisholm’s gifts as a musician and composer.
11 JUNE, 2010
Duncan Chisholm – Canaich
Duncan Chisholm has released Canaich, the second instalment in his Strathglass triology, on Copperfish Records. This follows on from Farrar, the award winning first album in the trilogy, inspired by the highland landscapes populated by his ancestors.
In 1988 Duncan Chisholm was a founder member of Wolfstone; within two years the band had become a full time job and one of Scotland’s most talented musicians was at the start of an impressive and productive career. Duncan’s first solo album, Redpoint, was released in 1997; a homage to the great poet Sorley MacLean, taking him in a very different direction from Wolfstone. Among his many projects, Duncan has also worked extensively with Julie Fowlis, making a valuable contribution to her live and studio performances.
Canaich’s brief opener, I Horo’s Na Hug Oro Eile, is soft, melancholy, and comes out of the mist like a voice of the ancients.
Camhanaich air Machair / Captain Carswell introduces James MacKintosh’s percussion and Duncan’s light, lively touch, reminiscent of Alasdair Fraser, is given rein in a pair of tunes by Donald Shaw and Willie Lawrie. Tony Byrnes’ gentle guitar carries the pace expertly throughout.
Duncan’s first self-composed tune on the CD,Craskie, is a sweet; light air in which he visits the area of his family’s farming origins. The pace quickens with Isaacs Welcome To The World, a fiery tune to celebrate an important arrival. There’s another welcome arrival in the form of Rick Taylor’s brass harmonies; soothing and understated behind the fiddle, guitar and percussion. Iain MacFarlane’s whistle plays around with the gentle brass and the full effect is pure joy.
Phil Cunningham’s beautiful ode to the sunrise, The Gentle Light That Wakes Me, mellows the pace again. Hamish Napier joins on piano and, I think, Patsy Reid on viola (someone put me right if I’m wrong!). The viola makes a fine partner to Duncan’s low, breathy fiddle style. Chasing Daylight is livelier and Ali Hutton’s whistle evokes a westward journey building to a full company (strings, brass, percussion & keyboards) rendition of this uplifting melody by Gary Innes.
We’re returned to Gealdom in the traditional lament, Mo Run Geal Og. There are so many versions and variations of this classic lament; it’s refreshing to hear the simple melody given space in an instrumental rendition.
Michael McGoldrick’s The Desert Road picks up the pace again. Rhythmic, and injected with some dynamism by Ross Hamilton’s electric guitar and bass.
Caoinradh Johnny Sheain Jeaic, incorporating Gordon Duncan’s beautiful tear-jerker, Lorient Mornings, returns to Duncan’s haunting, low sound.
Loch Mullardoch / The Oblique Jig starts off with a return to Chisholm country then treats us to Niall Vallely’s minimalist jig. The Exile Reels making their highly energetic way from across the Atlantic are Mike Katz’s The Head Roaster and The Last Mile by Mark Stewart; with the latter given a resonant bass foundation, a gorgeous Gaelic voiceover courtesy of Cliar’s Ingrid Henderson, and a stirring combined fiddle performance by Duncan Chisholm and Iain MacFarlane.
Mar A Tha closes the album as it began, in an ancient, melancholy voice; soothing and sublime.
It’s also worth mentioning the album’s artwork. Jackie MacKenzie has produced a series of paintings evocative of John Lowrie Morrison’s bold, wild highland colours. The combination of dramatic, tempestuous landscapes, swirling seas and the contrasting softness of snowdrops beside fallen rubble (which surely carries a message) compliment the spirit of this album beautifully.
Although Canaich feels mellower, less complex than Farrar, Duncan’s move to the west in his geographical trilogy is just as wonderful a collection of highland music. His soft fiddle tone adds a haunting voice to the music and the inclusion of two other fiddle players in the album is a clear indication of Duncan Chisolm’s justified confidence in his own music and the direction in which he takes it.
Folk Radio UK
Review of Canaich for “Irish Music Magazine” by Alex Monaghan
This album is the second in Duncan’s Strathglass trilogy, showing an altogether gentler side of Wolfstone’s fiddler than some people might expect. Duncan’s work with Ivan Drever and his four previous solo albums demonstrate the delicacy and sweetness of highland music which exists in parallel with Wolfstone’s rock band sound. Farrar, the first part of Duncan’s trilogy, was a truly magical album full of beautiful melodies. Canaich is simpler perhaps, but no less striking. Starting with a soulful Gaelic melody, Duncan’s exquisite fiddle dominates this musical landscape. Donald Shaw’s slinky slip-jig Camhanaich air Machair joins the pipe march Captain Carswell to form one of the livelier tracks here. Isaac’s Welcome to the World is a rather more rumbustuous slip-jig, veering towards Wolfstone territory with whistle and brass harmonies.Craskie, another of Duncan’s compositions, sets a much gentler mood: a sweet and captivating air. The third Chisholm tune on this CD is yet another slip-jig, a sauntering lyrical melody named for Loch Mullardoch and followed by Niall Vallely’s punchy Oblique Jig.
The same easy swing infuses Chasing Daylight and Desert Road, by Gary Innes and Mike McGoldrick in turn. Other great contemporary composers whose work gets the Chisholm treatment on Canaich include Allan MacDonald, Phil Cunningham and the much missed Gordon Duncan. Californian MIke Katz and Canada’s Mark Stewart provide the tunes for The Exile Reels, probably the most up-tempo track on this recording, a gloriously energetic piece of fiddling. For me, Duncan’s interpretations of slow traditional airs are still the highlights: the well-known haunting song Mo Run Geal Og, the brooding Illean Aigh, and the final brief but sublime Mar a Tha. In the playing of highland music, fast or slow, new or old, there’s few who can match this man. Canaich is a concentrated dose of Duncan Chisholm’s music, a delight for fiddle fans, and another testament to one of Scotland’s finest musicians: www.DuncanChisholm.com is the place to find out more.
9th June 2010
Duncan will be appearing at Coda Music, The Mound, Edinburgh for an in-store signing on Sat 3rd July 2010. He will also be performing some tracks from Canaich. More details to follow.
30th May 2010
The first review of Canaich appeared in the Scotland On Sunday Review section today. Norman Chalmers has given a glowing endorsement to the album.
Scotland on Sunday Review 30th May 2010
Few fiddlers match Duncan Chisholm’s expressive feel for a Highland air, or his relaxed, accurate phrasing in the dance music. That he can put a match to the heather in Wolfstone shouldn’t deny the historic, traditional lineage of his playing. This second album in his Strathglass trilogy brings together a few old tunes, a few self-penned, and the rest from the rich abundance of contemporary composition. Ten of Scotland’s leading instrumentalists underscore this quality recording.
25th May 2010
Duncan will be appearing on The Radio Cafe, BBC Radio Scotland tomorrow, Wednesday 26th May, just after the news at 1pm. He will be talking about Canaich and the inspiration behind the album as well as playing live.
canaich is available NOW !!!! from our Store Page.
The album will be on general release in Scotland from June 1st.
UK general release and available from itunes June 21st.
17th May 2010
I would like to talk a bit about Glen Cannich. It has been the focus for my inspiration over the past 12 months and in preparing for the album “canaich” I have learnt a lot about the place and its’ people, it’s landscape and it’s history.
In 2008 when I had completed the “farrar” album, I felt a huge sense of satisfaction. My intention had always been to paint a musical picture of Glen Strathfarrar, and in particular the mountain Beinn a’ Bha’ Ard, Each tune was given a scene in my head. Like my own internal film, the album took the form of a journey, to the top of the mountain and a quick descent to home. It took months to write or find the right combination of tunes for each scene, but ultimately we succeeded and it is an album I will forever be proud of.
I always knew that “farrar” was going to be the start of a bigger project and it was at the start of 2009 that I had decided that Glen Cannich would be the focus of my next album. This journey would take me westward from the village of Cannich to the old township of Craskie and on to the wild and unpredictable waters of Loch Mullardoch. Each scene again was figured out long before the studio sessions and the running order was completed before a note was recorded.
I see Craskie as it was, in my minds eye that is. It is where the Chisholm side of my family came from. If you were to visit Craskie now you would see a scattering of buildings, a ford across the river which flows into a small loch. It has been farmed for centuries. It is south facing and I remember it only bathed in sunshine.
The ancient Chisholm clan lands are pretty much devoid of the family name now. We survived the clearances at Craskie because of one woman, Mary Chisholm. When Alexander, The Chisholm died in 1793 he left his widow Elisabeth and their daughter, Mary, the rentals to a handful of townships, Craskie being one. Although thousands of Chisholms were sent from their homes, some burned out to make room for cheviot sheep, Mary never wavered in her loyalty to her clans people and my family were allowed to stay at Craskie.
22nd April 2010
Very exciting news !!!!
The first shipment of “canaich” albums arrived at the Copperfish Office this lunchtime.
It was to the great glee of everyone that the carrier arrived on time and the first box was officially opened along with a short speech by yours truly and much more exciting……… a bottle of some fancy fizzy stuff…….(thank the Lord I was there!!………..hic!)
The album is everything I had hoped for in the way it sounds and in the way it looks, it is something I am very proud of indeed.
I hope you all enjoy it.
The release date for “canaich” to be announced at www.duncanchisholm.com very soon,
19th April 2010
Last night, primarily to make my Sunday night a little more exciting I did an IQ test (never before attempted at Chez Chisholm) which I downloaded onto my ipod as an application. I tend to feel you should probably leave these things well alone, for fear that you depress yourself by finding you have an IQ less than Geri Halliwell….or George W Bush. The test was a bit tricky in places, 40 questions to be answered in an hour. There were lots of number puzzles of the ilk “If I had 3 potatoes and Jack had three carrots, how many plates of soup would Jill make by Christmas??!”
I have to say the spaniel was appearing quite troubled as the clock ticked by, the language began to deteriorate and there were cries of ”who really cares ??!!!??” and “why, soup, why !!!”
Anyway I managed to finish it. Modesty forbids that I reveal my actual IQ to the world but suffice to say I was higher than Miss Halliwell and the now retired US President…..happy enough with that !!
8th April 2010
I have to admit I have an air of trepidation now that election fever has taken hold……….well I wouldn’t say fever…..more like a mild pain in the left temple. I cannot get enthused about any of it I’m afraid. Daily announcements about this and that, the next thing….and then the next thing,…
One announcement I am pleased about however is that yesterday the line-up for the 2010 Belladrum Festival was made public. It is our local festival here at Chez Chisholm and on most festival nights so far we’ve been out in the garden enjoying the waft of whatever eclectic sound comes up the valley. Gin and Tonic in hand on a balmy summers night listening to some glorious sounds…….what better !!
Well this year I’m going to have to put the gin away in the fridge (till later!), because to celebrate our 21st anniversary Wolfstone are going to be playing our local festival right here at Belladrum in the heart of the Highlands on the evening of Saturday August 7th. This will be 21 years almost to the day since we kicked it all off at the Highland Traditional Music Festival in Dingwall. We’ll be joining Amy MacDonald, Feeder, The Levellers and a host of others over the weekend.
6th April 2010
I’m sitting at home just now, a rainy lunchtime to myself contemplating.
Young Chisholm junior is upstairs taking his lunchtime nap.
The spaniel at my feet has himself also been contemplating for the last twenty minutes, contemplating whether or not he is going to be allowed to get up onto the couch. This intense contemplation however has now been replaced with an intense interest in his rear end, in fact he now seems more interested in his rear end than anything else in the world ( no scrap that, the shortbread sitting next to the cup of tea on the table has now taken precedence over the rear end….and the couch)
Outside the first signs of a Scottish Spring are sprouting through the Highland soil, no doubt spurred on by the today’s downpour.
I love the Spring rain and the effect it has on the garden, everything coming to life at once.
This however lies at the heart of my contemplation, the crux of the issue that is encircling my being this lunchtime. Something that will keep me awake for many an hour over the next fortnight, that no amount of gigs or heartfelt playing or recording of albums or travelling the world could ever prepare you for.
Yes, sometime during the next couple of weeks, he (me) is going to have to walk “The Green Mile” to the shed, He again, will be that penitent soul, who on opening the shed door will ask for forgiveness in the hope that he can get the mower out without serious injury. He may even find himself nursing his own rear end as a result……let’s hope not !!!
So light a candle or say a couple of words for me, think of me in your prayers. I will get the mower out come what may, and if I lose a leg I’ll know it was for the greater good.
27th March 2010
I have managed to escape the confines of the studio for a few days and now am spending the weekend listening to the Canaich album ahead of the final mastering. I am delighted with the outcome. It is a colourful and vibrant album, chock full of great musicians playing their hearts out.
I am also delighted that the album retains what I had always anticipated as the correct feel for such a place as Glen Cannich. There are always great surprises when you bring in a dozen or so musicians to record an album with you and indeed there were many interesting musical roads travelled over the last two months. It is now almost complete and after some painstaking editing and mixing we have come up with an album to be very proud of.
The official release for Canaich has yet to be finalised but a limited number of the albums will be available during the upcoming Scottish tour with Ivan Drever.
A big thank you to the many people who have emailed the Copperfish Office to wish me well for the project, your constant support is very much appreciated,
17th February 2010
Finally D-Day has arrived and I’m off into the studio tomorrow to start the next album which will be called Canaich. We start with James Mackintosh recording percussion for the first two days and myself doing bits and pieces here and there. The album already has a name, a running order, a cast (of which I am delighted to be working with) and an overall objective to create an album equal to and better than its predecessor Farrar.
I spent a fantastic day last week with my father up at Glen Cannich (Canaich being the Gaelic word for “place of the bog cotton”) learning stories and enjoying the sheer beauty of the landscape there. It is where my father was born and where my ancestors lived and worked.
The Glen itself runs a dozen or so miles west past Craskie and Carrie to Loch Mullardoch where a hydro electric dam, built in the early fifties, looms high above the loch. It is within the wild and unpredictable waters of Loch Mullardoch that Cozac Lodge lies submerged. Cozac is the house that my father was born in.
There is an almost austere feel about the Loch itself, an unnatural menacing presence it has within the natural beauty that surrounds it, or maybe it is just because I know its history.
This is the landscape that has inspired me on my next musical journey. A place of great tranquility at Craskie contrasting with a place of great darkness at Mullardoch. This for me will forever be the enigma of Glen Cannich, making it a fascinating subject to reflect upon within an album.
I have spent the last six months either writing or unearthing tunes to put into Canaich and I am very excited at the prospect of finally getting into the studio to record it.
As well as James MacIntosh on percussion I will have help from Phil Cunningham on piano, Tony Byrne on guitar, Patsy Reid on viola and cello, Rick Taylor on brass and Ross Hamilton on bass.
I will let you all know how the project is progressing. The release date is scheduled for the Spring.
31st January 2010
On behalf of everyone here at Copperfish, we would like to thank the many people who attended Duncan’s sold out show at St Andrew’s in the Square, Glasgow last night.
For a run-down on the evening we have posted the first review of the concert:
31st January 2010
Duncan Chisholm at Celtic Connections
Review by Catherine Keegan
Duncan Chisholm has been one of our favorite artists, since we first saw him in Wolfstone, playing a fantastic cutaway fiddle. His solo work on “Redpoint,” “Door of Saints,” and this year’s MG ALBA Scot’s trad album of the year “Farrar” has been featured many times on KZYX&Z.
Tonight he was joined by Tony Byrne on guitar, Allan Hendersonon fiddle and the incomparable Phil Cunningham on keyboards, cittern, accordion and penny whistle. The effect was
Chisholm and Cunningham began with the gorgeous, heart-rending air “Lorient Mornings,” then Byrne’s guitar sneaked in to signal a mood shift as the tune changed to the upbeat Angus Grant masterpiece “250 to Vigo.” The tune built energy, and reached a crescendo when Henderson joined in. That first set demonstrated Chisholm’s thoughtful method of putting tunes together, as well as his confident, emotional playing style.
When the tunes weren’t playing with your heart and soul, Chisholm held forth with an easy patter and a lot of humour. The evening was pure genius right down to the final set, which might have had the unlikely name of “The Knockard Elf/ Turbo Shandy”, and had the entire hall of St. Andrews ringing with the sound of stomping feet. For the encore, Chisholm and Cunningham played Phil’s lovely air “The Gentle Light that Wakes Me,” calming the audience down enough to go into the loud Glasgow night.
As usual for St Andrew’s, the sound was nearly perfect, allowing us to fully enjoy a superb performance by gifted musicians. A magical night that we will long remember.
31st December 2009
I hope you all had a peaceful, happy Christmas and I would just like to wish everyone a fantastic night tonight and hope that 2010 is a great year for you. I’m very excited with the upcoming shows for next year and hope that many of you will make it to my Celtic Connections show at St Andrews in the Square, Glasgow on the 30th Jan or indeed to the Wolfstone show at the ABC on the 22nd.
Happy New Year !!!!!!!!
4th December 2009
The much-loved Union Hill Christmas concert series kicks off in just over a week’s time at Bogbain Farm, Inverness on the evening of Sunday 13th December. Duncan, Iain and Marc will also be travelling to Biggar to play the Clydesdale Folk Club on the 17th, Clashmore Hall on the 19th and to Glencoe village on the 20th.
3rd November 2009
There are only a few tickets left for tomorrow’s night’s performance of Kin at Perthshire Amber Festival in Birnam. All tickets available from www.perthshireamber.com
30th October 2009
Duncan has just been confirmed for a Celtic Connections date on the 30th of January at St Andrews in the Square in Glasgow. This will be first concert ever to feature purely material from his 3 solo albums to date and will also feature tracks from his forthcoming solo album also. All details for the concert and information regarding ticket sales are available at www.celticconnections.com
23rd October 2009
I am very much looking forward to the first Kin performance in a while at Dougie MacLean’s Perthshire Amber Festival on the 4th of November. A couple of years ago during the festival I performed with Dougie and his band at Blair Castle on a very memorable night for me. He had arranged ahead of the concert for me to play Neil Gow’s fiddle which has stayed in a glass case in Blair Castle for a number of years. So it was with great pride and in front of a packed audience that I played the famous “Neil Gow’s Lament for his Second Wife” on probably the same fiddle it was written on 200 years before.
The whole festival is packed with great talent and of course Dougie is always in fine form. It is one for sure not to be missed.
The Kin performance will take place at The Birnam Arts Centre on Wednesday 4th November with an 8pm start
All details for Perthshire Amber are available at www.perthshireamber.com
Hope to see you there !!
29th September 2009
I was delighted this morning when the post arrived and the new Julie Fowlis album “Uam” popped onto the doormat. Ignore the fact that I’m on it, when I say that this is a class album. It is very rare that an artist can constantly build in creativity and confidence year after year, album after album, but Julie is doing exactly that. As well as having a beautiful voice Julie has an incredibly fluid creative mind and along with her husband Eamon, who has been meticulous in the production of Uam, they have crafted yet another beautiful album of music.
We are about to start a short UK tour to promote Uam ahead of its’ release date, all details of the tour are on the “live dates” page now
Uam will be released in the UK on the 26th of October. Pre-orders can be made at www.juliefowlis.com
25th September 2009
The “Blazin in Beauly” fiddle week is almost upon us again. Blazin in Beauly is run by Blazin Fiddles and is a great event in the fiddle calendar, certainly a major event for the small town of Beauly in Inverness-shire which every year opens its arms to almost a hundred fiddlers from all over the world. This year I am going to be involved, appearing on the Monday night but not quite as myself. Now some of you may say, “I’ve seen him many times not quite himself” but this year I definately won’t be. On the Monday night this year there is to be the “Fiddle Grandmaster Play-off Competition”, which will be held at the Phipps Hall in Beauly. This will involve 4 of the grandmasters of fiddle, vaulting out of their graves and appearing in in a once-only competition. The four grandmasters are James Scott Skinner (aka Bruce MacGregor with a bald wig and a false moustache), Neil Gow (Iain MacFarlane with a pair of tartan trousers and a half-bottle) Captain Simon Fraser of Knockie (Alastair Fraser without a beard and a hoping for the partisan Fraser crowd in for the night) and of course myself…………William Marshall…….with all of the above, tartan trousers, false wig, moustache, a big velvet waistcoat and a half-bottle to slip to the adjudicator….who by the way will be the one and only Angus Grant (played by himself, no false moustache required ……..and always keen on a half bottle). The whole show will be presented by the one and only Robbie Shepherd (aka Allan Henderson, lilting away the Doric twang in a dapper suit and standing on a box).
The idea is that all the Grandmasters must play 2 sets of their own tunes and in-between times avoid any punch-ups in the toilets at the back of the hall. If there is any trouble then no doubt it will be Marquis of Queensberry rules out in the car park after the concert…..or maybe even pistols at dawn on the Tuesday outside the Co-op.
Whatever the outcome, William Marshall will always be the king for me with his beautifully elegant Airs and Strathspeys.
It’s going to be a night and a half for sure !!
Blazin in Beauly runs from the 19th -23rd October 2009
For information on tickets and events at Blazin in Beauly go to www.blazininbeauly.com
9th September 2009
Music from the Farrar album has been utilised to great effect in Rory Bremner’s moving documentary “Rory Bremner and the Fighting Scots” which will be broadcast on BBC4 and on the BBCiplayer over the next week. The programme documents the history of Scottish soldiers and their contribution to the nation down through the centuries.
8th September 2009
I have just started working on the follow up album to Farrar which will be recorded in January and released in the Spring of 2010. I am going to spend the next few months writing and arranging the pieces that will make up the second album in the trilogy that has started with the Farrar album
16 January, 2009
Farrar Review by David Kidman
FARRAR – Duncan Chisholm (Copperfish Records CPFCD. 003)
The fiery fiddler from Wolfstone has on his solo ventures thus far (Redpoint and The Door Of Saints) shown an altogether more mellow and relaxed side to his artistry, and album number three leans even more in this direction with six out of its ten tracks built around slow airs, a musical form of which he’s proved a consummate master. Compositions come from the pens of established writers (Gordon Duncan, Fred Morrison, Michael McGoldrick), topped up with a couple by Duncan himself. And Farrar turns out to be as magical as the mountain which inspired it, producing a succession of atmospheric tunes-as-tone-pictures. Duncan’s magnificent playing is so at peace with its inspiration, yet its sheer silken eloquence can also be slightly deceptive in that it can sometimes conceal the depth of emotion within the notes and the phrasing. There’s a wonderfully unforced sense of flow to Duncan’s playing, a classical kind of poise allied to a miraculous control of line. Take his majestic rendition of Alasdair’s Tune (composed by Charlie McKerron), or the sublimely tender and haunting A’ Mhairead Og. On the graceful and poignant Lorient Mornings, Duncan doubletracks a viola part and Phil Cunningham provides a supremely sensitive piano accompaniment. Other supporting musicians – Kris Drever (acoustic guitar), Ross Hamilton (bass, electric guitar) and Martin O’Neill (bodhrán) – help Duncan to realise his vision, and such is the high quality of the recording (all credit to Brian McNeill here) that all contributions are given a credible perspective while allowing Duncan’s own playing to bloom and shine; for example, the glistening tones of The Hill Of The High Byre are a model of restrained accompaniment yet add considerably to the atmosphere and impact of the contours of the tune. On the more animated selections such as Duncan’s own reel The Farley Bridge and the Galician-inflected 250 To Vigo (composed by Shooglenifty’s Angus Grant), the tune loses absolutely nothing in forward momentum while Duncan’s trademark unhurried lyricism still permeates the playing. Throughout, Duncan’s musicianship is miraculous, outstandingly stylish and eloquent, and this is a significantly classy record which I can’t praise highly enough.
Inverness Courier article 16 Jan 2009
Making the connection with fiddlers
GLASGOW will get a lesson in the art of Highland fiddle playing as part of the city’s 16th annual Celtic Connections music festival, which gets under way this weekend.
Among the local artists making the journey down the A9 will be two of Scotland’s leading fiddle players Duncan Chisholm and Bruce MacGregor.
They, together with MacGregor’s Blazin’ Fiddles bandmate Iain MacFarlane from Glenfinnan, will be paying tribute to their fiddle teacher Donald Riddell, who farmed at South Clunes seven miles west of Inverness.
The three fiddlers have already recorded a tribute to their old teacher in the album “A Highland Fiddler”, but the album was predated by a couple of live shows for the Highland Festival.
Now “A Highland Fiddler” is making its Glasgow debut at St Andrew’s in the Square in just over a week on Saturday 24th January and is already a sell out.
“The one thing we would all say we got from Donald was a pretty good idea of technique,” said Chisholm who was a pupil of Riddell for eight years.
“He wasn’t a very strict man, he was a very caring teacher, but you had to do it his way up until the point when he decided to let you fly the nest. I remember him saying: ’You’ve spent the last eight years playing like Donald Riddell. Now you’ve got to go and play like Duncan Chisholm.’”
Riddell died in 1992, by which time Chisholm was already making a name for himself with the Celtic rock band Wolfstone. Chisholm does not know if his former mentor ever heard Wolfstone, but does not think Riddell would not have disapproved of his pupil’s new direction.
“Ultimately he was a musical man and I’m sure he would have seen it as a step forward for the music. Although he was a strict disciplinarian about the music, he had a very open mind as well,” Chisholm added.
Many more of Riddell’s former pupils continue to play, demonstrating his continuing influence on fiddle playing in the Highlands and beyond.
Chisholm calculates that Riddell was seeing around 50 students a week when he was a pupil, with some of them also going on to musical careers, such as Inverness fiddler Sarah-Jane Summers of the trio Fribo, who released her debut solo album last year.
One important aspect of Riddell’s teaching, Chisholm believes, was that his music was grounded in the traditions of both west and east Scotland.
One of Riddell’s own teachers was Alexander Grant Battan, the best friend of the great Aberdeenshire fiddler James Scott Skinner, but Riddell was also influenced by the West Coast tradition and pipe playing. A piper himself, he served as Pipe Major for the Lovat Scouts throughout World War II.
Though he appreciates the grounding in the fiddle technique that learning the Scott Skinner repertoire of strathspeys and reels gave him, Chisholm confessed: “I was always more into the pipe marches and Gaelic airs. That meant more to me than the tunes of Scott Skinner, but I was lucky to get both of them in the teaching.”
Another plus for Chisholm about next weekend’s concert is that unlike most of his other musical outlets, it allows him to play along with fellow fiddlers.
“I can play with Bruce and Iain and get totally different things from playing with either of them,” he said.