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CD: Duncan Chisholm - Live at Celtic Connections | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Duncan Chisholm - Live at Celtic Connections

CD: Duncan Chisholm - Live at Celtic Connections

Widescreen musical wonders from the 'Strathglass Trilogy'

Duncan Chisholm was nominated Musician of the Year at the 2013 BBC Folk Awards

Chisholm was born and raised in Inverness in the Scottish Highlands, and was tutored by great fiddler player, composer and instrument maker Donald Riddell. He's a regular player with Julie Fowlis and with his own band Wolfstone, and this is a live recording of his epic Strathglass Trilogy. Originally released on the Copperfish label, the trilogy was six years in the making, and features the award-winning Farrar (2008), Canaich (2010) and Affric (2012). 

The trilogy - and this live set - is a musical representation of the ancient Chisholm Clan lands north-west of Loch Ness. It’s one of the most beautiful wilderness areas of Scotland, home to ancient Caledonian pine woods, lochs, moorlands and mountains, and it’s easy to see them all moving through the mind’s eye through the album's nine tracks, recorded at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery at last year’s Celtic Connections (where he’ll be performing at this year’s Opening Concert on a bill with Nicola Benedetti on 16 January). 

It features Chisholm’s regular band – Jarlath Henderson on uilleann pipes and whistles, guitarist Matheu Watson, Allan Henderson on piano and fiddle, bodhran player Martin O’Neill and bassist Ross Hamilton. They’re joined by violinist Greg Lawson, and a 20-strong strings and brass ensemble conducted by Garry Walker. 

Chisholm opens with a striking solo “Unknown Air” – one of many airs and aching laments that stud both the studio albums and this excellent live set, and a good example of Chisholm's dexterity. It's no wonder he was nominated Musician of the Year at last year's Folk Awards. The beautiful “Lorient Mornings”, the first tune recorded for the first Strathglass album, is paired with the last tune recorded for the series, “Waltz of the Grey River”. Another Affric highlight is another stunning air, “Rubha Nam Marbh”. It’s a gorgeous set that has a cinematic, widescreen clarity, with a sense of place, landscape and history roving through its tunes and tones. It's a fine live coda to the Strathglass trilogy.

It’s a gorgeous set that has a cinematic, widescreen clarity, with a sense of place, landscape and history roving through its tunes


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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