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Coigach is the area in which we live and work. Over the last two years we have begun to produce a series of CDs, covering aspects of our lives and culture past and present with profits going to the Coigach Community Fund.
Available now is firstly "Coigach Gaelic Place Names". It is an insight in Gaelic and English of the far northwest of the Scottish Highlands, where the old ways of life are still celebrated today. Thanks to the work of Donnie Fraser thirty years ago and of Alasdair Fraser, his nephew, and others today, a unique record of the Gaelic place-names of the peninsula with maps and photographs has been preserved of one of the remotest parts of a remote land.
As "Gaelic Place Names" honours the past, also available is "Single Tracking", the CD created by five of our local musicians, The Coigach Ceilidh Band. Available now on CD and cassette, "Single Tracking" is raw traditional music, as played in the local pubs and village halls and recorded locally in 1996. It is a mixture of older, well-known tunes and new tracks composed by two of the players - the accordianist, Ali "Beag" MacLeod and the Northumbrian Piper and bodhran player, Ron Raine. Additionally available from this page on CD are "Springwell" from Kevin Macleod and "Polbain to Oranmore" from Kevin Macleod and Alec Finn.
We have been able to access an amount of archive material. First to be published on CD is "Raon Mor". On 11th June 1955 Alasdair Fraser of Raon Mor in Achiltibuie in Wester Ross, the uncle of the present occupier of the croft, also Alasdair Fraser, sat down in Conon Bridge, Easter Ross with a tape recorder to record his repertoire. The Alasdair Fraser senior was a Gaelic singer of some note locally, who sang many times in his Coigach Gaelic on radio to a much wider, Highland audience. He had a wonderful, natural tenor voice.
On that day in 1955 he recorded 35 tracks, many of which were local Gaelic songs. Modern techniques have allowed the original tapes to be cleaned and re-mastered. It is 18 of those tracks that are now available on the first volume of "Raon Mor". For the track list click here.
Now also available is "Coigach Music/Ceol na Choigich - Volume 1". It is to be the first of a series of CDs to feature Coigach music and musicians from past and present. It includes in its 27 tracks 13 tunes and a short explanation of each, from Roderick Macleod, who recorded in the 1920s, to Alasdair Fraser and on to present day with Iain Campbell. It also contains tracks from the Coigach Ceilidh Band, Kevin Macleod and the David Wilkie-Arthur Cormack-Phil Cunningham version of Mo Shoraidh Leis a'Coigich (Farewell to Coigach), probably the best-known of local tunes. For the track list click here.
Coigach has received from the School of Scottish Studies its full
archive. Recorded in September 1955 by Calum MacLean, the brother of
the great Gaelic poet, Sorley MacLean, it features the Gaelic singing
of Hectoria MacLeod and the late Seordag Murray and John Alec Campbell
and the fiddle-playing of the late Kenny John Macleod, recorded in
their homes and a local house-ceilidh. The archive has been turned into
four separate CDs. The ceilidh in its entirety with all the music, the
interruptions and the laughter has forms a 2 disk set, named "No. 5 Achiltibuie-The Coigach Ceilidh" after
the house, where it took place. The 2-disk set costs £14.99. The
Gaelic singing of Seodag, John Alec and Hectoria and
the fiddle-playing of Kenny John, edited from the ceilidh and other
recordings, forms the CD, "Òran 'is Ceol",
priced at £7.99. The fiddle playing of Kenny John, again edited
from the ceilidh and from other recordings, is also available
on the CD, "Coigach Airs", also priced at
In 2004 James
Graham became BBC Scotland's Young Traditional Musician of the Year. He
was the first man to win the award and the first Gael as well as the
first local artist. He is also the great-nephew of local singer Seordag
Murray. Last year too he issued his first CD - Suibhal - priced at
£12.39 - which features a wide range of fine, traditional
At the end of
the 19th century there lived in Polbain a builder - he built my house -
and he was also a gaelic bard - a poet and a writer of songs. His name
was Neill MacLeod. Roddy Macleod, who was also born and raised in
Polbain and is the father of Kevin MacLeod has over the last few years
set himself the task of preserving the work of Neill MacLeod. That task
is now completed and the result is the pamphlet and CD, "An Trubhal na mo Dhorn", which
contain Neill's wriiten work in it original Gaelic, translates it into
English and records it in the local Gaelic dialect and in English. The
words and sounds are a fantastic record of a way of life that is now
Gaelic Place Names
£7.99 + p & p
Single Tracking - The Coigach Ceilidh Band
Audio CD or Cassette: £7.99 + p & p
Springwell - Kevin MacLeod
Raon Mor - Volume 1
Music/Ceol na Choigich - Volume 1 Audio CD
No. 5 Achiltibuie Volumes 1 & 2 Audio CD
'is Ceol - Seodag Murray, John Alec Campbell & Hectoria
Airs - Kenny John MacLeodAudio CD
Siubhal - James GrahamAudio CD
Neill MacLeod - The Polbain Bard - An Trubhal na mo
DhornAudio CD & Book
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