Link to Living Tradition Homepage






Watercolour Music  WCMCD045

This is an album of songs and mouth music from the Campbell family of singers from Greepe near Roag on the Isle Of Skye, masterminded by one of their number, Mary Ann Kennedy (champion of world music and an influential performer, presenter and producer in her own right). The album can be seen as part of a wider project to bring the family’s music, and their place in British traditional music, to the outside world (a companion biography and music collection is due for publication shortly too), as is reflected in the album title (Fonn meaning both “land” and “melody”). The impetus for the recording of the album stems from music producer Jerry Boys hearing the family perform at a celebration for family matriarch Dr. Kenna Campbell (one of the disc’s five participating singers), and in one week at Mary Ann’s Watercolour Studios in Lochaber he was able to capture the collective magic of this quintet in all its combined vocal glory.

Instrumental accompaniment is confined to Mary Ann’s clarsach or piano on some tracks, with selective guest contributions from Alasdair Fraser (fiddle), Natalie Haas (cello), Lorne MacDougall (low whistle or pipes), James Lindsay (double bass) and Finlay Wells (guitar). Although many of the songs chosen utilise several voices, and the various sets of puirt a beul are a constant delight, the spotlight also falls pretty equitably as far as song leaders are concerned, highlights coming with Maggie Macdonald’s heartfelt take on the love song Cnoc Nan Craobh, Kenna’s solo M’ Agh Donn and Seumas Campbell’s solo Àirigh Luachrach Ùige. It’s impossible not to respond to Mary’s sister Wilma’s spirited opening song, while Alasdair’s Set and the girls’ Lasses’ Set are both great fun, while a further curiosity likely to intrigue listeners is Kenna’s popular Gaelic translation of Down In The River To Pray, which is tellingly paced and beautifully led here by Mary Ann herself.

David Kidman

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 92 of The Living Tradition magazine.