What a night! At the Usher hall supporting Joan Armatrading. She had chosen our song ‘Portobello Sands’ as one of the winning songs to be showcased on her most recent tour. We had a great chat on the day about songwriting and doing it your own way!
Another treat that day was my friend Chris Wood who was her main support act came back to our flat after the gig for a cuppa tea and a catchup before he needed to pick up the tour bus at 1am heading off to the next gig!
2014 update! Joan Armatrading’s invited me to support her on four more dates in September 2014 in Scotland!
I was playing at Penicuik folk club not long ago – a great wee club just outside Edinburgh. Here’s a review of the night from Alan Murray.
Mairi was our “fairy on the Christmas tree” for 2013 and was a unique and very special one. 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.
‘Pulse’ is a collaboration between multi-award winning musician and composer Mairi Campbell and sound engineer/DJ David Gray of Sound Cafe Studios. ‘Pulse’ is a combination of Campbell’s ancient/traditional approach and Gray’s modern/electronic music, giving it a sound that is both worldly and new.
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.
Pulserelease | September 2014.
Here’s a taste: ‘What the devil ails ye’
CampbellGray ‘Pulse’. Album cover by Tamsin Haggis
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. Read more…