The Scottish Saltire

The Scottish Saltire

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

An Amazing Voice

So you all know that I love everything Scottish. Why else would I have quit my job, sold my house and dismantled my life in Arizona to chase my dream of living in The Scottish Highlands and studying the history of this amazing country?

When I think of spending my days in an academic environment with other people who are just as daft about the history of Scotland as I am I feel like a little kid waiting for the first day of school. Wait....I am. Well, not a little kid, certainly, but waiting for the first day of school, definitely (Sept 7th)! I have learned so much of Scotland's history on my own but I can't wait to get into the classroom where there are teachers who know a hell of a lot more than I do and who are there to share their knowledge!

But there is much more to Scotland than just her political and social history. Like music! When the twins and I were in Inverness in July of '07 we saw a traditional folk band called Shiehallion. They blew my socks off. Just three on the pipes, one on the accordion and the front man, Kenny Jamieson. Kenny plays the acoustic guitar and the bodhran and is the sole singer in the group. He has a powerful voice that, in my opinion, is so perfectly suited for the music he sings. Songs about Scottish battles and patriots, songs about home and identity and cultural pride. I bought a compilation CD that night of a variety of traditional artists who have played at that venue and I really enjoy the entire CD but my favorite song has always been the song that Kenny sings, called Hush, Hush, about the Highland Clearances. Shiehallion recently released their own CD and Nikki surprised me with a copy of it last month. I have to admit that it's a good thing it's not on vinyl. It would be worn out by now. I listen to it all the time.

Ok, here's where I have to make a confession. Kenny has such a strong and wonderful Scottish accent that my American ears have difficulty understanding what he's singing. Not to be deterred, I have seached out the song lyrics, some from Shiehallion's website, others from different Internet sites. It's funny how, once I know the words, the songs sound so clear to me. I can't imagine how I couldn't have gotten the lyrics just by listening!

The website administrator has put a bunch of live performance videos on YouTube and there is a link to them from the website. Shiehallion does some great rousing songs, too, but the ballads are my favorites.

Here are a couple of samples.

I can't wait to get to Inverness and be able to listen live whenever I want. Student by day, Barfly by night!


Nikki said...

Of course you're a "little" kid waiting for the first day of school! :D

Anonymous said...

I bet by the time you are in class you WILL be teaching the teachers. You go find yourself another band man while you are bar stooling it every night. Boy,I bet you thought those days were behind you. You sound like you are indeed recapturing your younger days. What a special adventure. I'm so green!!!! Here I thought living the American dream was at the end of the rainbow. Maybe I will kick the boyfriend to the side and become the wayward traveler searching high and low for the true personal dream. an accent!

Connie said...

LOL! I don't think I want another band man. The last one didn't work out so well!