Here is a link to the whole show of Liet International which is a European minority language song competition I sang in two weeks ago in Asturias, Spain.
I'm forth in the line up and is about 25 mins into the programme. Amy Henderson is playing box on stage with me. Enjoy!
NB: Thanks to MG ALBA for supporting our travel to the event. Mòran taing dhuibh!
What an amazing Bothan that was tonight. Amazing storytelling and song from various folk from the Highlands and beyond.
Our guest artist was Hamish MacDonald who is a legend; a national treasure and a hero for the Scots language.
Now looking forward to the next Bothan Inbhir Nis on the 5th April! Guest artists: Brian Ó hEadhra & Fiona Mackenzie.
'Like' Bothan Inbhir Nis at: www.facebook.com/bothaninbhirnis
I have really enjoyed playing with the new Gaelic singing quartet Cruinn. Cruinn consists of Rachel Walker, James Graham, Fiona Mackenzie and myself. We did our first gig at Celtic Connections in Glasgow on Sunday 22 January at Saint Andrew's in the Square. We also recorded two songs for the BBC Alba show Ho Ro Gheallaidh. That should come out this Autumn.
We also performed at the Gaelic Arts Showcase at Showcase Scotland on Friday 27 January. I love the close harmonies we do. So did the Oak and Thorn reviewer!
Hope so of you can make it tour our next gig in Edinburgh on 2 March.
Brian O hEadhra "An t-Allt"
Brechin All Records, 2011
Originally from Dublin singer/songwriter Brian ” hEadhra today lives in Inverness and writes Songs in Scottish Gaelic and English. The accomplished acoustic guitar player has invited his wife Fiona MacKenzie (vocals), Sandy Brechin (piano accordion), Chris Agnew (double and acoustic fretless bass), Pat Garvey (banjo) and Richard Werner and Louisa Rafferty on piano to record six original tracks, four cover versions and two traditional Irish songs.
It starts off with the intoxicating banjo rhythm of "Fathainn" (rumour), an original song in Gaelic about the evacuation of St. Kilda island off the Outer Hebrides; hauntingly beautiful singing together of Fiona and Brian as well as the accordion create the fine harmonies. The sad piano ballad "Take this Moment" was written when Brian was with the band Anam, guitar and piano play the fine melody and Brian adds his soulful singing. My favourites are "Peigi is Peadar", a traditional Irish song performed by Brian and Fiona a capella with Brian beating the bodhr‡n rhythm and Fiona MacKenzie's "Now you're gone", another song about St. Kilda from the viewpoint of the island. Fiona begins with a brilliant Gaelic lament before the band takes a traditional Bluegrass tune and accompany the virtuoso singing of the two singers with a fantastic Blues vibe. The Gaelic bard Donnchadh MacDhomhnaill wrote "Cha Tig MÚr Mo Bhean Dhachaigh", a sad song about a man's grieving brought forward perfectly by a modern bard. The only instrumental track is "Fonn Fhinn/ Fionn's Tune", a mesmerizing piano tune presented by Louisa Rafferty on piano and Sandy on accordion.
Brian O hEadhra's second solo album is a wonderful collection of Gaelic and English songs featuring some excellent musicians and brought forward perfectly. The two extraordinary singers and the fine musicians have recorded breathtaking contemporary folk music from Celtic lands. A must for friends of Gaelic songs.
© Adolf Ñgorhandì Goriup
BRIAN Ó HEADHRA
An t-Allt (The Stream), 12 tracks
Anam Communications/Brechin All Records, CDBAR011
In Scotland, they didn’t have a Great Famine: instead they had several small ones, plus the Highland Clearances. The effect on their native language was much the same. And it is the same language as ours, much closer than Germanic languages of any Dutch, German and English. Try getting a Devonian, a Tynesider and a Scouse to communicate, and see whether they all speak English. The Irish-Scots divide is far smaller, and listen to it being sung by a good voice, and for an Irish person it suddenly makes a lot of sense.
It proves that there are emotions that defy translation, such as the grief of exile, even from as bleak a home as the island of St. Kilda, where they lived on sea-birds.
This is a well-produced album, complete with song-words and there are well crafted melodies, both new and traditional. There’s even a bit of old-timey style banjo, evoking the Appalachians and the other New World places where the deportees eventually found refuge.
Spoken Scots-Gaeliic isn’t easily heard in Ireland, but this is powerful argument for remedying this situation. It’s also very companionable music, the sort I’d seek if I wanted to shorten a road. But beyond this, there’s an educational value for students of Irish, even in Gaeltacht summer schools. And it proves that it’s possible to advocate and defend the language and at the same time produce an enjoyable and artistic collection.
Well done, Brian, there’s a blackbird lost in you.
REVIEW FROM www.livingtradition.co.uk
BRIAN Ó hEADHRA - An t-Allt
Brechin All Records CDBAR011
Brian’s best known as a member of the group Anam – of whom we’ve heard little lately (have they split?). A year or two back, he released a rather fine album, Sonas, in collaboration with fiddler Bruce MacGregor and accordionist Sandy Brechin, which despite the presence of those two excellent musicians only served to emphasise just how brilliantly expressive a singer Brian is. And yet his is a quiet expressiveness, almost sensual in the way it warmly caresses the ear, and this quality is certainly heard to best advantage – and even more persuasive effect – on Brian’s new offering, An T-Allt, an almost entirely vocal set.
Brian enjoys thoughtful, sensibly understated, unflashy backings chiefly involving his own guitar with Chris Agnew (basses), Sandy Brechin (accordion) and Fiona Mackenzie (backing vocals), and there are occasional contributions from Pat McGarvey (banjo), Louisa Rafferty and Richard Werner (pianos). The mix of material is both attractive and wide-ranging; there are no fewer than five of Brian’s own compositions (pick of these being the opener Fathainn, which conveys the restless plight of the evacuated St. Kildans, and the tender night-song Caidil Ri Mo Thaobh), and a pair of traditional songs which have been translated from Irish Gaelic into Scottish Gaelic by Brian himself. Two representative pieces by bards Uilleam Ros and Donnchadh MacDhomhnaill both suit Brian’s engaging vocal style, as does an impassioned Gaelic translation of Richard Thompson’s Dimming Of The Day (perhaps more unexpectedly, given its compass), while another standout track is Fiona Mackenzie’s Now You’re Gone, which also sports a St. Kildan connection and bases its melody on that of Poor Wayfaring Stranger.
The one instrumental track is the delightful piano piece Fionn’s Tune, written by Brian for “wee Fionn”. A quietly satisfying set all round from this assured, accomplished and characterful Gaelic singer.
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.This album was reviewed in Issue 88 of The Living Tradition magazine.
News and thoughts from Brian Ó hEadhra.