Scots singer Mary Ann Kennedy has released a new studio album inspired by her home city.
The latest album Mary Ann, who now lives in the Highlands, is Glaschu, which features songs and poetry celebrating city life past and present.
It’s a vibrant 16-track collection of Glasgow vignettes and vivid images, from the city’s main artery – the River Clyde, to street-life and markets, social deprivation and religious tension, and traditional Scottish sport and play. Mary Ann says,
She said: ‘The Glaschu album is a kind of love-song to my home town – these songs are the story of the Gaels in Glasgow before me, but it’s the also the story of every new arrival community in any city the world over – the themes are universal.
‘I grew up in the southside of a city rich in languages and cultures, and as part of Scottish Gaels’ biggest urban diaspora. We realised that, even though Gaelic had been part of Glasgow throughout its 800-year history, we were still very much part of the ebb-and-flow migration that is part of every city’s narrative.’
2019 has begun successfully for Mary Ann, with Glaschu being showcased at Scotland’s renowned Celtic Connections festival ahead of the album’s international spring release.
Mary Ann performed songs from ‘Glaschu’ in the atmospheric surroundings of the Tron Theatre, at the heart of the city quarter where many of the songs are set. She was joined by long-time collaborator Finlay Wells (Coast) on guitar, and played host to some very special guest singers from Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghleann Dail, one of the city’s Gaelic schools.
‘Glaschu is a tribute to Mary Ann’s city of birth where she was raised speaking Gaelic long before schools like Glendale were established. As with her debut international release, An Dàn – Gaelic Songs for a Modern World (ARC Music, 2017), Mary Ann Kennedy continues to give centre-stage to her native language with songs that celebrate the vibrant spirit of the ‘City of Gaels’ or ‘Baile Mòr nan Gàidheal’.
Glaschu was recorded and co-produced with Mary Ann by her partner and co-director of Watercolour Music studios in Ardgour, Nick Turner.
Mary Ann says the songs on Glaschu are: ‘the story of the Glasgow of today and the future. You can take the girl out of Glasgow, but never Glasgow out of the girl. And in the spirit of Gaels’ eternal need to sing about home, this is my Gaelic love-song for the city in all its guises – the voices of arrivals in search of a new life and of those, like me, born and bred there.’
Scottish Gaelic is spoken by close to 60,000 people in Scotland, mainly in the north-west Highlands and Islands and in the country’s urban Central Belt, and with a small but significant diaspora in East Coast Canada. Mary Ann is actively involved in many official and informal roles in promoting the language and its place in 21st century Scotland and beyond.
Glaschu is a work of love, a chronicle of urban life with 16 tracks researched, arranged and sung by Mary Ann, carrying the words of poets, authors and activists from across Gaelic Scotland.
On Glaschu Mary Ann lives up to her own words on Gaelic song: ‘The truest respect one can pay one’s culture and heritage is to make sure it’s a part of a continuum’.
Mary Ann is touring ‘Glaschu’ in Spring 2019 and the launches internationally through ARC Music on the 26th April 2019.
Visit http://www.maryannkennedy.co.uk/ for more details.