with Alasdair Fraser (fiddle) Kim Robertson(Celtic harp) Paul Machlis(piano) Al Petteway(guitar) David Hornung(accordion) Scott Petito(upright bass)
Cellist Abby Newton has long been associated with two of Scotland’s premier creative artists, singer Jean Redpath and fiddler Alasdair Fraser, having toured with them in Scotland and throughout the US. The cello was traditionally the favoured instrument in Scotland for accompanying dance fiddlers - Abby brings the instrument back into the fold with this uplifting debut album, presenting the cello at the rhythmic heart of traditional Scottish tunes.
"She has been recording with the singer Jean Redpath since the late Seventies but only now makes her solo album debut. And what a beauty it is ... Newton shows she can take jaunty strathspeys and Shetland reels in her bowing stride ..."—The Scotsman
Crossing To Scotland - Celtic Music For The Cello by Abby Newton has just been released by Mel Bay Publications. This 32 page book includes all melodies from the Culburnie records release Crossing to Scotland (CUL110, on CD and cassette) which features a cello-centered ensemble including Alasdair Fraser, Paul Machlis, Kim Robertson, Al Pettaway, David Hornung, and other fine musicians. Transcriptions include chords for each piece. Book cost $9.95.
Catskil Mountain Air * Wagon Wheel Notch(David Hornung)
David heard me playing Scottish music when we met 12 years ago and was inspired to write the slow air in this set. Later it was paired with the second tune, named for a mountain terrain we see from our window.
Drunk at Night, Dry in the Morning
This tune can be found in the Niel Gow Collection. Niel Gow was one of the most important Scottish fiddlers of the 18th century. In addition to being a well-known performer, he wrote and collected hundreds of fiddle tunes of which many are still commonly played. This lively tune is one of them. At that time the cello played accompaniment to fiddles in dance bands. Niel Gow's brother Donald often accompanied him on the cello.
Loftus Jones (O'Carolan)
Turlough O'Carolan was an itinerant Irish harper who wrote music in Ireland around the same time that Bach was composing in Germany. Here its beauty is enhanced by Alasdair's Baroque countermelody.
Tune for Mairead and Anna Ni Mhaonaigh (Daithi Sproule)
Daithi wrote this as a birthday tribute to Mairead and Anna. When I heard the tune on Liz Carroll's album its warmth and lyricism convinced me that it would sound good on the cello.
This is an ancient tune from the Shetland Islands. Its haunting melody rides upon an unusual chordal structure.
Also known as Hatton Burn, this reel appears in the Skye Collection.
Crossing to Ireland
This tune appears as a slow air in the key of A flat minor in the Simon Fraser Collection. In Cape Breton I heard it played as a waltz and was captured by its lilt.
The Earl of Dalhousie's Happy Return to Scotland This tune can be found in the Niel Gow Collection.
Da Full Rigged Ship * Da New Rigged Ship Tom Anderson taught me these tunes one cold Spring evening while sitting by the coal fire in his Lerwick, Shetland home. The uneven, rocking rhythm of Da Full Rigged Ship suggests the motion of an old sailing vessel out on the bumpy North Sea. Da New Rigged Ship shows off its new sails in this bouncy reel.
Independence Trail (Alasdair Fraser)
This tune floated around in my head for months after first hearing Alasdair play it at a recording session.
Heroes of Longhope (Ronnie Aimes)
I had the pleasure of studying Scottish Highland music with Angus Grant a few years back and this was one of the tunes that went right to my heart. Aimes wrote the tune to commemorate the heroic men who lost their lives trying to save their fellow fisherman after their boat capsized in a storm in the Atlantic Ocean.
O'Carolan's Draught (O'Carolan)
I think of this piece as a "country cousin" to the Bach cello suites that were written in the same period. Our arrangement is reminiscent of the trio sonata of that era.
Cropie's Strathspey (P. Milne) * Spootiskerry (Ian Burns) * Sleep Soond in da Morning * Lasses Trust in Providence The first tune in this set can be found in The Fiddle Music of Scotland by James Hunter. The last three are all from the Shetland Islands.
Gin Ye Kiss My Wife, I'll Tell the Minister
This is an ancient tune that I learned from the Caledonian Companion by Alastair Hardie. His notes indicate that a Mr John Stuart of Keith in Banffshire played it for Scott Skinner and that it can be found in his Harp and Claymore Collection. It was originally a Highland dance tune that evolved into a slow air over the centuries.
Alltunes traditional unless credited.
Produced by Alasdair Fraser and Abby Newton.