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.
LISTEN HERE….. Portobello Sands
New in 2015, ‘Pulse’ is a groundbreaking new album by CampbellGray. Mairi Campbell and David Gray, sound engineer/DJ of Sound Cafe Studios.
” More chilled and hypnotic than Martyn Bennett” – Folk Roots
“ A beguiling brew of folk and trip-hop. David Gray’s lush propulsive beats and Mairi Campbell’s unearthly vocals are potent reminders of the rhythmic thrills of both traditional and modern dance music” MU Magazine
By combining their considerable talents, Campbell and Gray have achieved a sound that will draw any listener in. Campbell’s profound ease with her instruments, viola and voice, and her natural and deep connection with her roots weave together with Gray’s beautifully spacious, empathic accompaniments and unwavering sense of rhythm.
Available now on itunes.
Look out for Mairi’s new solo show ‘Pulse’.
Summer 2015 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Directed by Kath Burlinson.
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 special “I 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
Full 5 day camp successfully completed! The cottage was full of lovely Canadian fiddlers from BC and Manitoba. Walking Theatre’s production was in full swing when they arrived so they experienced Lismore at its drizzly finest.