The Public Records 3/1/19
Well hello. Welcome to The Public Records of Tellus360 located way deep down in An Sibin. Since this month features the ever popular St. Patrick’s Day, we’ve to decided to have a ‘McMarch’ all month long and feature fantastic albums from the Emerald Isle herself all month long.
As many of you know, Ireland and music go together like bangers and mash. Some of the earliest records monks on the island would keep were the obituaries of the more prominent musicians of the times and throughout the middle ages in Europe, the Irish were sought out by many courts to be royal composers. In more modern times and closer to home, the folk music of Ireland and Scotland were very influential to all sorts of new world music; often mixing with that of African slaves and helping to create the rich tapestry that is contemporary American music.
For the past year, we have been collecting and sitting on an assortment of albums from very influential Irish bands of the latter half of the twentieth century and each week this month we’ll feature one and try to give you as much information, though often sparse, as we can.
For our first album of McMarch, we will feature The Bothy Band’s ‘Old Hag You Have Killed Me’ (Mulligan, 1976). The band formed when Planxty member Donal Lunny, a bouzouki player, left the group to form his own record label, Mulligan. He quickly recruited a formidable line up of of first class traditional musicians which led to group gaining impressive clout both in and out of Ireland.
They released three studio albums between 1975-77 with ‘Old Hag You Have Killed Me’ being their second. Each album received more praise than the previous and their following continued to grow. After their quick success, the group parted ways with members going on to join Planxty, The Chieftains, Patrick Street, and more.
‘Old Hag You Have Killed Me’ is a romp, especially the very mystical vocal Fionnghuala. A mouth music song of Scottish lore based on the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides. It is a ‘canntaireachd’ song, or chant, in which the human voice is used to imitate pipes and learn how to manipulate breathing for piping. A group alternates between singing and droning and creates a uniquely haunting sound. In the case of Fionnghuala, there are only three vocalists, despite sounding like a full chorus and all but the last line of each refrain is gibberish. Quite interesting!
To really get the most of that Scotch influence on this album, we heartily recommend a glass of Knappogu Castle 12 year old single malt Irish whiskey (made specially for Tellus360).