SINGER Fiona Kennedy drew on inspiration from Robert Burns, the Highland clearances, and the death of family friend for her latest extended play (EP), The Maple Tree (I’ll Remember You).
The EP was produced by award-winning musician Calum MacColl, one of Kennedy’s friends and long-time collaborator.
Kennedy said: “The theme of the EP is ‘remembering’ – remembering family and friends whom we have loved and lost, remembering the relevance of Robert Burns’s apt words and how beautifully he portrayed the preciousness of life and the importance of relationships, and also remembering how tough life was for so many in the 1800s and 1900s when numerous men had no work and had to leave to sail on unknown waters.
“Given the challenging times we are living through today, there are many parallels.”
Kennedy wrote the title track in memory of a family friend who died.
She said: “The track is a joyful celebration of ‘Uncle’ Brian, a wonderful and mischievous friend who was very dear to my family and was in many respects everyone’s uncle.
“He loved to have a glass, or two, or three sitting in the shade under an old maple tree.
“I’ll always have that vivid and happy memory of him smiling and laughing there.”
On track two, Kennedy reimagines In Ae Waukin’ o by Robert Burns, while the third song is her cover of Farewell to Tarwathie, written in 1850 by George Scroggie from the village of Strichen in Aberdeenshire and made famous in the 1960s by Ewan MacColl and Judy Collins.
“I wanted to record this haunting song, not only because it’s from the north east of Scotland where I live and now feel part of the fabric of the land here, but also it takes us back to a time that reflects on the hardship faced by many men who had to leave home to work on whaling ships to earn a living,” Kennedy said.
“It’s a beautiful story of hope, telling of the whaler’s love remaining strong while on his journey – and he returns home safely – so, a happy ending.”
Kennedy returns to Burns for the final track on he EP, John Anderson.
“For me, it’s a perfect song, which perfectly encapsulates life,” she added.
Read more music news on the Scottish Field music pages.