Nineteen highly individual tracks - "of interest to music-lovers and historians alike" (Scots Magazine) "whose treatment... is rich in its variety with the most subtle touches of instrumental colour. The result is quite ravishing" (Classical Music Web).
Some of the songs on this album are rare and have never been recorded before. But others rank among the best-known Scots folksongs in the world. Indeed many of them have been wrongly attributed to Robert Burns. In fact they were all penned by the 18th century Scottish poetess Carolina Oliphant (Lady Nairne) who remained anonymous throughout her life. For it was considered unseemly in those days for a woman to express herself publicly - especially with politically dangerous Jacobite sentiments like those found in "Will ye no come back again", "Charlie is my darling", "Wi' a hundred Pipers" and the exquisite title track "White rose o' June".
The album features some of Scotland's most exciting musicians - including Marc Duff (early music specialist and founder member of Capercaillie), Alistair McCulloch (three times Scottish National Fiddle Champion) and of course Anne Lorne Gillies: "no voice is more suited to express the sheer beauty of these songs than that of Anne Lorne Gillies... this is music of universal appeal" (Classical Music Web).
"Anne Lorne Gillies sings the songs beautifully with a quality that lingers in the mind... Something of the anonymity with which they were first published has clung to Lady Nairne's songs. Anne Lorne Gillies restores her to life and identity" (The Scotsman).
We acknowledge support from the Scottish Arts Council National Lottery Fund towards the production of this album.
Here is a review by www.musicweb.uk.net
The annals of Scottish folk music are rich in song - both lowland and highland (which latter must include the heritage of the Gael) - an infinite variety of melody.
I have no doubt that many of the songs on this disc will be well known to many listeners who yet, quite probably, have never heard of Lady Nairne (1766-1895). In fact the young poetess - emulating Burns' practice of writing lyrics to fit existing melodies - deliberately concealed her identity (later writing under the pseudonym BB, or Mrs Bogan of Bogan!) since it was then not thought proper for a well bred young lady to indulge in such things.
Born Carolina Oliphant of Gask in the county of Perthshire her beauty and grace earned her the soubriquet of "The Flower of Strathearn" and led to her marriage in 1806 to her cousin Major William Nairne, later elevated to the peerage. Carolina's mother's family, the Robertsons of Strowan (Struan), were loyal supporters of the Jacobite cause. This is expressed in many of her songs such as 'Wi' a hundred pipers' and 'Wha'll be king but Chairlie' and the evocative 'Will ye no come back again'.
This brief background is much amplified in the expansive notes written by Dr Anne Lorne Gillies herself with an enthusiastic erudition that reveals this recording to be rather more than a simple account of the lyrics of Baroness Nairne. One can readily imagine the delight that the poetess might have shown had the instrumental and harmonic resources deployed here been available in her day. These are truly "nineteen highly individual tracks", whose treatment, pace the purist, is rich in its variety with the most subtle touches of instrumental colour. The setting of so many traditional and folk melodies presents problems of harmonisation that refuse to fit neatly into the conventions of quasi-classical procedures - but here, in the hands of an imaginative group of musicians, the result is quite ravishing.
From the simple sentiment of "The Auld Hoose" to the quasi-puirt-a-bheal of 'The women are a' gaen wud" - from the beautifully harmonised "The Rowan Tree" to the almost classical "Caller Herrin' " - from the exquisite "The Land o' the leal" (where the tune 'hey tutti tattie' is quite transformed from its usual 'Scots Wha' Hae' and accompanied so evocatively by Rhona MacKay on clarsach) to the cheery double-tonic dance measures of "The County Meeting" - there are gems. The "White Rose o' June" is certainly one: the limpid clarinet of Stuart Forbes in "The Banks O' the Earn" is another, surely recalling Schubert?
Above all however no voice is more suited to express the sheer beauty of these songs than that of Anne Lorne Gillies - and it may be sentimental - or perhaps a spirit of my own ancestry - that for me raises a lump in the throat. But this is music of universal appeal.
No texts are provided ... at which some may cavil - yet Anne's voice is perfectly clear in the quieter moments - and in the quicker, then often the sense is in the rhythm! I recommend this disc for lifting the spirits
Check out the artist's website:
1. The Auld hoose
2. Chairlie is my darling
3. The Land o' the Leal
4. The County Meeting
5. White Rose o' June
6. The Banks o' the Earn
7. Wha'll be King but Charlie
8. Caller Herrin'
9. The women are a' gaen wud
10. The Rowan Tree
11. The Pleughman
12. The attainted Scottish nobles
13. The Laird o' Cockpen
14. The Lady Grange
15. Wi' a Hundred Pipers
16. The Scottish Regalia
17. Bonny Gascon Ha'
18. The Fife Laird
19. Will ye no come back again