Rachel Newton – “Here’s My Heart Come Take It”.

Hi guys! 🙂 

 

FOr today I chose the title track from Scottish singer and harpist Rachel Newton’s great album, Here’s My Heart, Come Take it, which showcases very well how changeable we can be as humans. It is a North American song which was collected by Edith Fowke from John Leahy in Douro, Ontario in 1958. The music is by Rachel herself. 

 

Rachel Newton – “O Cò Thogas Dhìom An Fhadachd”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you another song by  Scottish singer and harpist Rachel Newton, this time one coming from her 2018 album West. It is an entirely solo album, consisting only of Rachel’s vocals and harp, both acoustic and electroharp. It was recorded at her grandparents’ house and produced by Mattie Foulds. I don’t know much about this particular piece, other than what Rachel wrote herself, that it is based on the singing of Jenna Cumming on BBC Alba (BBC Alba (the Scottish Gaelic TV channel), and since I don’t speak Gàidhlig (yet) I don’t know what it is about, but it sounds beautiful to me nonetheless. 

Rachel Newton – “Three Days”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   For today, I want to share the third piece on here from Rachel Newton’s very interesting concept album called Changeling. I really like it, because as someone who happens to simultaneously be into folklore as well as all things disability and mental health, I have a bit of an interest specifically in changelings as well and I like the fact that she thought about making a whole album dedicated to this topic, and it’s a great album. This particular instrumental piece speaks to my imagination particularly much though. It is Rachel’s original composition, inspired by the old Scottish custom which said that, after the birth of a child, three women must have stayed with the mother and baby for three days, to make sure that the child won’t be taken away by the fairies. And so from the image of this that she had, she wrote this piece for fiddle, viola and cello, where the three instruments symbolise the three women. 

Rachel Newton – “To the Awe”.

   Hey dear people! 🙂 

   The song I have for you today is the title track from the Scottish singer and harpist Rachel Newton’s last year’s album To The Awe. It was recorded during the Covid lockdown, and, interestingly, as Rachel writes on her Bandcamp, her vocals were recorded in her bedroom wardrobe. Recording this album in such circumstances must have been difficult, but I like albums that were recorded in some unusual way or setting etc. and how people can be creative and resourceful about it. It is all about women, from a historical angle, because all of the lyrics here are old ballads or poems. On the contrary, the arrangements feel more contemporary, more than was the case with her previous albums, and with quite rich instrumentation. 

   As for this particular song, it was inspired by a poem called The Rock of Cader Idris, written by the English poet Felicia Hemmans. The poem, in turn, is inspired by the mysterious Welsh mountain Cadaer Idris, whose name translates to Idris’ Chair into English. Its name comes from Idris, the medieval king of Meirionnydd, who, according to Welsh folklore, was a giant, so huge that he could view his entire kingdom from the mountain, sitting on it as if in an armchair. There’s also a rock on top of the mountain that resembles a chair. According to the legend associated with Cadaer Idris, when you spend a night on the mountain, you’re going to wake up either dead, or frenzied, or possess the gift of poetic inspiration. And that’s what both Felicia Hemmans’ poem and Rachel Newton’s song are about. I have actually already shared one other musical piece about Cadaer Idris on here, recorded by The Harriet Earis Trio

Rachel Newton – “A Phiuthrag’s a Phiuthar” (Little Sister, Sister).

Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I want to share with you a beautiful Scottish traditional song. I first heard it sung by Julie Fowlis and may share her version in the future as well because it’s great too and despite I really love Julie Fowlis and she’s been one of the first Scottish Gaelic singers I learned about when I started to explore Celtic music I’ve shared very little by her so far. 

   This is a waulking song (one that was sung by Scottish women while walking (fulling) cloth to give a rhythm to it and make the activity more fun as well) and is also considered a funeral lament by some, as much because of its sad melody as the lyrics. It is from the perspective of a young girl who was abducted by fairies, and in this song she calls out to her sister for help asking her sister to find her and describing what the place where she’s in looks like and lamenting over her fate. The Celtic peoples (but not only them, of course, as other cultures also have similar beliefs from what I’m aware of) often explained death to themselves as someone having been kidnapped and imprisoned by  fairies, which surely made it easier for them to cope with the loss emotionally, I guess in particular with regards to death of young people, believing that they still are alive, just not where they’re supposed to be, although personally I guess I’d much rather prefer knowing that someone has died rather than if they were kidnapped and held somewhere against their will and wondering what on Earth could be happening to them right now and frustrating myself that I can’t really do anything. Also things like mental illness, or even more prominently disabilities In children (autism or intellectual disability in particular I think) were rationalised as someone having been taken away by fairies and replaced by a fairy in human form which is called a changeling. Changelings were a widespread thing and we even had them in Slavic countries as well and so did Scandinavians. Such changeling would then often be treated in some pretty nasty ways, all with the best of intentions of revealing the true identity of the child and thus getting the real child back, there were also loads of different rituals that were supposed to keep fairies away from young babies. 

   In the case of the girl from this song, it seems most likely that she must have actually died. You can read about this song and see its translation on Terre Celtiche

Rachel Newton – “One Hour More”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I’d really like to share with you this beautiful, melancholic piece from Scottish. Harpist and folk singer Rachel Newton. This is her original composition, from her 2016 album Here’s My heart, Come Take it. 

Rachel Newton – “Poor Lost Babe”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I want to share with you a song performed by the Scottish harpist and singer Rachel Newton, several of whose songs I’ve already shared on here. It comes from her 2016 album called Here’s My Heart, Come Take it, and is written from the perspective of a mother. 

Rachel Newton – “Gura Muladach Sgith Mi”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   For today I have a song by Rachel Newton for you all. She is a Scottish singer and harpist whose music has already been featured on my blog several times. This is a traditional song, as far as I’m aware, and comes from her album called West. 

Rachel Newton – “The Bloody Gardener”.

Hi people! 🙂

Today I have an English folk ballad for you, sung by a Scottish singer. It’s another one on this blog that is quite murky and tells the story of a murder, in this case we don’t know if it’s inspired by true events or not. This song is included in the Roud Folk Song Index and was first recorded by A.L. Lloyd. Lyrics in traditional songs like this tend to vary from one version to another, but Rachel Newton recorded her version with the same lyrics as A.L. Lloyd’s. It comes from her 2016 album “Here’s My Heart Come Take It”.

Rachel Newton – “Don’t Go Out Tonight My Darling”.

For today, I’d like to share with you yet another song from the Scottish harpist and singer Rachel Newton. It is included in the Roud Ballads index, and apparently can be traced back to Arkansas. As it’s easy to figure out from the song, it’s about a woman who is in a relationship with an alcoholic, and it’s quite heart-wrenching.

Rachel Newton – “The Maid of Neidpath”.

Hiya people! 🙂

A beautiful Scottish piece I have for you today! It’s actually a poem by sir Walter Scott, but played on the harp and sung by Rachel Newton. It tells the story of Jean Douglas – daughter of William Douglas – who lived in Neidpath castle in the 18th century. She fell in love with a man who, although he was of noble birth, was considered not a proper match for Jean, so, in an attempt to make his daughter forget about her love, her father sent him away. That totally destroyed poor Jean, who fell very ill as a result, and was only able to watch out the window for when her lover would come back. Eventually he did, but she was so poorly and sick-looking that he didn’t even recognise her and rode past the castle. That ultimately broke the girl’s heart and she died. Her memory still seems to be alive in that area because she’s still believed to haunt the castle.

Rachel Newton – “Hi Horo’s na Horo Eile”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today, let’s listen to another piece from this great Scottish harpist and singer, in Scottish Gaelic. This is a really interesting traditional love song from a female perspective. I’ve found a translation of it, which I’ll share below as usual, but if you like this sort of thing or are intrigued by something in the lyrics, I highly recommend you go visit

the original source

and read the notes below the translation as there are plenty of little geeky linguistic bits explained about the lyrics.

 

You are my love and I’ll never deny it

When I was a green young girl

I fell in love with the young man

who had the handsome appearance;

and I will never love another

I went into the forest of trees and branches

and took an interest in a lovely sapling

it is in Glasgow of the shops

that I fell in love with the manly handsome lad.

The most capable fingers that could write with a pen

or tune the strings of a violin;

it is your music that would lift my spirits

when I was ] weary and melancholy

Your beautiful splendid curly locks,

the hair of your head is like the black-bird’s feather;

your two cheeks are the colour of roses

when the dew of the moring’s mist is on them

Your legs are strong and shapely

like a salmon in a crystal clear stream

and it’s absolutely true that I’ve given my love to you

amongst all the people that are in the world.

But I hope and expect

that the day will come when we will be together;

and if you are faithful to me

I shall love no other while I live.

Rachel Newton – “Proud Maisrie”.

Hey people! 🙂

A song I have for you today comes from Scottish singer and harpist Rachel Newton, whose music has already been featured on here a few times. This song is her rendition of a traditional ballad, which is also known under several other titles as far as I’m aware. I really like the way she did it. I believe Maisrie is a spelling variation of Maisery, as in Child’s ballad Lady Maisery and the folk group Lady Maisery who are named after that ballad.

Rachel Newton – “Gura Mise Tha Fo Mhulad” (I Am Full Of Sorrow).

Hey guys! 🙂

Today I want to share with you a Scottish Gaelic song from a great harpist and singer Rachel Newton, who has already been featured on my blog a couple times. This is what’s called a waulking song. Waulking songs in Scottish folk music are songs which used to be sung by women while fulling the cloth, which in Scots is called waulking. Originally, they were accompanied by rhythmic beating of the cloth against the table or something which they did to soften it up, so that’s why these songs always have a strong beat. I don’t speak Scottish Gaelic, not yet at least, but this song was featured in The Rough Guide to Scottish Folk and there it is translated as I Am Full Of Sorrow.

Rachel Newton – “Skye Air”.

For today, I decided to share with you a deliciously long, beautiful and a bit melancholic solo harp piece performed by Scottish harpist Rachel Newton, whose music I’ve already shared with you before. I only recently heard this particular piece but I’m totally in love with it and I think many other people may find it very interesting and pleasant. 🙂

 

Song of the day (21st October) – Rachel Newton – “The Changeling Reel”.

Hey guys! 🙂

Here’s another piece from the great Scottish harpist, Rachel Newton. This was one of the first pieces by her that I’ve heard, I like the vibe of it. Also changelings are among the things in folklore that feel very close to me, so that’s another reason why I really like this interesting reel. Hope you will too. 🙂

Song of the day (18th October) – Rachel Newton – “Jolene”.

Hi guys! 🙂

I have another harp piece for you, but this time a pop one. This is – as I think you can easily guess – a cover of Dolly Parton’s Jolene. Rachel Newton also collaborated with Emily Portman on her album from which I once shared a song called Two Sisters, with Rachel’s fabulous harp in it. I really like her harp play a lot.