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1. THE TRIP WE TOOK OVER THE MOUNTAINS
Aly Bain joins Savourna on fiddle for this lilting arrangement of a traditional Irish tune in waltz time. The tune is from the repertoire of the famous Irish Uillean piper Willie Clancy of Miltown Malbay, County Clare.
This old English tune comes from a volume entitled Maggot Pie – a compilation of old English dance tunes reprinted from various early collections and published in 1932. Savourna is joined by Frank Usher on acoustic guitar.
3. MONAGHAN JIG
An Irish three part jig with a new fourth part added by Savourna. The piece has been double tracked to create a harp duet.
4. THE AULD NOOST/ DA AALD NOOST
A striking slow air composed by Ronald Jamieson from Shetland. Noost is the Shetland word for a rocky creek where boats can be pulled up.
Composed for clarsach by Savourna. Jalan is the Indonesian word for motion: the effect of the piece is intended to represent the changing rhythmic patterns of a moving train.
6. THE HAG WITH THE MONEY/ SLEEPY MAGGIE
A jig and a reel. The first is Irish while the second is claimed by both Scotland and Ireland.
7. LAMENT FOR A BLIND HARPER
While working on a programme of stories and music with the story teller Barbara McDermitt, Savourna was inspired by the poem Lament for Blind Lachlan by the West Highland writer Sileas na Ceopaich. The slow air evolved as the musical centre-piece for a story based on the theme of a blind harper. Aly is again featured on fiddle.
8. THE DOWIE DENS O YARROW
Savourna’s arrangement of one of several fine tunes for this ancient murder ballad whose title describes the valley of the Yarrow river in the Scottish borders.
9. TICKLED PINK
A marvellously evocative piece composed by Savourna who is accompanied here by Frank Usher on acoustic rhythm guitar.
10. LOGAN WATER
A beautiful Scottish slow air named after a river in Dumfriesshire. The tune was already considered old when Robert Burns and his contemporary John Mayne the Dumfries poet both put words to it in the late 1700s. Aly’s spirited playing gives great strength to the piece and Savourna adds her own free variations as a middle section.
11. THE SOUTH WIND
This fine tune is from the Northumbrian Pipers’ Second Tune Book. Known also as a song it is however probably Irish.
12. MOLLY MacALPIN/ PLANXTY IRWIN
Molly MacAlpin is sometimes known as Carolan’s Dream and often wrongly attributed to O’Carolan the famous Irish harper of the 17th century. The composer was William Connelan one of Carolan’s predecessors born in 1645, and Carolan is known to have said he would rather have been the author of Molly MacAlpin than any melody he himself had ever composed. The second tune, Planxty Irwin, was however composed by Carolan for his patron Colonel John Irwin of Tanrego House, County Sligo.
13. SOUTH UIST SET: TILL AN CROADH, FAIGH AN CRODH/ CHA BHI MI ’GAD THALADH
Two tunes from Margaret Fay Shaw’s Folksongs and Folklore of South Uist. The first, translated as Turn the cattle, fetch the cattle, is a milking song. The second, A Tired Mother’s Lullaby, portrays an exhausted mother falling to sleep as she sings to her child. The final verse is played entirely on harmonics, and sections of both pieces are double tracked.
14. THE HIGH ROAD TO LINTON/ THE CHANTER’S TUNE
The first tune is a well known reel associated with the village of West Linton where Savourna was born. It is also a piece of Hebridean mouth music or puirt-a-beul. The second tune, given under its Irish title, was at one time used as a practice tune for the chanter. In Scotland it is usually known as Follow my Highland Soldier. The set finishes with Aly joining Savourna on a return trip down The High Road to Linton.
15. THE TRIP WE TOOK OVER THE MOUNTAINS
This extended version of Savourna and Aly’s magnificent journey over the mountains has been extracted from the original 1985 Sony Betamax PCM F1 digital recordings.
© 1985, 2012 Springthyme Records