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Caoir | Joy Dunlop

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Joy Dunlop releases vibrant new Gaelic album Caoir

Out on Friday 24th March 2023 | Sradag Music

Esteemed Scottish singer and Gaelic language advocate Joy Dunlop is set to release her third solo album Caoir, featuring contemporary recordings of traditional Gaelic songs, on Friday 24th March 2023.

Joy’s first solo material to be released in a decade, Caoir (pronounced koor) means a blaze of fire, fiercely burning, flames or flashes – imagery which comes across in the album’s undeniably vibrant and warming sound. Her pure, enthralling vocals burn brightest at the heart of it all, acting as the ember which breathes life to the skilled, heartfelt flames of musicianship that surround her on the recording.

With its upbeat rhythms and captivating melodies and riffs, it’s easy to imagine the album’s sparkling tracks lighting a fire in listeners as Joy’s musical embers dance around venues and festivals across Scotland and beyond.

Having grown up immersed in the traditional music scene of Argyll, Joy was inspired by contemporary folk acts including Peatbog Faeries, Sian, and Elephant Sessions, and Gaelic singers like Julie Fowlis and Arthur Cormack. With an eclectic taste and love of a good beat and catchy lyrics, Joy has combined her musical passions on her latest album, which sees her go for a bigger and bolder sound than ever before.

Bringing the album’s buoyant sound to life alongside Joy’s sweet Gaelic song are Ron Jappy on guitar, Mhairi Marwick on fiddle, Gus Stirrat on bass, Ifedade Thomas on drums, and Euan Malloch on electric guitar, with drum and bass brought into the mix on Joy’s music for the first time.

Joy Dunlop said: “I’ve always loved music that pushed the boundaries of what was considered ‘trad’, without losing the soul of the songs. As a Gaelic singer, I’m always trying to make my music accessible to those who don’t speak the language. With this recording I wanted to capture the sentiment of the songs, whether the listener understands Gaelic or not, while adding new engaging elements to the music.

Caoir started as a jam session with four fantastic musicians, and soon grew into something more – a selection of music that we all loved and a real friendship and bond between us all. I think that sense of joy really comes across in the recording. That mix of trust, creativity and drive for exploration eventually emerged as an album that will hopefully resonate with both trad fans and those who just love music.”

Joy handpicked the 10 traditional songs on the album. The first single, Mo Nighean Donn Hò Gù (My Brown Haired Girl Hò Gù) is a traditional Gaelic waulking song with a twist, set to be released Friday 10th March. The track leans into the rhythmic aspects of the tradition and plays around with the accompaniment, with the backing vocals also imitating and exaggerating the beat-driven feel of a waulking song, which would have been sung during the tweed or tartan making process.

Other stand out tracks include Bàs Na Cailliche Bèire (The Death Of The Cailleach Bheur), inspired by the legend of the one-eyed giantess who is said to have lived on the tiny island of Erraid near Mull. Am Bràighe (The Braes) was written at the beginning of the 20th century, inspired by the beautiful Cape Breton Island. Joy, who spent six months living and working in the small village of Mabou on the island, felt it was only fitting she sang in praise of the special corner of Nova Scotia.

Joy’s coveted singing career has led her all over the world, from Canada to Japan. She has been nominated as Gaelic Singer of the Year no less than four times and has a Royal National Mòd Gold Medal to her name.

A much-loved broadcaster, Joy’s face and voice are well-known from her wealth of television and radio work including as BBC Scotland and BBC ALBA weather presenter, BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year presenter and host of SpeakGaelic.

Caoir was recorded at Solas Sound in Glasgow by Gus Stirrat, and mastered by Peter Beckmann at Technology Works.

Track Listing:

01. Jigs (Nighean Ruadh Bhan, Chuirinn Mo Ghiollan A Dh'iomain Nan Caorach)

02. Ged Is Grianach An Latha (Although The Day Is Sunny)

03. Am Bràighe (The Braes)

04. Mo Nighean Donn Hò Gù (My Brown Haired Girl Hò Gù)

05. Cadal Cuain (Sleep Of The Ocean)

06. Puirt À Beul (Mouth Music - Ho Gun D' Mharbh Mi, Dhannsamaid Le Ailean, Air An Fhèill, Ged Thigeadh Fear Le Buaile Chruidh)

07. Bàs Na Cailliche Bèire (The Death Of The Cailleach Bheur)

08. Port Na Cailliche (The Old Crone)

09. Duthaich MhicAoidh (Mackay Country)

10. Reels (Gun An Gobha A Chàrachadh, Siud An Rud A Thogadh Fonn)

Joy Dunlop | Links