Skipinnish re-release Wishing Well in tribute to Eilidh MacLeod

Wishing Well

Released, on download, at midnight on Saturday, 19th May

To help with fundraising for a permanent memorial to Eilidh MacLeod from Barra who was killed in the Manchester Arena Bombing, trad band Skipinnish are releasing a new version their song ‘Wishing Well’. The song was originally written about Eilidh, but it is only recently, after meeting Eilidh’s family that it was decided to make the background of the song known to the public.

Originally composed with a winter theme, a verse has been added and some lyrics changed to give it a year-round theme.

The release of this new version of the song will coincide with the first anniversary of the bombing and with the main fundraising weekend of the group “Team Eilidh” led by Suzanne Whyte, a first cousin of Eilidh’s father. As well as the song release, some of the band are running the Edinburgh Half Marathon on the 27th of May and are joining Suzanne and Team Eilidh to run the Manchester 10K, the week before, to add to the fundraising.

Angus MacPhail, accordionist and founder member of the band who wrote the song said:

“The very first summer that we started the band we spent most of it on Barra and from then on we’ve had huge support over the years from the people of Barra and Vatersay. This is a very small gesture of just doing what we can to help in these terrible circumstances.”

Having stormed to the top of Scotland’s music scene in 2017, selling out every show they played and being named Live Act of the Year at the Trad Awards, Skipinnish are heading for their best year and biggest gig ever. A concert on the 18th of May in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall will mark a milestone in the band’s history and it is at this gig that they will perform the new version of ‘Wishing Well’ for the first time. They will be joined on stage for this piece by World Champion pipers, Inveraray and District Pipe Band and Gaelic Song super-group Cruinn. Angus added:

“Memory is one of the most powerful means of dealing with tragedy and a memorial will hopefully help the family and the island heal together. If the song ‘Wishing Well’ will also help this bright, talented piper and Highland Dancer be remembered, then I’ll be very glad.”

All proceeds from downloads will go to the “Team Eilidh” fundraising group.

Tickets are available through www.skipinnish.com

SKIPINNISH – The Seventh Wave (Skippinish Records SKIPCD26)

The Seventh WaveThe Seventh Wave is the seventh album to be released by Skipinnish and it is possibly one of the most enjoyable albums that I have recently been given the opportunity to review. When I agreed to take on the suicidal responsibility of reviewing new releases I was, unbelievably, excited about it. However, I have been disappointed with many of the albums I have been given, but not so this one. I am not sure if Skipinnish have been taking notes from my reviews but they seem to have “taken some of my advice”.

My Concern No 1 – If you only have 9 tracks to record then you are not ready to release an album Skipinnish – No problem. The Seventh Wave has 14 tracks. My Concern No 2 – Vocals are pushed back and over-powered by aggressive instrumentalisation. Skipinnish – No problem. They include twelve vocal tracks and the voice is always at the front supported by excellent musicianship.

My Concern No 3 – Lack of clarity in the vocals. Skipinnish – No problem. You can easily make out every word of every song. Superb clarity. My Concern No 4 – Groups issuing all of their vocal tracks entirely in Gaelic, a language few of their fans can understand. Skipinnish – No problem. The majority of their vocals are in English with the inclusion of their native Gaelic in acceptable levels.

My Concern No 5 – “Traditional” bands thinking that they are rock bands. Skipinnish – No problem. They are undoubtedly targeting an audience beyond the folk audience but with a professional awareness of the roots they came from. My Concern No 6 – Poor quality sleeves with not enough information about the album. Skipinnish – They provide a booklet with all the words of songs.

I will not go through the album track by track because that is the responsibility of the listener. I will tell you that most of them are simply excellent with two or three excelling even themselves. Skipinnish have included several “choral” backings to tracks and they are beautiful, especially on ‘The Iolaire’ and ‘Walking On The Waves’.

No album will be reviewed by me without some criticism and on this album, it relates to tracks 2, 7 and 13. I cannot stand the sound created by the introduction of “screeching” bagpipes played at an excessive speed supported by simplistic, heavy rock drummers. It is great fun for young, festival fans when played live. It gives them a chance to dance. Personally, I would not have included track 2, ‘The Hag’, as it is difficult to identify Skipinnish from any other folk band using the same instruments. Keep it in for live gigs but it is not great on an album. Strangely, on the final track the pipes are very much part of the effect but played sensitively and beautifully.

I am sure everybody who buys this album will love it and it is easy to fast forward track 2. It is unlikely you will fast forward any of the other tracks, maybe track 13. It is a great CD, so nip out and buy it.

Fraser Bruce

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artists’ website: www.skipinnish.com

‘The Island’ – official video:

Skipinnish announce seventh album

Skipinnish

In the world of lore and legend, the seventh wave was bigger and more powerful than all gone before.  This, the seventh album, from Skipinnish, epitomizes that theme perfectly.  With Norrie MacIver’s distinct vocal taking on the lead and with a few other transfers and additions, this is the band’s biggest and boldest production yet.  The changes in line-up mean three renewed Skipinnish classics joining five new self-penned songs, a tribute to Runrig, three rocketing tune sets and a haunting slow air.

The Seventh Wave comes as the band’s own wave of popularity continues its powerful rise. With four consecutive chart topping single releases and sell-out shows across the country, Skipinnish have rocketed to the top of the trad music scene and their ascent is accelerating.  Their latest single, ‘Alive’,  which is the first track on the album, hit Number 26 in the mainstream UK download charts, which for a traditional band is a mighty achievement. Only Runrig and Capercaillie having been higher.

It was said that water taken from the seventh wave had properties of healing and invigoration.  It is predicted that this music will have a similar effect on those who ride the waves of life listening to Skipinnish.

Fans are also scrabbling for tickets to their live shows, with most of their album launch tour, in May, sold out already.  The official release will be at the band’s 1000 seat Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, concert on Friday May 19th – tickets all disappeared for this gig, in December, just days after going on went on sale!!!!

Albums are available for pre-release order from the Skipinnish website and will be on sale at all other concerts throughout May.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artists’ website: http://www.skipinnish.com/

‘Alive’ – official video:

SINGLES BAR 16

A round-up of recent EPs and singles

Singles Bar 16We’re a bit late with this one but we can’t let the year turn without a mention of ANGE HARDY’s Christmas single. There are two tracks, both original compositions and both sung acapella. ‘The Quantock Carol’ should immediately go into every seasonal repertoire – it’s a plea for peace now and in the future, a simple and beautiful song. ‘Mary’s Robin’ is based on the Gaelic legend about how the robin got its red breast and should be snapped up by unaccompanied groups and community choirs everywhere.
http://www.angehardy.com/

CRAIG FINN has a new album, We All Want the Same Things, out in March preceded by a single ‘Preludes’. Finn grew up in Edina, Minneapolis and describes ‘Preludes’ as “this was what I remember 1994 being like, coming back to the Twin Cities after being away for college.” ‘Preludes’ gives us snapshot of this time in life: “I came back to St Paul’s and things had progressed and got strange”; images of his friends who have moved away to Seattle while he is back in the hometown hitting the bars; of a guy who jumped out at him with a pistol (“I considered my options and decided to do what he said”); and, above all, “I got stuck in a snowbank, I was too drunk to drive to a diner/ Right there was proof of my faith that God watches us”, leading to the refrain which permeates and ends the song “God watches us”. It sounds heavy, but it’s not. The musical feel is reminiscent of the driving energy of the Counting Crows and it’s a fun song capturing that time of life in your early twenties when you return home after time away and re-evaluate your relationship with your home town and family.
http://www.craigfinn.net/

Don’t look for JAKE ISLAND on a map – you won’t find it. Jake is a he: a singer/songwriter/ producer from County Meath. He’s rather modest about what he does on his EP Kindest Of Our Days, listing musicians including featured vocalists Rowan and Driver 66. The four songs here are a sort of Irish-Americana with banjo, fiddle, flute and whistles as well as the standard guitar-bass-drums trinity. There’s an odd melancholy about the music. ‘Last Drunk In Town’ and ‘Lose The Love’ should be sung in a late-night bar and ‘Horizon Blues’ is the story of an old musician reminiscing and perhaps thinking about a comeback tour. The title track, which opens the set, is the most upbeat of the collection but even here there is nostalgia in the strictest sense: a pain and regret for what is past. There are four great songs here.
www.jakeisland.co.uk

‘Alive’ is a download only single from Scottish band SKIPINNISH. It opens as a gentle piano-based meditation on the blessing of being alive complete with angelic backing vocals, something of a reaction to 2016 you might think. At the minute mark it takes off with drums, fiddle and electric guitar before almost settling into a meditative mood – fooled you, they were just gearing up for a big finish. “You’re alive, you’re alive and the stars are on your side” is a good thought to begin the year with.
http://www.skipinnish.com/

Skipinnish – new single

Skippinish

If the last two single releases from Skipinnish are anything to go by, the music world is in for a treat when the band launches their latest single, ‘The Island’, today.

If its success matches that of its’ two predecessors, Skipinnish will be looking at an incredible hat-trick of appearances in the official UK download charts within a year.

Skipinnish field a 6 piece line-up based on powerful vocals and foot-stomping bagpipe tunes. Their new-found chart topping success would have been hard to believe over 15 years ago when the band was formed by accordionist Angus MacPhail from Tiree and piper Andrew Stevenson from Lochaber over some tunes in the then Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

‘The Island’ is a summer festival hit waiting to happen. Written by MacPhail and lead vocalist Robert Robertson from Lochaber, it is both powerfully nostalgic and irresistibly feel-good. “Will you dance and return to the island of the young” is a profoundly emotional take on the Gaelic idea of going to Tìr nan Òg (the land of the young), while it also reflects the vibrant atmosphere of the western highlands and islands during summer festival season.

In some ways the song is fresh and uniquely modern; yet in others it is deeply traditional and metaphorical. This paradox between old and new is reflected in the track’s sound, which blends the band’s West Highland roots (it is led by a lively riff played on accordion, whistle, and fiddle) with a subtle presence of electronica – driven by bass and synth. The electrifying energy which has made Skipinnish so popular at festivals is bursting from this studio recording.

Skipinnish’s increased popularity in the past year has been due in no small measure to their pioneering approach to social media. This will be their third single to be released with an accompanying music video online – a unique situation for a band on the traditional, Scottish scene.

The video, directed by Dol Eoin Mackinnon from the island of Scalpay, Harris, intersperses stunning shots from the coastline of Argyll with footage of a bouncing Skipinnish gig. While the song will make listeners want to get up and dance, the video’s storyline of love and loss resolved by impassioned, eternal reunion in the island of the young will pull upon the strings of even the hardest heart.

Music video releases have always worked well for Skipinnish. Last year’s ‘Walking On The Waves’ became something of a summer anthem. It hit number 1 in the iTunes World music charts, overtook the likes of One Direction and Ellie Goulding in the official UK download charts, and also made a huge splash on social media –receiving well over 100,000 views to date on YouTube, and being tweeted about by celebrities such as Hollywood actor Alan Cumming, and television presenter Lorraine Kelly. Shortly after ‘Walking On The Waves’, the band released ‘December’ which climbed even higher up the UK charts and remained on top spot in the World charts for over a week.

As MacPhail and Robertson continue to build upon a formidable songwriting partnership, this driving summer single looks set to take Skipinnish to the next level.

Artists’ website: www.skipinnish.com