Here’s another super group that is well loved on LiveIreland. Capercaillie. The group has undergone a lot of changes since its inception over 30 years ago in Oban and the Western part of Scotland. A “Capercaillie” is a small wood grouse, native to Scotland. For students of Scottish geography, the band could also be said to originally be from the Argyll section of Scotland. Wherever they are from, they have been trailblazers in the music. Donald Shaw formed the group. Over the decades, they have plugged into many musical forms and traditions. They really offer a rare synthesis of all the different forms of traditional Gaelic music, Irish AND Scottish. They certainly have a more modern approach to their selections, but Scots Gaelic and trad remain at the epicenter of their musical journey. Many became aware of them when they did so much of the music for the international hit movie, Rob Roy, starring Liam Neeson. One of the long-term factors in the band’s success has been the beautiful voice of Karin Matheson. Haunting, really. Along with Shaw and Matheson, the legendary Michael McGoldrick has been a key element from the start, here seen playing flute. Manus Lunny on bouzouki is also a long-term favorite, and one of the originators. The much-admired Ewan Vernal on bass is part of it all, too!! The song here is one of the top all-time favotrites here on LI. Imelda of the Bill & Imelda show loves it to bits, and will sneak in a play on her Sunday show anytime she can. It is Alasdair Mhic Cholla Chasda. Named for a 17th century famous Scottish warrior who died at the Battle of Knocknanauss in 1647. The song was originally written and performed as a waulking song. From Wikipedia comes as good a brief description as you’ll find: “Waulking songs (Scots Gaelic: Òrain Luaidh) are Scottish folk songs, traditionally sung in the Gaelic language by women while waulking cloth. This practice involved a group of people beating newly woven tweed rhythmically against a table or similar surface to soften it.” There is more to it, but we won’t go into that here! Enjoy!!
Capercaillie by Liveireland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.