Cladaich Loch Iù is the debut album from Gaelic folk singer Steven MacIomhair. In English meaning ‘Shores of Loch Ewe’ his album has been inspired primarily by songs from his own part of the world combined with other well-known Gaelic songs that he has picked up over the years.
“It was a great experience to come together with such brilliant musicians and take some of my favourite Gaelic songs and breath new life into them. Everyone involved in the album brought a different element with them which created a final product of which I’m very proud,” Steven tells Darren’s music blog.
“It was important for me to include, in the album, some songs from my own village and bring these excellent works to a wider audience’s attention.”
Born in a small village in the West Coast of Scotland, Naast, near Poolewe, he grew up in a musical home where he developed a love for singing. During his school years his interest and passion for the Gaelic language grew and lead him to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig where he completed a course in Gaelic broadcasting, and most recently, an Honours Degree in Education and Gaelic. Steven started competing in both local and national Mòds when he was 12 years old and won the James C MacPhee Memorial Medal in 1999, just 10 years later he went on to win the coveted An Comunn Gàidhealach Gold Medal. He is currently a Gaelic primary school teacher in Dingwall.
Initially launched on the 28th of August 2019 at a gig he organised in Dingwall and available digitally the album is now also available on CD.
The CD, Cladaich Loch Iù, is available to buy from:
Glasgow: Gaelic Books Council Shop, Mansfied Street, Partick.
Stornoway: An Comunn Gàidhealach Office
The album can also be downloaded through:
Google Play Music
Prophecy Playground is an alternative-folk project founded by guitarist singer-songwriter and composer Or Izekson. They combine gently-written melancholic songs and instrumental themes with a carefully-arranged string section, taking elements from classical European chamber music. The melancholic nature of the songs combined with Izekson’s distinctive guitar means comparisons have often been made with the likes of Nick Drake.
Founded in 2018 in Tel Aviv, Prophecy Playground started performing in local bars and small music venues with the band’s live setup consisting of a cellist, violinist and percussionist plus singer-guitar player Izekson surrounded by his four acoustic guitars, each tuned differently.
Released on the Dutch International folk label Friendly Folk Records, Prophecy Playground’s debut album Comfort Zone is something of a concept album. Izekson’s lyrics deal with themes such as the struggle for inner-self embetterment, the lack of purpose in the virtual age, and a perpetual longing for a home, both in the physical and the spiritual one. The album contains three instrumental pieces and two cover versions – a tribute to 60’s British folk-rock pioneer Kevin Ayers and legendary blues guitar player Mississippi John Hurt, two of Izekson’s most influential musical figures.
A single from the album ‘Politely Polluting’ was released in December with this experimental video filmed in Wales.
The instrumental arrangements for the album include the violin, cello, upright bass, harp, trumpet and flute, and were written by the Tel Aviv pianist/composer Yasmin Raviv. The aim behind the album’s production was to combine skillful acoustic guitar playing with carefully-written arrangements for string section and other orchestral instruments, whilst taking care not to harm the gentleness and fragility of the songs. The album was recorded with producer Gil Smetana, one of Israel’s leading and most experienced music producers, who contributed his distinctive touch.
The band is currently touring Israel in different venues and festivals and will hold album launch mini-tours in US and UK this coming spring, followed by a full European tour in the summer.
Comfort Zone released 15th February 2020 on Friendly Folk Records
Back in 2017, Kankou Kouyate a singer and songwriter from Mali from a renowned musical family, met Scottish musician Mark Mulholland. A collaboration ensued which led to a batch of original songs fusing both African and western influences. The ten-track album Kuma (meaning “words” in Bambara – Mali’s most common language) is the result of that collaboration. Parisian musician Olaf Hund adds electronic beats and on a couple of tracks Vincent Bucher provides some beautifully evocative harmonica. Combined with the rock, blues and folk influences of Mulholland’s guitar work and Kankou’s enchanting voice they have created something altogether special.
In Mali, Kouyate has worked with musicians such as Toumani Diabate, Bassekou Kouyate and Cheick Tidiane Seck. She’s collaborated in Africa Express and also contributed to the soundtrack for a 2015 documentary about musicians displaced by Mali’s civil war while internationally she has worked with the likes of Damon Albarn, Brian Eno and Nick Zinner.
Released: Cannery Row Records 6th December 2019
Back in April 2016, on the 40th anniversary of their Agents of Fortune album Blue Öyster Cult marked the occasion by performing the album in full for a televised concert at Red Studios in Hollywood. Frontiers music is now releasing the recording in CD, vinyl, DVD and Blu-Ray formats.
On the recording BÖC’s original core duo of vocalist/lead guitarist Donald ‘Buck
Dharma’ Roeser and vocalist/rhythm guitarist Eric Bloom are joined by Richie
Castellano on guitar/keyboards plus the long-standing rhythm section of bassist
Kasim Sulton and drummer Jules Radino. Founding member Albert Bouchard also appeared as a special guest on selected tracks.
Originally released in 1976 Agents Of Fortune was BÖC’s fourth album, going on to
achieve platinum status in the States on the strength of songs such as ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,’ the band’s biggest hit and a staple of classic rock station playlists. Here in the UK Agents of Fortune has featured in numerous publications’ lists of the greatest rock/metal albums of all time, including the likes of Kerrang! and Q magazine.
Frontiers are also reissuing BÖC’s thirteenth studio album Heaven Forbid. Released in March 1998, it was the group’s first full studio set containing original material since Imaginos a decade earlier. Science fiction author John Shirley contributed
heavily, writing lyrics for all except two of its new songs, while a live version of ‘In Thee’ (from 1979’s ‘Mirrors’) was also included.
40th ANNIVERSARY AGENTS OF FORTUNE 2016 live album and HEAVEN FORBID
both released 6th March 2020 by Frontiers Music