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- Grainne Brady - The Road Across The Hills
An album of tunes composed by Gráinne Brady, inspired by the novel "Children of the Dead End" by Patrick McGill, The Navvy Poet born in Glenties in 1889. Originally from Co. Cavan in Ireland, now based in Glasgow, Gráinne has steadily built a career at the heart of the Scottish traditional music scene as a well-respected musician and composer. She currently plays with MG Alba Scots Trad Awards nominees Top Floor Taivers, string group The Routes Quartet, and Gaeilge/Gàidhlig supergroup LAS. Recorded in Spring 2018, The Road Across the Hills was tracked, mixed and produced by award-winning musician and composer Mike Vass, and features household names from across Scotland’s traditional and classical music scene: Su-a Lee, Megan Henderson, Innes White, Andrew Waite, Steve Forman and Feargus Hetherington. Exploring themes of immigration and extreme poverty, Gráinne took inspiration from the work of Irish poet and writer Patrick MacGill – the music for the album acts as a soundtrack to Patrick MacGill’s ‘Children of the Dead End’. Born in Glenties, Co. Donegal in 1889, MacGill emigrated to Scotland in the 1900s and began to discover his talents as a writer whilst working as a labourer on the railways and as a navvy. His writing depicts the hardships endured by both the Irish and Scottish lower class and highlights the enduring hope that drove their determination to succeed despite the odds – a lasting concept just as relevant today in the discussions around immigration as when MacGill was writing. His growing preoccupation with the poor, the downtrodden and the workers who, like himself, toiled in the mud to build civilisation but lived on the outskirts of society is prevalent throughout his work. Each track on The Road Across the Hills was written in response to pivotal moments in this novel; a book that has stuck with Gráinne since first reading it as a child. The ten-track album features Donegal native Jack Houston reciting abstracts of MacGill’s evocative poems. Incorporating spoken word as well as percussive sound effects to augment the tracks, allowing Gráinne to create a dramatic soundscape throughout. The music takes the listener on a journey; from his childhood in rural Donegal to gruelling labour in Scotland as a potato picker, or ‘tattie howker’. There are some colourful characters along the way, as well as a bittersweet story of love and loss, entwined with words from the man himself which works as an extra layer to the soundtrack and acts as a reflection on the tale.
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- Claddagh Label