Hex is the much-anticipated new album from Scottish outfit Hò-rò. Winners in the ‘Up and Coming Artist of the Year’ category at 2017’s MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, the young band from the Scottish Highlands & Islands are releasing their second album Hex on Friday 25th May.
Two years on from the release of their first album, Hò-rò were eager to get back into the studio to record this new material. Their second album showcases a new sound from the band – over the past year their live show has grown from the original four-piece into a six-piece and with this has come a development in their sound. With the artwork and title portraying a hexagon theme, the band have chosen this to illustrate the six different musical approaches they took when making the album.
Each of the six members (Calum MacPhail, Lucy Doogan, Sean Cousins, Crisdean MacDonald, Paul Martin and DC Macmillan) bring their own musical background and style to the live performance and this has been reflected in the album – a very unique sound that draws inspiration from each individual’s musical taste and background. Hò-rò’s line-up features bagpipes, border pipes, accordion, fiddle and whistles juxtaposing with guitar, keyboards, drums and bodhran. This diverse instrumental mix is complemented by Gaelic and Scottish song.
Hò-rò’s guitarist Sean Cousins had this to say about the new album:
“We’re so delighted Hex is ready to go out into the world! When our live show grew into a 6-piece performance last year we were blown away by the magnitude of the sound and we really wanted to get that sound recorded as soon as possible. We’re really happy with the end result, I think with everyone’s own musical styles influencing the material we’ve managed to produce something that’s not really been heard on the Scottish trad music scene before.”
The music and songs recorded are a mixture of self-penned tunes and arrangements alongside a number written by friends of the band. One tune in-particular is a special addition to the album- ‘Muinntir mo Ghráidh’ was a tune that was found by lead singer Lucy in her granny’s attic when she was cleaning it out after her granny had passed away. The song was written by one of Lucy’s ancestors Alasdair Rankin and had been forgotten about until her discovery.
“I found it when we were clearing out my granny and grandpa’s house after my granny had died. It’s a photocopy of a handwritten manuscript belong to Duncan MacIntyre from Ballachulish and on the front he has written ‘Òrain – Alasdair MacRaing’ (Songs – Alasdair MacRaing) and inside he has written out the words and melodies for about 10 songs written by Alasdair. Alasdair MacRaing, also known as Sandy Rankin or by his nickname Fred ‘Gosh,’ was my great granny’s cousin and he was a tailor – my great auntie can remember being taken to his house by her mother when she was a little girl to get her new winter coat. It’s really lovely to be able to record this and let people hear it.”
Hex will be officially released on 25th May on CD, Spotify and iTunes. Hò-rò will be taking the new album on tour in June and July this year – please see the dates below.
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Artists’ website: http://www.musichoro.com
‘Loch Levin’ – live:
Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast 23rd June
Whelans, Dublin 24th June
Railway Social Club, Fort William 6th July
Dervaig Village Hall, Isle of Mull 7th July
Tiree Music Festival 13th July