The Woods

by Hamish Napier

supported by
paultomaney thumbnail
paultomaney Beautiful, joyful and organic
philmh thumbnail
philmh The Pioneer populates the album’s foreground, dancing Birch leaves alternating light and shade; with a prolific seeding of what’s to follow, the Birch is the perfect opener to help us see “the trees for The Woods.....” Favorite track: The Pioneer.
Sven B. Schreiber (sbs)
Sven B. Schreiber (sbs) thumbnail
Sven B. Schreiber (sbs) What becomes immediately clear is that Hamish Napier is a brilliant composer and arranger. His music is Scottish folk at the core, sounding as authentic as can be. At the same time, there's a nice rock ingredient in most of the songs, shifting the album markedly towards folk rock of the "Nightnoise" kind - an Irish variant I've cherished quite a bit in the 80's and 90's. "Nightnoise" ceased to exist long ago... a warm welcome to Hamish Napier, who will get a place in my heart close to them. Favorite track: The Tree of the Return.
S.V. Lasko
S.V. Lasko thumbnail
S.V. Lasko The finest instrumental folk o' this year .
strucker thumbnail
strucker A masterfully conceived, researched and executed recording full of vivid natural atmosphere, spirit and imagination. Hamish Napier's talents as a composer and musician shine in this heartfelt tribute to the stories and heritage of his native Highland woodlands. The expansive booklet with detailed information about trees and their relation to the Gaelic alphabet is fascinating and enhances this epic musical adventure.
dan-- thumbnail
dan-- 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!
  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Almost a double-album at 1 hour 6 minutes!

    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.
    ships out within 3 days

      £18 GBP or more 


  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      £11 GBP  or more


  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 9 Hamish Napier releases available on Bandcamp and save 20%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Fire | Water | Earth, Badenoch The Storylands Vol.3 - History, Badenoch The Storylands Vol.2 - People, Badenoch The Storylands Vol.1 - Folk Tales, The Schawaldouris [Wanderers in the Woods], The Woods, The Tree of Eternity (feat. Duncan Chisholm), The Railway, and 1 more. , and , .

    Purchasable with gift card

      £33.06 GBP or more (20% OFF)


The Pioneer 03:26
The Boortree 03:14
Forest Folk 04:02
The Foragers 02:34
Wildfire 01:39
Cannteareachd lyrics by Calum MacCrimmon
Forest Time 02:32


Cameron McNeish, The Scots Magazine:
"A fabulously atmospheric collection of music - a beautiful folk tune cycle that explores the inter-connected flora and fauna, folklore, legends and characters of Scotland's native forests. A vivid exploration of woodland, and its connected to the past and present....Meticulous research and authenticity drives the album and makes it stand out as a work of passion and commitment"

Hamish says:
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.

Cairngorms Connect, Oct 2019 say:
'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.


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.


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Hamish Napier Glasgow, UK

Hamish is a multi-instrumentalist and composer from the Scottish Highlands.

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