Pilgrim Souls is the elegant debut solo album from Glasgow-based musician Megan Henderson, set to be released on Friday 21st January. The beautiful record proves that Megan is a master of her craft, as she sings as well as plays fiddle and piano on the impressive solo debut.
Megan, who is a member of award-winning Scottish folk group Breabach, grew up in Fort William and studied Classical Violin at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. The multi-instrumentalist, who is also an in demand session musician, was also nominated as Instrumentalist of the Year at the Scottish Traditional Music Awards in 2012.
The multi-instrumentalist and singer was commissioned to write the music from the album for Celtic Connections’ New Voices in 2019. She wrote the record in between a heavy touring schedule and premiered the music to rapturous applause at the festival.
Pilgrim Souls is Megan’s response to the dream-like, impressionistic paintings of Highland artist Christine Clark, which seek to reflect the beauty of the human spirit as it turns to nature for renewal.
The first single from the record, ‘The Dawn Chorus’, will be released on Friday 7th January. The track, which builds in momentum from a light and intricate melody towards a powerful, meandering sound, was inspired by Christine’s painting of the same title which depicts a colourful awakening.
Megan Henderson said: “I’m really excited about putting this record out because it’s my first solo project. I wanted to capture the energy and emotion that Christine’s artwork makes me feel and I am delighted to be able to share it with everyone.
“My music is influenced by a mix of genres – trad and classical mainly. I drew inspiration for the album from fellow Fort William native and artist Christine Clark, whose paintings depict – in her own words – ‘imagined landscapes and narratives which transport us to unknown lands, conveying moments of solitude, love, hope, beauty and loss’. This is something I really connected with and wanted to reflect in my own art.”
Artists joining Megan on the album include Jack Smedley (fiddle), Mairi Campbell (viola), Su-a Lee (cello, saw), Olav Luksengård Mjelva (Hardanger) and Anna Massie (mandolin) Laura-Beth Salter (voice and mandolin) and Alistair Iain Paterson (piano, harmonium).
The album was recorded by Euan Burton in June 2021 over three days at GloWorm Recording Studio in Glasgow. Pilgrim Souls was recorded completely in a live setting, with an added recording from Norway-based Olav Luksengård Mjelva.
Megan will launch Pilgrim Souls at a special Celtic Connections show at Mitchell Theatre on Sunday 23 January. Christine Clark’s art will feature as a projected backdrop and Megan will perform tracks from the record alongside an ensemble featuring fiddles, Hardanger fiddle, cello, mandolin, harmonium, piano and vocals
Megan added: “I’m delighted to return to the Celtic Connections stage to officially launch this body of work which I created two years ago. I feel humbled to be joined by so many exceptional musicians on the night for what will be a poignant show for me.”
Pilgrim Souls will be available to buy on CD and stream and download on all digital platforms, on Friday 21 January.
Artist’s website: www.meganhendersonmusic.com.