Link to Living Tradition Homepage





COLUM SANDS & MAGGIE MACINNES The Seedboat (Bàta an t-Sìl)

The Seedboat (Bàta an t-Sìl)

Spring Records  SCD1061

Colum and Maggie’s new album takes as its inspiration the story of an ill-fated trip by a young Barra man, Donald who sailed from the Hebridean Island to County Down’s Newry to buy some whiskey for his forthcoming wedding to Catriona. Whilst there he meets and falls in love with a Newry girl - never to return to Barra. The song is Catriona’s lament to her lost love.

The album takes as its heart, therefore, the rich musical dialogue between Scotland and Ireland as personified by Colum’s County Down and Maggie’s Hebridean roots. It’s an ambitious piece of work; songs are rooted in the past of both locations and Gaelic lyrics sit happily alongside English translations.

The title-track is a bittersweet little song which is followed by the roguish I’m A Terrible Man (I bhi Àta) - perhaps hinting at the failings in Donald’s character from The Seedboat - which melds words and phrases from English, Gaelic, as well as Ireland and Scotland. The sea itself is a linking motif, and boats and distance feature heavily throughout. Highlights include Colum’s self-penned The Wave Upon the Shore (which depicts the sea as a force to unite rather than be feared), the fine waulking song Alasdair Mhic Cholla Ghasda (Alasdair, Son of Gallant Coll) as well as the tranquil love song The Castle Of Wild Waves (Caisteal na Stuadhan) and the warm instrumental of Rory Dall’s Port.

Dark themes are dealt with gentle hands, such as the loss felt in the title-track and the delicately fragile Dh’fhalbh Mo Nighean Chruinn Donn (My lovely brown haired girl has gone) as well as a bright interpretation of Robert Burns’ It Was A’ For Our Rightfu’ King. Occasionally, I would have preferred a little more salty gristle added to the pot, but that’s not Colum or Maggie’s style. The Seedboat (Bàta an t-Sìl) is a quiet, sweet little album charmingly played and sung with some fine musicianship from Maggie on clàrsach and Colum on guitar, double bass, concertina and mandolin. Maggie’s soft vocals and Colum’s soothing, intimate voice are matched perfectly and the album’s potential for further collaboration is something both interesting and worth anticipating.

Billy Rough

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 87 of The Living Tradition magazine.