These original compositions are so musical and so well performed! They are rooted in tradition, yet have a very personal feel. The album focuses on the Scottish woodlands, with each tune expressing the feel Hamish has for one of the tree species in the woods. It’s magical stuff, and fun listening!
If you preorder the CD you get BOTH the CD and the digital album download.
The CD also comes in a truly stunning 6-page digipack, containing: - an epic 28-page, 6000-word booklet with native tree facts & Highland folklore - a beautifully detailed drawing of the Caledonian forest by Somhairle MacDonald - stunning landscape photography by David Russell at Highland Wildscapes. - you INSTANTLY receive one album track download: Track 9: "Forest Folk"
....all in all: you get an album, a piece of art and a tree book!
Includes unlimited streaming of The Woods
via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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Streaming + Download
Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
As a local musician, I am very grateful to 'Cairngorms Connect' for this special opportunity by sponsoring me to compose this album of new Scottish music. I grew up right next to Anagach Woods in Grantown and spent many hours of my childhood playing there. I resettled here 2 years ago after 16 years away in the city. My first step in reconnecting with the landscape was to go for a stroll with a tree book. My perspective has changed. What I viewed as simply ‘the woods’ is now a gathering of recently acquainted characters, e.g. alder, willow, hawthorn. We are tree creatures. After the last ice age 100 centuries ago, the forests expanded across the barren landscape and with it the human population. Woods and man evolved together. Let us regain the forests and our common knowledge of them. The 18 letters of the Gaelic alphabet were traditionally taught to children through the old names for the native trees (plus a few shrubs). I have written a tune for each letter and included all the native trees that can be found locally in the wild. There are 2 trees for each of the letters G, R and U. There are tunes for forest flora and fauna listed in Scots. I have included descriptions, facts and uses for each tree. All 26 tunes are rooted in traditional Scottish folk dance tune forms, woven in contemporary arrangements and enhanced with field recordings made in the woods. For me this is an album of identity, exploring my native languages, music, folklore and natural environment.
Hamish, Dec 2019
'Cairngorms Connect' is delighted to commission Hamish Napier, a local Strathspey composer, to produce this new collection of Scottish tunes dedicated to our woodlands. Cairngorms Connect is a partnership of neighbouring land managers, committed to an ambitious 200-year vision to enhance habitats, species and ecological processes across 600 square kilometres, here in the Cairngorms National Park. It is a landscape of superlatives. Ancient woodlands intersected by sparkling rivers and lochs encircle an Arctic-like mountain massif: the most extensive and wildest of its kind in Britain. There are vast tracts of blanket bog, tranquil wetlands and secret woodland bogs. It is a place where eagles soar, wildcats prowl, red squirrels forage and is home to plants, insects, birds and mammals found in few other places. The strength of this partnership is the coming together of like-minded managers of Wildland Limited, Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry & Land Scotland and RSPB Scotland, committed to delivering habitat enhancement at a scale unparalleled in Britain. Their funding and support, along with funding we receive from the Endangered Landscapes Programme - a partnership between the Cambridge Conservation Initiative and Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin - has made this album possible. For us, this album links the stories and heritage of the woodlands with hope we have for the future of this land and the people connected to it.
Cairngorms Connect, Oct 2019.
released March 21, 2020
Musicians (the initials of the musicians who playing on each track is given below each track title).
Hamish Napier - whistles, wooden flutes, pods, pianos, harmonium, Rhodes & Wurly
Steve Byrnes - guitars, drum kit & percussion
James Lindsay - double bass
Innes Watson - viola, fiddle & string arrangements
Jarlath Henderson - uilleann pipes
Ross Ainslie - Scottish pipes: Small (#7), Borders (#19) & Highlands (#2, #6)
Su-a Lee - cello & musical saw (#17)
Calum MacCrimmon - Canntaireachd vocals (#20)
Pete Smith - recording of a capercaillie ‘lek’ in the Caledonian Forest (#21)
Will Boyd-Wallis - axe (#18), loch ice waves & roaring red deer stags in the woods (#17)
Northeasterly Wind - clarsach (#17)
Willie Laing & Malcolm ‘Ginge’ Lee - two man crosscut forestry saw (#18)
Swifts, Wood Pigeon, Tawny Owl, Crestie, Chaffinch, Woodpecker & River Spey - vocals
All tracks composed by H Napier PRS/MCPS and Canntaireachd lyrics by C MacCrimmon.
Produced by Andrea Gobbi & H Napier and arranged by S Byrnes & H Napier.
Recorded, mixed & mastered by A Gobbi at GloWorm Recordings & Carrier Waves, Glasgow.
Additional recordings by Barry Reid on location in Hamish’s livingroom, Grantown-on-Spey.
Field recordings by H Napier, W Boyd-Wallis and P Smith.
Artwork & design by Somhairle MacDonald.
All photos by David Russell, Highland Wildscapes, except Spey floaters photo (p.19, Walter Dempster) & Lumberjills (p.10, courtesy of Forestry & Land Scotland).
I am grateful for the wisdom and enthusiasm of friends, old and new, who gave generously to this project: all at Cairngorms Connect; Su-a & my family; Will & Becks for welcoming me into their forest home; Margaret Stewart for research & help in the creation & pronunciation of my own version of the Gaelic tree alphabet - also Roddy MacLean & Mandy Haggith; Iain Middleton and Steve Byrne for help with Scots; Sarah White & Sarah Walker (RSPB), Pete Moore (SNH), Basil Dunlop & Bill Sadler for local tree knowledge; Colin Goldie whistles & George Ormiston flutes; David Foley, Donald Shaw & Sarah Markey for lending flutes & harmonium; Alison Smith for admin support; Jacky Pankhurst for social media; & Birnam CD.
Scottish mega piper Ross Ainslie. awesome self-penned tunes, banging arrangements and all-round dynamite production! Ross and I have been collaborating for years on each other's gigs and albums! Hamish Napier