Background to the songs
Tracks featured :
1. Black Cat Set
The Black Cat (Daniel Compton) - Myra's Jig (Ian Lowthian) - Reel des Voyageurs (trad)
Two modern jigs, followed by a traditional French Canadian reel, with a twist. For the first tune, we see a self-satisfied and saucy black cat, out for a nocturnal ramble.
2. The C Set
(all traditional, arranged Fraser/Smith)
Miss Jemima Johnson - North of The Grampians - Argyll's Bowling Green -
The Highlandman Kissed his Mother
Catherine found Miss Jemima Johnson in the Athole Collection while hunting for a strathspey that could be played as an air. North of the Grampians is one of our favorite strathspeys and the two reels were learnt from the playing of Chris Duncan.
3. Highland Thaw (Catherine Fraser)
An original piece written by Catherine and arranged by Duncan early in 2002. It remained nameless until after its first performance when our friend John Archdeacon described an early morning winter scene that he imagined as he listened : "A cold pre-dawn in the highlands ice, snow, everything hard and frozen. Then the sun peeks over the horizon and the cold begins to soften, snow and ice begin to melt, drops turn into tiny flows and run together into an ever widening stream a highland thaw." The title stuck. Thanks John!
The air is bitterly cold, the frozen earth rising to meet me as I take in the still forest surrounds. Slowly turning in circles I gaze up, aware of a mosaic of watery sun, chilled branches and ice blue sky. I feel a sudden surge of emotion deep from within me as the beauty of nature and the pure magic of my surroundings begin to infiltrate my being. Music flows from my soul as a love of life fills my heart. I feela powerful need for still contemplation and reflection, mingled with a joyous desire to dance. I am alive. I am whole. I am present. -- Catherine
4. Cape Breton Set
Cameron Chisholm (Brenda Stubbert) - Willie Kennedy's Strathspey (Brenda Stubbert) -
Rannie McLellan (Brenda Stubbert) - Flora McDonald (trad)
Catherine learnt the first three tunes from Brenda Stubbert in 1999 when on a visit to Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The fourth tune is a great reel taken from the Athole Collection.
5. The Bishop Set
Lament for The Bishop of Argyll (trad)
Mrs Oswald (of Auchencruive's) Favourite Reel. (Robert Mackintosh)
Duncan's interpretation of a tune from David Johnson's "Scottish Fiddle Music in the 18th Century", followed by a jig in our version of an 18th century drawing room style. The jig was taught by Alasdair Fraser at the 2002 Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School.
6. The Day of the Wedding (Catherine Fraser)
For Catherine's brother and sister-in-law John and Tracey.
7. Rowing from Isla to Uist (trad)
This haunting, evocative melody transports us to another time and place.
Maybe there's a quiet presence for you of having this music playing in the background. Maybe it's a quality you bring when you are listening more closely. Presence is our goal in playing -- being present with and in the sounds of the notes, present with the picture or story we associate with a tune, present with the emotion of a piece, present with the shared experience of creating our versions of this music. We hope you enjoy our musical choices and that you enjoy as we do the connections of rhythm and grace that infuse this repertoire. -- Duncan
8. Watching the Fire
Jer the Rigger (trad) - The Easy Club Reel (The Easy Club) - Rakish Paddy (trad)
Farewell to Tchernobyl (Michel Ferry)
During a rehearsal break we put on a Martin Hayes CD and fell in love with the simplicity of this first tune. The others are all tunes Catherine has been playing since she was 19, learnt from some great friends at sessions at The Governor Hindmarsh pub in her home town of Adelaide. This set reminds Duncan of watching the changing colours and intensity of a campfire, moving between glowing embers and dancing flames.
9. The Lea Rig (trad)
We find it hard to go past the simple beauty of this classic song.
- Summertime (George Gershwin) - Rule Number 6 (Catherine Fraser)
Driving home from work one day Catherine started singing Summertime and realised it would make a great jig. She grabbed her fiddle when she got home and this set was the result. The name for the second tune was inspired by a wonderful book called the Art of Possibility.
11. The Chapel Set
- Maudabawn Chapel (Ed Reavy) - Bonnie Mulligan (Peter Ostroushko)
Catherine learnt the first reel from the playing of Natalie McMaster and the second she picked up in a session at the Fiddles of the World Conference in Halifax, 1999.
12. Auld Lang Syne (trad)
A lovely older version of this well known song
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