Spellweaving: Ancient Music from the Highlands of Scotland | Delphian DCD34171

Spellweaving: Ancient Music from the Highlands of Scotland


Currently out of stock at the UK suppliers. Available to order, but is likely to take longer than usual to despatch

Label: Delphian

Cat No: DCD34171

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 20th May 2016



Barnaby Brown (pipes, vocals)
Clare Salaman (fiddles, hurdy-gurdy)
Bill Taylor (lyres, harp)


Barnaby Brown (pipes, vocals)
Clare Salaman (fiddles, hurdy-gurdy)
Bill Taylor (lyres, harp)


The patronage of elite Highland pipers collapsed after the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. Worried that the classical music of the Gaels would fade away, the English-speaking gentry offered prize money for scientific notations. By 1797, Colin Campbell had written 377 pages in a unique notation based on the vocables of Hebridean ‘mouth music’, but – unintelligible to the judges in Edinburgh – Campbell’s extraordinary work of preservation has remained overlooked or misunderstood until now. Barnaby Brown’s realisations bring the musical craftsmanship of a remote culture vividly to life, giving a voice back to some of Europe’s most illustrious ancient instruments and refocusing attention on a type of music whose trance-inducing long spans and elaborate formal patterning echo the knots and spells of Celtic culture.

Track listing:

1. Hindorõdin hindodre: One of the Cragich (a ‘rocky’ pibroch)
Barnaby Brown Highland bagpipe

2. Cumha Mhic Leòid (McLeod’s Lament)
Bill Taylor Highland clarsach

3. Fear Pìoba Meata (The Timid Piper)
Barnaby Brown canntaireachd, Bill Taylor wire-strung lyre

4. Cruinneachadh nan Sutharlanach (The Sutherlands’ Gathering)
Clare Salaman Hardanger fiddle

5. Hiorodotra cheredeche (a nameless pibroch)
Barnaby Brown vulture bone flute

6. Port na Srian (The Horse’s Bridle Tune)
Bill Taylor gut-strung lyre

7. Pìobaireachd na Pàirce (The Park Pibroch)
Clare Salaman hurdy-gurdy

8. Ceann Drochaid’ Innse-bheiridh (The End of Inchberry Bridge)
Barnaby Brown canntaireachd, Bill Taylor Highland clarsach, Clare Salaman medieval fiddle


Piper Barnaby Brown explains that the intent is to “break out of the piping ghetto” and see what happens when other instruments are let loose on that hallowed [pibroch] repertoire. What happens is the music becomes softer, more malleable and (piping purists, look away) more tonally expressive. Bill Taylor gives gentle if learned accounts on clàrsach and lyre and Brown takes a spacious solo on a vulture bone flute, but the highlight is Clare Salaman doing bold and sensitive things on Hardanger fiddle with a majestic 15-minute account of The Sutherlands’ Gathering.  Kate Molleson
The Guardian 3 June 2016

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