Rachel Sermanni – “Eggshells”.

Hey guys! 🙂

Today, I have for you a song from this really interesting Scottish singer. I’ve known this particular song for quite some time, but I’ve been listening to more of Rachel Sermanni’s music lately and exploring it. She is from the Scottish highlands and is of Italian descent, and what I find particularly interesting about her music is that I’ve read she’s often inspired by her dreams when creating it.

Phamie Gow – “Beginning Sweetly”.

Hi guys! 🙂

Today, I’d like to introduce you to a piece of music from a very talented Scottish multiinstrumentalist whom I’ve just recently discovered myself. I really like how versatile she is musically. And, since it’s still morning here right now, I thought I’d share this particular piece, because I think it’s really nice to listen to it at this time of the day.

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.

Song of the day (29th December) – Ailie Robertson – “La Gueussinette”.

Here is another very lovely harp piece, a waltz, this time from Scottish harpist Ailie Robertson, accompanied by cello. It was was composed by Stephen Jones for his son, before he was even born, and apparently inspired by Gustav’s Klimt painting of a pregnant woman.

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 (14th November) – Celia Briar – “Farewell To Craigie Dhu”.

Here’s another lovely harp-driven tune for you guys, from a harpist whose music I shared with you before. This composition sounds contemporary to me, and turns out that that’s what it is. It was composed by Scottish folk singer songwriter Dougie MacLean, and the Craigie Dhu in the title was a place (property) where he lived. I think moving houses, especially such that are dear enough to you that you feel like capturing them in music, is a very stressful and unsettling thing but this farewell doesn’t sound all that sad at all, it sounds very hopeful, don’t you think? So if you need a bit of hope for the future in your life, maybe you can find it in here.

Song of the day (6th November) – Ailie Robertson – “Glimmer”.

Hi people! 🙂

I had already shared one piece by this great Scottish harpist on here. This one comes from just the same album. It has a more reflective vibe, and I find it very relaxing. Hope you’ll find it enjoyable. 🙂

This track is not available on YouTube, so I’ll embed it from Spotify and for those of you who do not have Spotify but use some other music streaming service, I’ll include a link to Songwhip that you can follow and find it on your streaming platform of choice.

Floraleda Sacchi – “La Chasse” (The Hunt).

Hi people! 🙂

Today I have a delightful, classical piece for you. While I can appreciate the value of classical music and highly respect people who have an authentic and deep understanding of it, I myself do not feel like I have it. I don’t know whether it comes from a sort of aversion I’d gotten for this type of music at school and it still is there somewhere, or is it more a thing of my lack of emotional maturity, which I think is necessary to understand complex classical pieces and feel them.

However, as you may know, I love harp. Especially |Celtic harp, and especially in a folk setting, but I also adore classical music where the harp is very prominent, or even jazz or pop music with harp but in such genres it’s easier to screw it up so I don’t always end up liking it. And so you can imagine that my love is all the greater for solo harp music! There haven’t been many composers who would compose solo music for harp, usually piano pieces are arranged and adapted, nevertheless there have been a handful of them, who usually were harpists themselves. And there is a fabulously talented and versatile harpist (mostly Celtic) in Italy, called Floraleda Sacchi, who has put a lot of effort over the years of her work to popularise harpists and harp composers, especially the more obscure ones like Elias Parish Alvars or Alphonse Hasselmans. This beautiful and evocative piece here was also composed by one of those forgotten harpists, a Scottish lady of Italian descent called Sophia Dussek (nee Corri). Her music does strike a chord with me, and in any case, as is typically the case with me and harp music, is just a pleasure to listen to. This is a long, solo, multi-threated piece, and thus just right for my voracious brain. I don’t speak French but the title of this composition seems to mean the hunt in this language.

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.

Ailie Robertson & Tim Eedey – “Trip To Dinan/Princess Nancy’s”.

Hey you people! 🙂

Well yeah, there has been a lot more harp on here lately, but, just like I said recently, I thought that, compared with my harpophilia, it was really too little so I’ll want to catch up on that a little in the nearest future.

Yesterday we had a Welsh duo, and today we are also having a thoroughly Celtic one – with one of the players playing harp. – The harp player is Scottish and is called Ailie Robertson, I really love how inventively she often uses her harp. The song, or rather a set that I want to show you comes from her album called Little Lights. The other member of the duo is called Tim Eedey, and he’s Irish. He plays many instruments, according to what I’ve read, although I can’t recall ever hear him play except on this album. On this particular track, he plays guitar.

As I said, this is a set of tracks rather than one single piece – which is common in folk music especially instrumental. The first piece is Trip To Dinan. I didn’t know where Dinan was, but this sounds just so enchanting, soothing and serene that I thought it must be a fictional place, but looked it up just for accuracy and now I know that there actually is a place called Dinan in Brittany. We just recently had Alan Stivell and Pontcallec, with its conspiracy, and now there’s another Breton town featured in my Mishmashy world. From what I’ve learnt it seems like this one’s quite popular with tourists, which you can deduce from the title anyway.

The second piece is a jig – and thus is much more energetic – and it’s substantially longer. It’s called Princess Nancy’s. I don’t know who princess Nancy was (sounds like a very unusual standalone name for a princess 😀 ), but I imagine that if she danced such joyful jigs, she must have been a very happy person. The only thing I know about the jig is that its other name is Liz Carroll’s, and Liz Carroll is of course an Irish fiddler, so I assume she must be the one who composed it/performed it first.

I hope you will also enjoy this two-piece set. 🙂

I also have some good news for you. If you have been following the song of the day series on my blog, you may know that, when a certain song is not available on YouTube (which is probably the most universal platform for music because it’s popular so there’s a lot of different music and you don’t even have to be logged in to listen to it), I shared it from Spotify, which is the streaming service I use and where I make most or at least a large part of my music discoveries. That was very frustratingly unfair on people who do not have Spotify, because they could only listen to a mini fragment of this song.

Now this is going to change a bit for the better. I’ve heard about a thing called Songwhip, which makes it possible to share a song with people using different streaming services. So if your preferred music source is Apple Music, Deezer or whatever else there is, and the song I’m sharing happens to be available in the catalogue of your streaming service of choice, you can just click the link to Songwhip and there you can choose the platform that you use and it will take you directly to the song. I think it’s very nice and practical.

I realise and it frustrates me that it still leaves out those who do not use ANY streaming service, and I guess there’s still a lot of such people and they have every right to steer clear from them and shouldn’t be discriminated like that, I am not trying to somehow impose using streaming services on any of my readers because I myself have a very much love-hate relationship with Spotify, which I even wrote a post about, and understand the reasons why people don’t like the idea. But there’s simply not much I can do to accomodate such people. That’s how it is when you listen to very quirky music. 😀 Sometimes also a particular song may not be available in your streaming service of choice because they catalogues do vary a bit between each other in what they have and what they don’t, and it particularly applies to small record labels, or at least that’s my impression, that they may collaborate with one streaming service, but not the other.

So from now on, when a song I’m posting won’t be on YouTube at all or not in a version I find worth sharing, I’ll embed the song from Spotify as I always did and also provide the link to Songwhip who use other streaming services.

Ailie Robertson & Tim Eedey – “Trip To Dinan/Princess Nancy’s”

Nina Nesbitt – “The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change”.

Hey people! 🙂

I have another song by Nina Nesbitt for you today, and another British pop song after Jack Vallier’s, that I like. It’s topic is something very trivial and obvious, but sometimes, especially when life gets a bit hectic, or perhaps boring, we tend to forget about it, that things in our lives are constantly changing, and next year on the same day, we may be in a completely different place and state of mind. I’m just re-reading a fabulously written biography of Bronte family, by a Polish writer, she has translated Bronte sisters’ books as well, and there’s the same motif. Anne and Emily Bronte have that tradition on writing birthday notes on Emily’s birthday every three years, and they write on what has changed in their life since the last note, and muse on how life is changing and where they will be in next three years’ time. For some reason, I found the way they do it quite hilarious. Okay, so here’s the song.

 

Nina Nesbitt – “Is It Really Me You’re Missing?”.

Nina Nesbitt is quite a well-known singer and songwriter from Scotland. I think it’s also cool and worth mentioning that she’s also part Swedish – her mum is from Sweden. – I really like her music, along with other similar British artists like Gabrielle Aplin or Lauren Aquilina or Birdy or the like. And I like this particular song for a good few reasons so I thought I’d share it.

 

Ray Fisher – “Willie’s Lady” & Martin Carthy – “Willies Lady”.

For today I have for you a song in two versions. Firstly because I like them both, and secondly, because they’re both in different languages.Ray Fisher was Scottish, so her version is in Scots, as all the songs she sang, and Martin Carthy is English and his version is in English. Also, I have no idea about what the perception of Scots language is like in people whose first language is English, I don’t know how much you can understand of it, in my case I was able to understand more than I thought I would listening to it for the first time, I suppose both thanks to English and Swedish, as there are Scandinavian influences at all, but there were still big patches of the lyrics that I wouldn’t understand, and even had trouble understanding various bits and pieces when reading the lyrics, so eventually had to just look up what it is about, and then understanding of the song has become much easier. So, if you’re gonna have the same dilemma, Martin Carthy’s version is very much the same in terms of lyrics, only with a few differences, like that in his version Willie is a king, and it’s his wife who comes up with a plan of how to get rid of the spell that Willie’s mother has cast on her, while in Fisher’s version it’s Billy Blind who gives Willie that idea.

“Willie’s Lady” is a Child ballad, and I think I have said it on my blog before that I really love the collection of Child ballads!

 

So, here are the two versions of this song. 🙂

Ray Fisher:

Martin Carthy:

KT Tunstall – “Suddenly I See”.

Hi guys! 🙂

Practically it’s very recently that I’ve learned about this singer, but actually she’s not that unknown and soon after I learned about her I realised that I know one of her songs since many years, and I have really good associations with her. It’s also generally very cool and KT has an interesting voice, so this is my pick for today.

Song of the day (6th March) – King Creosote – “Bluebell, Cockleshell, 123”.

This is the first song by King Creosote that I’ve ever heard and something drawn me immediately to his music. I like that you can hear both folkish and more alternative influences in his music. But what I guess drew me to his music then was that this song, although so very cheerful and major and carefree in tone, especially with those children chiming in, is actually about a funeral… I like such unobvious combinations. But then I discovered the whole album from which this song comes, “From Scotland With Love”, and it absorbed me so much that I went through it all a few times almost in a row, it was so powerful and moving. The album is the soundtrack to the documentary, called also “From Scotland With Love” about scotland and Scottish people who had become forgotten with years, about their lives, often harrowing life stories and collective history of the Scottish people. Scotland is one of my favourite countries, I haven’t watched the documentary itself but just the album makes a huge impression, carries so many feelings in it, you can strongly feel it even if you’re not Scottish yourself. But still, because this song was the one I heard first, and it made me so surprised, I guess that’s why I love it the most. King Creosote is Kenny Anderson, and he is from Fife in Scotland. Actually, after I had a listen (or a few as I said) to “From Scotland With Love”, I noticed that he also enjoys some attention from the Polish radio which was quite a big discovery for me. One public radiostation seems to like his music. 🙂

Song of the day (4th March) – Emma Thompson & Peigi Barker, Ashley Serena ft. Karliene – “A Mhaighdean Bhan Uasal” – “Noble Maiden Fair”.

 

Some time ago, I shared with you guys a couple songs by Scottish singer Julie Fowlis, who sings in Scottish Gaelic, and I wrote that Julie Fowlis became known to some wider audience because of the Disney film called “Brave” where she sang two songs in English. I didn’t show them as there is so much more great and far less known music from Julie Fowlis, but I’d like to share something from “Brave” now. This song “A Mhaighdean Bhan Uasal” or “Noble Maiden Fair” in English, is sung in the film by queen Elinor (Emma Thompson, Merida’s mother) and Merida (Peigi Barker). They sing it when Merida is desperate to get her mother back as a human after she is transformed to a bear, and while the girl is having a memory of herself with her mother. It is a beautiful lullaby. I, being in love with all things Celtic, listened to the song before I even knew that this film exists and was quite surprised to hear it there, haha. I loved “Brave”, and still do, much enough to infect my sister, I started loving it because it seemed so very Celtic to me. While I still like it, I find that much of the Celticness in it is rather very stereotypical and artificial, which is sad, but I guess to be expected in a Disney film, however it’s good that they wanted to make Celtic culture more widely popular.

When it comes to this song, as I read somewhere it seems like it’s actually a direct translation from English, not a Gaelic song really, and also, Emma Thompson who plays Merida’s mother, is ENglish, and not a gaelic speaker, so even I, although I don’t speak Gaelic, only small bits and pieces, but managed to figure out its phonetics, was  able to say, or have a strong suspicion, that something is wrong with her Gaelic. Peigi on the other hand does it a bit better, because as I’ve been able to find out she had studied some Gaelic. While I loved Emma Thompson as Merida’s mum, and she sang it well, I wonder a bit why if they had someone like Julie Fowlis in the cast, they didn’t get her to sing it, she’d do it great, and it would be more authentic! Despite lacks in the linguistic sphere though, the song is very nice musically, and I love the harp in it.

But also, since I’ve been sharing some Karliene’s music with you, I thought I’d share her beautiful cover of this song, made in collaboration with Ashley Serena. While they both don’t speak Scottish Gaelic either, their version is also beautiful and with fabulous and much more present harp as well. I also have a feeling that despite linguistical lacks it’s somehow even more Celtic than the original for some reason, despite that part of it is actually in English. The English part is the translation (or original?) of the Gaelic version. Enjoy and let me know which one you like more. 🙂