Pulse: Mairi’s new touring show

Gigs 2015


JULY 2015

3-5 July
Scottish Traditional Boat Festival
Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis perform Red Earth and Revival

22 July
The Occasionals Ceilidh Band
Linlithgow Scotch Hop

23-26 July
Mairi Campbell in concert
Warwick Folk Festival


2 August
Celtic Summer School: Dance Traditions of Scotland
Mairi shares her expertise in the rich divesity of traditional dance in Scotland, with some practical examples and gentle participation for those who choose
Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh

10 & 11 August
Mairi Campbell in concert
The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh


5 September
Edinburgh Connect Workshop
More info to follow

21-27 September
Mairi Campbell Tour of Denmark
More info to follow


2-5 October
Form and Freedom 3-day music retreat
Isle of Lismore, Argyll

10 October
The Music and the Land: The Music of Freeland Barbour
Concert, Book Launch and Ceilidh celebrating the Music of Freeland Barbour. Mairi is a member of The Occasionals with Freeland Barbour.
The Queens Hall, Edinburgh

11 October
Mairi Campbell in concert
Crafts & Things Coffee Shop, Glencoe

18-22 October
Form and Freedom 5-day music retreat
Isle of Lismore, Argyll

26 October – 5 November
Tour of Kolkata region
More details to follow


6-9 November
Fiddle Weekend with Mairi Campbell
Cuffern Manor, Haverford West, Pembrokeshire, Wales

20 November
Mairi Campbell in concert
Penicuik Community Arts Centre
Booking details to follow


Mairi Campbell – Pulse

Directed by Kath Burlinson




Award winning musician steps out on a quest to heal ancient wounds.  Transformed, she returns to hear Scotland’s pulse.

‘Wild, primal….honest’   The Herald.

Director | Kath Burlinson

Music: Mairi Campbell |  Dave Gray

Animation:  Claire Lamond.

Available for booking from November 2015.  

For more information email hello@mairicampbell.co.uk




Recently Joan Armatrading asked me to support her in the Scottish leg of the tour.  Fab!   It’s her last major tour so very special to be asked.   This time all the gigs were in Scotland which felt significant somehow.    It was the week after the referendum and my heart was still in my mouth, sore, yet also really open!  I loved every minute of the gigs….it’s great when you don’t think you’ve got anything to lose!

I was pushing my edge, taking risks, but I wasn’t the only one.  The audience met me.  They sang and strongly responded to the songs and music :  improvising in the moment, creating soundings out of songs, building up riffs in the room, holding sound in space… and it really worked!  Joan’s masterful songs and powerful singing was what folk had come to hear but I felt very honoured to be able to share the stage.  Thank you Joan.
Joan Armatrading with Mairi Campbell at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh


LISTEN HERE….. Portobello Sands


‘Harvest Fire’ is an exciting new YMT production this Summer.  Dave and I set off Aberdeen for the daunting task of taking forty youths and writing a musical!

My first YMT ‘douche’ was four years ago when Dave and I co-wrote the songs for “Tales from the World’s end’ – three traditional stories from Duncan Williamson book.  Kath Burlinson directed the process which was fascinating and transformative.  She’s a brilliant workshop leader  – if you ever get the chance to go on one of Kath’s ‘Authentic Artist’ three day retreats, GO!  That’s all I’m saying.

YMT stands for Youth Music Theatre.   Their CEO John Bromwich, tours the country, getting excited about books and writers and shows and stuff, and then he seems to kinda cook it all up in his head and then give you a call and say ‘I’ve had an idea about your musical….it’s something about a mythical tribe that doesn’t yet exist.  Draw on the Celtic  festival of Lunasa and Burning Man Festival in the Navada desert…it’ll be amazing!

So, here we are, on the edge of…..‘Harvest Fire’!

Elemental and shapeshifting.    Choreographed by Tom Jackson Greaves, (dancer in Matthew Bournes ‘Swan Lake‘…WHAAAAT!!! )

Here’s a possible track that we’ll be moving to….SHE IS WAITING

Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, Thursday 31st July and Friday 1st August

Here’s a review from Alan Murray of Penicuik folk club.


Mairi was a unique and very special guest.  I’d never heard Mairi on her own, so it was a bit of a revelation.   Swapping between viola, keyboard, voice and combinations of all three, she gave us an intimate, varied and truly engaging evening, with audience participation that was far more than just “singing along” – although we did some of that!.  Mairi was experimenting with wordless “soundings” … her own form of mouth music …. and she had us all making funny noises and making up even funnier noises.  It was fascinating to hear a folk audience respond and make up stuff when they didn’t know that they could do that.  Mairi’s long involvement with collective folk singing paid dividends here.


She also test-flew some new songs with us.  I’m sure I’ve heard “The Piper and the Maker” … a homage to pipe maker Hamish Moore.  Just a lovely idea – to make a song around a maker of instruments and the life that the pipes acquire when someone actually plays them.  Peggy Seeger’s haunting “Love Call me home” –  a paean to life, the passage of time and friendship – was also a highlight for me.

But most of all, I was moved by the sparse keyboard, “If I should meet my maker” – a song by Mairi and her long-term collaborater and husband David Francis.  Stylistically, it looks back to Joni Mitchell in her “Blue” (actually purple!) period … “And maybe, just maybe, I shouldn’t blame my maker for mistakes I could own. And maybe, just maybe I should thank my maker for the chances I have blown“.  It is in fairly standard, sad, singer-songwritery territory, but with a “happy-ending” twist that makes it very specialI would ask my maker … to remind me that I was always loved“.  I suspect that one will be covered by others as its message is universal.  All sorts of crap can be solved and/or tolerated if you are loved.

All in all – a lovely, warm, engaging gig from one of Scotland’s finest.

Click here to listen:   If I should meet my maker 


Listen   Smile Or Cry

The leaves in the deep, green wood

Are now brown and gold

And the warm September breeze

Blows harsh and keen and cold.


The mist hangs heavy on the shore

In the morning light

And I never thought I’d miss you more

Than I missed you last night.


But the pull of the flowing tide

Could bring me back or sweep me away

And the sun has been known to shine

On the coldest winter day.


And the howl of the winter wind

Could be heard as a tender sigh –

I guess it’s all in the mind

Whether we choose to smile or cry.


A swan flies over the trees

On his wide blue road

The sunlight strikes its beating wings

As its quiet path unfolds.


But the pull of the flowing tide

Could bring me back or sweep me away

And the sun has been known to shine

On the coldest winter day.

And the howl of the winter wind

Could be heard as a tender sigh –

I guess it’s all in the mind

Whether we choose to smile or cry.

Written to mark Marjorie’s return to Scotland from China after Gordon’s sudden death.


Listen here:  Home  (is not what I’ve left behind)


Morning, waiting to embark holding hard against the dark. In the company of ghosts from pillar I have gone to post I’ve travelled here to China’s coast without the one I love the most

From the window of the train Manitoba’s endless plains. Corn is waving in the breeze Scotland’s nearer by degrees.  The children hanging round my knees know nothing of my silent pleas.

Home is not what I’ve left behind Home is not what lies ahead Home is the peace I’ll find when I’m with you again.

Home is not what I’ve left behind Home is not what lies ahead Home is being with you again Home is being with you again

The end of yet another day the mid-Atlantic’s cold and grey A few more days and then we’ll be on that train to Waverley there’s faces there I long to see but not the one that waits for me.

Home is not what I’ve left behind Home is not what lies ahead Home is the peace I’ll find When I’m with you again.

Home is not what I’ve left behind Home is not what lies ahead Home is being with you again Home is being with you again

A response to Gordon’s death aged 30 from Typhoid in China in 1939. Four years into their marriage. My mum was three, her sister, one.

Listen here: When young men die


When young men die the tide recedes

As far as the eye can see.

Rocks are exposed, small creatures stranded

Nets go untended, boats are abandoned.

And you know that salt water will come rushing in,

When the moon loosens her hold and the night will be endless and cold

When young men die.


When young men die

The Eagle’s wing is broken; she cannot fly.

Keeps to her nest, no eye for the heavens,

The wind only taunts her, the mountain, a prison.

And when she tries to soar she’ll come spiralling down

Who knows what might break her fall

And who will answer her call?

When young men die the dawn will break as it always has before

Snowdrops will bloom, seeds will be planted,

Our children they grow, unbidden, undaunted,

And you know that the stories will always be told,

And the songs will be sung, of the things they have done

When young men die.

Happy days in Yunnan.  A tender song to wee Marjorie, my mum.

Listen here: Puddock


Och, you’re a puddock coming in here

Trailing the red earth all over the floor

Smiling and laughing like nothing’s the matter

Your bonny brown eyes say there’s mischief in store.


Small be the mischief that ever befalls you.

And light be the burden that you’ll have to bear.

Long may your innocence be a protection,

A shield against danger, and trouble and care


Och, you’re aa puggled, it’s been a long morning

Playing in the sunlight and splashing in pools

Now you’re all cosy snug in your blanket

Safe from all harm in this world so cruel.


 Och, you’re a puzzle, it’s hard to discover

What you are thinking or all that you know.

How will you find your way in the world?

How will you stand up to life’s hardest blows?