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: "Oigfhear A Chuil Duinn" (audio only), from MacColl's solo album Strewn With Ribbons.
And last, for something just a little bit different: MacColl withe The Rachel Newton Trio, performing a Scottish folk flavored rendition of "Jolene" by Dolly Parton. Rachel Newton is on harp, 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.