In My Mind
(2021 - self released - UK)
Mairi McGillivray - Live at TIDES festival
Absolutely beautiful 4 track EP debut by Scottish singer/composer who is rooted in the Gaelic style. A voice to melt away the most iced over heart, one that flows with a magic essence only attributed to angels. As pure as ancient snow, before humans made a mess of the earth. These four tunes (one penned by Mairi) mark a substantial entrance for the whole world to finally listen, own and enjoy this artist in her splendor.
Mairi has realize concerts all across the UK, and only held up by the COVID-19 (as all musicians were in these painful times). This young woman is quite accomplished (one listen tells the story of her skills) having graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2020 with a First Class Honors in Traditional Music. She also won a prestigious Danny Kyle Award in January 2021. On this wonderful release she was joined by some of Scotland's best young musicians, Seán Gray (guitar), Isla Callister (fiddle), Charlie Stewart (double bass), Graham Rorie (mandolin) and Paul McKenna (backing vocals). The music here is a small collection of traditional Gaelic and Scots compositions with 'Sea Of Men' being the original, which is a about a disaster occurring in 1918, in the region of Islay, an island off the west coast of Scotland. The story is about war times when fleets of American (with a few British) soldiers were coming from Liverpool met a terrible storm causing some of the ships to sink. Despite an attempt from a ship from Belfast to come rescue them, when it arrived 470 men who tried to jump from there ship to the rescue boat, were filled with panic and fell short, plummeting to their watery grave. Those who drowned washed up on the shore of Islay, where the people of the island buried them. Only 21 men were saved.
The self penned tune is track 4, so the saddest was saved for last. The first song 'Tha Fadachd orm Fhìn' is a gorgeous Gaelic piece, both sparkling and softly gracing the EP for an instant attention-getter. Fiddle is added with acoustic guitar, giving a roving undertone. 'Kelvin's Purling Stream' comes next with a cheerful but gentle pull on the ears. It is a traditional song about a man from Ireland moving to Glasgow and having to leave his love behind. One more pleasing Gaelic song called 'Tàladh na Beinne Guirme' soothes, supported by Mairi's charming voice. She performs all four cuts with an elegant balance of projection and nuance. It would all too effortless to listen to her all day and night. Hearing 'In My Mind' a number of times already, I cannot wait for a full length followup. Each musician on the release is picture perfect. Will we be so lucky? What say you Mairi? MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 4 - 15 - 2021