12 O'Clock Track: Mairi Morrison & Alasdair Roberts, "Mile Marbhphaisg air a' Ghaol" | Bleader

12 O'Clock Track: Mairi Morrison & Alasdair Roberts, "Mile Marbhphaisg air a' Ghaol"

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Alasdair Roberts & Mairi Morrison
  • Alasdair Roberts & Mairi Morrison
Over the past decade or so, former indie rocker Alasdair Roberts has transformed himself into one of the greatest contemporary exponents of traditional Scottish music, and on the forthcoming Urstan (due March 27 from Drag City) he continues to deepen his commitment to the sounds of his homeland. The record is a collaboration with singer and actress Mairi Morrison, who grew up speaking Gaelic and only later learned English. The pairing was proposed by Glasgow's Centre for Contemporary Arts, and the repertoire on the album is dominated by songs in Gaelic—which include today's 12 O'Clock Track.

Roberts and Morrison are backed by Roberts's guitar, the drums of Alex Neilson (Trembling Bells), the fiddle and mandolin of Alastair Caplin, and the upright bass of Stevie Jones. A slew of guest instrumentalists turn up on other tracks, bringing a lively variety to the arrangements, which range from jazz-folk a la Pentangle to scrappy folk-rock. The English translation of the title of today's song is "A Thousand Curses in Love"; it's a "waulking" song, traditionally sung by women while preparing newly woven tweed.

photo: Fraser Purdie

Mairi Morrison & Alasdair Roberts, "Mile Marbhphaisg air a' Ghaol"

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