Various Artists - A Highland Journey in Music

Various Artists - A Highland Journey in Music
Greentrax CDGMP8008

This is volume eight in Greentrax Celtic Collections series, a low priced line designed for sale to tourists. In the music for tourists genre, one does not expect copious liner notes and indeed there isn’t much here. Just a list of the tracks and the musicians: Dougie Pincock - highland bagpipe, Mairearad Green - smallpipes and accordion; Innes Watson - fiddle, and Jack Evans - guitar, whistles and synth. The tunes are as might be expected, instrumental arrangements of well known songs such as ‘The Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond’, ‘The Skye Boat Song’, and ‘My Heart’s in the Highlands ’ teamed up with dance music and pipe tunes. The overall style is seriously mellow - chill out music with a Scottish flavour. Perhaps a bit heavy on the nylon string guitar and atmospheric synth for my own taste.

The individual tunes in each set are fairly short, just as the melody really gets going it fades out. It’s not a bad recording, all the tracks are well played and there are some lovely moments. However, it is not particularly reflective of either traditional or contemporary Scottish performance styles, but rather a variable mix of the two. At least the music is Scottish (unlike the CD a well meaning friend brought back from Tokyo that features Danny Boy and the theme from Zorba the Greek played on Japanese instruments). In fact, it might come in handy as background music for a Burns night party.

E. Bradtke

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This album was reviewed in Issue 64 of The Living Tradition magazine.