Sunday, 6 December 2009

Dec. 6th; This state of emergency; how beautiful to be

Rory Campbell-Intrepid (Vertical,2007)

Rory Campbell is a Scottish piper, singer and songwriter. He's played in a fair number of current Scottish folk bands: Old Blind Dogs, Deaf Shepherd (see what they did there?), The Big Spree, etc. Intrepid is a mix of traditional Gaelic songs given the modern fusion treatment, traditional and modern pipe and whistle tunes, self-penned songs and something else we'll get to in a minute.
Of the songs, there is a nicely-done version of 'Oran Nan Mogaisean' (Song Of The Mocassins), where a man sings the praises of his (badly made) shoes, and two English songs, of which 'Dreams' would fit nicely into any Radio 2 or adult contemporary playlist.  The tunes, including some written for his son and wife, flow over an effective acoustic-guitar-and- percussion backing; I'm not a piper so I can't comment on the technically proficiency, but it sounds great to me.
And then I read the tracklist. Track 5: Joga. It can't be the Bjork song, can it? Well, actually, it can. A Scottish folk musician singing a song by an Icelandic female pop star. It shouldn't work, but it does, and quite successfully too, turning it into a laidback acoustic ballad which Campbell's voice suits well.
It's the most surprising thing about Intrepid. A seeming disparate mix of pipe tunes old and new, English original songs, traditional Gaelic (and Bjork) shouldn't go together, but this collection does

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