The connecting thread between all of the music today is Lauren MacColl, an award-winning fiddle player, music scholar, and songwriter from the Black Isle in the Scottish Highlands. MacColl performs in an all-women fiddle quartet, in a trio with singer/harpist Rachel Newton, and in a duo with flautist Calum Stewart, in addition to her solo work, her on-going research into the old music of the Highlands, and collaborations with other musicians. She's released three solo albums to date: When Leaves Fall, Strewn With Ribbons, and Tune Book. "Creating new music is often a response to an encounter with the land, with people, and the emotions that experience evokes," MacColl says (in this short video). "And I'm lucky to live in a particularly beautiful place, with a landscape that never fails to inspire me, both in life and in music."
Above: "Miss Ferguson of Raith/Mary MacDonald," a traditional Scottish march and reel performed by the "chamber-folk" quartet Rant. The group consists of four Scottish fiddlers: Bethany and Jenna Reid from the Shetlands, Lauren MacColl and Sarah-Jane Summers from the Highlands. Their second album, Reverie, is coming out in May, and the trailer for it is lovely.
Below: "Da Haa," performed by Rant. These women are just wonderful.
Above: "Crow Road Croft" performed by Calum Stewart on flute and Lauren MacColl on fiddle. (The names of the backing musicians are not listed.) Stewart & MacColl have recorded one fine album together: Wooden Flute and Fiddle.
And last, for something just a little bit different: The Rachel Newton Trio performs Scottish folk flavored rendition of "Jolene" by Dolly Parton. The trio consists of Rachel Newton on harp, Lauren MacColl on fiddle, and Mattie Foulds on percussion.
Oh heck, here's one more:
Rachel Newton alone this time, with a lovely cover of Hank Williams' "I'm so Lonesome I Could Cry," from her second album, The Shadow Side. Newton plays fiddle and viola in addition to harp, and is based in Glasgow.