Vana is the fourth solo album from multi-instrumentalist Ross Ainslie. Out on Friday 30th October 2020, Vana is named after a wellness retreat in India that Ross visited last year.
Drawing inspiration from the peace and recharging energy of his visit, Ross set to work writing and arranging this new body of work. Ross wanted the music on the album to reflect the feeling of allowing life to happen at the pace you want it to go, instead of being dictated by external factors.
Following on from his 2017 critically acclaimed album Sanctuary, Vana is to be consumed in the same way – continuously from beginning to end. Vana is a musical journey for the listener and draws influences from World Music, which is inspired by Ross’ work with bands Salsa Celtica and India Alba. Ross has also collaborated on the album with renowned saxophonist Paul Towndrow to give a jazz feel to some tracks, including ‘Absinthe In Aranya’.
Ross said: “Vana is the final product of a reflective journey towards self-preservation. I was beginning to feel burnt out with the pressures of touring, so I decided that I had to take a step back to breath and evaluate what direction I wanted my life to go in.
“I took myself away to the Vana Wellness Retreat in India which really helped me take some time to reflect and take stock of the life I have lived and the one I want to enjoy in the future. I started this album when I returned from my trip and I have taken my time with its development, focusing on musical aspects that are most important to me and giving each track the time and attention I feel they deserve.”
The opening track ‘Science Of Life’ sets the scene for the musical journey the listener is about to embark. The track draws inspiration from one of Ross’ favourite tunes, ‘Song For Barry’ by the Becker Brothers. This opening track features the inimitable banjo playing of Damien O’Kane.
‘Rapa Nui’ is an adaptation of an older tune by Ross called ‘Easter Island’. Recorded first by Ross’ 12-piece band Treacherous Orchestra, this album’s version is the way that he intended it to sound when he wrote it in his early twenties.
‘Absinthe In Aranya’ features another older tune of Ross’ that he wrote on his 21st birthday called ‘Absinthe Makes The Heart Grow Fonder’. Recorded first on Ross and Jarlath Henderson’s first album Partners in Crime, he revisits it with a jazzier flavour and chord arrangement by Hamish Napier and James Lindsay. This track also features Graeme Stephen on electric guitar.
‘Wisdom In The Chaos’ features piping legend John Wilson on canntaireachd. Ross met John while teaching in Germany where they shared a few informal sessions where John sang Piobaireachd and Ross accompanied on whistle. It sparked the idea to have John record on this album. The tune he is singing is one of Ross’ which is in the piobaireachd style with a modern approach.
‘Hope In The Chaos’ features Runrig guitar maestro Malcolm Jones. Ross was delighted to have Malcolm on this track having been a fan of his for years. This track is depictive of the celtic-rock genre, a style of music that Ross grew up listening to.
Ross Ainslie is one of Scotland’s finest traditional musicians and composers, playing pipes, whistles and cittern. He is renowned for his highly acclaimed solo material, and as a skilled performer and prolific collaborator who performs regularly with bands Treacherous Orchestra (of which he is a founding member), Salsa Celtica, Dougie Maclean, Ali Hutton, Charlie Mckerron, Tim Edey, Jarlath Henderson and India Alba.
Vana will be available to download and stream on Friday 30th October. It will be available to pre-order on 25 September at http://www.rossainslie.bandcamp.com/
Artist’s website: https://www.facebook.com/RossAinslieMusic/
‘Tune For A Better Day’ – official video: