The very first gig I performed at on mainland Scotland was at the Lochaline Social Club and on that night I heard Stuart Jackson singing for the first time. I had just turned fifteen and was already very excited to have been asked by the legendary Highland Fiddler, Fearchar MacRae to play along with him for the Morvern Highland Games Dance. When a very powerful looking giant of a man with a bushy beard joined the band and launched into the lyrics “I’m just a crofter’s son from the county of Argyll…” the whole place erupted and the audience sang along with the vigour and pride you only get when a well-loved local hero performs on home territory.
That local hero was Stuart Jackson and I have witnessed him having a similar effect many times on audiences across the country over the span of the twenty-five years that have elapsed since that Saturday night in July 1994.
“M’ àrach”, as the name suggests, is a reflection of Stuart’s upbringing with many of the songs having very personal and poignant connections to himself, his family and their background farming for three generations at Fuinary on the Morvern Peninsula. The songs are interwoven skilfully to create a journey of changing emotions - from deep sorrow to the rousing happiness of sing-along classics.
I first heard “M’ àrach” along with Stuart on the wedding eve of a mutual friend. The craic was good, the whisky was flowing and we played the album on repeat till the mid-summer dawn. It was a magical night of friendship, stories, music and drams. As it was on that night,
“M’ àrach” is the perfect soundtrack to a proper ceilidh.
Angus MacPhail - Skipinnish
Spent an entertaining afternoon today with Donald MacRae listening to Stuart’s new CD “m’àrach” - received from the man himself this morning. Donald sang along with every track from start to finish, and said that he has never enjoyed a complete Gaelic recording so much in the last 20 years. A lovely choice of material and the best of singing from Stuart on every track. Donald is none too happy with much of the way Gaelic songs are presented nowadays, and notes that for him, this is a refreshing look back to the true tradition. Every song comes over beautifully and with such feeling…. more than once I noted Donald reaching for his hankie.
Stand out tracks agreed with Donald were “ Nach gòrach mi gad chaoineadh”, which Donald pointed out that his song “Filoro”, often sung as a cheery song, is in fact a similar tale of unrequited love from the Ross pen. Donald’s ears pricked up high when Ròidseag’s classic “Fàgail Ghlaschu” came on and he really enjoyed Stuart’s rendition. Good to hear the Gunna Sound commandos back in action on “Thoir mo shoraidh thar Ghunnaidh”…
Though a dreadfl shock to read that those rogues sometimes drank the raffle prizes, just a disgrace!…….I thought we had the sole right to that back in the day! Dr. Iain MacLachlan’s “Seo nam shìneadh air an t-slìabh” another stand out track. Archie McAllister on fiddle adds such poignancy to the backing with lovely harmony lines which are stunning, and adds much depth to ever one of the eight tracks he appears on. The backing in the six tracks that Ross Wilson features on piano are some of the best. A man with an incredible feel for the music of the Gael.
Hard to pick out any low points at all, however, the CD has one major flaw! - while the Morvern-ich are well catered for, their neighbours - Ardnamurchan, their bards do not merit a track. Next time Stuart!Playing at the same function, as Stuart was performing in recent years, when he was announced to the floor, the group at the table next to the band could be heard saying… “Ah! Stuart is on…now we will get a real Gaelic song”. Sums up the whole man, his talents and this….no doubt about to be classic CD.
Get yourself an undoubted future classic!
Donald MacRae & Willie Cameron. - 30th July 2019
TRADITIONAL SCOTTISH RECORDS
Clachan music are proud producers of traditional Scottish music on the west coast of Scotland. Our debut album m’àrach by artist Stuart Jackson is now available to purchase online.
Clachan music draws on a wide range of experience of working in the music scene in the west coast of Scotland to provide local artists a platform to showcase their talent on the global stage.
We work closely with our artists from early beginnings in concept meetings, through to recording studios and distribution. You can be confident when working with us that your vision will be delivered efficiently.
PROFESSIONAL RECORD LABEL REPRESENTING ARTISTS ON THE WEST COAST OF SCOTLAND
Clachan music was established by Gaelic singing sensation Stuart Jackson in 2019 to correspond with the launch of his debut album m’àrach.
Stuart was born in Lochaline, Morvern, Argyll and raised on the family farm at Fuinary, in Morvern. This upbringing, by the shores of the Sound of Mull, was shaped by immersion in local songs and music, both at school and from his parents at home. His mother, Creina, was an accomplished singer and dad, Alasdair, played the accordion at home and for most of the local dances. During his student days Stuart, like many other exiled Gaels, frequented the West End of Glasgow and soon became a performer at the Dorchester Hotel’s famous cèilidhs, singing along with accordionist Tom Smith .
Stuart’s working life has seen him travel over a large part of Scotland, including the Orkneys, the Shetland Isles, extensively throughout the Hebrides and the western seaboard of the country. He has guested with a number of bands including Highland Echo, The Strawberry Donkeys and , of course, the Gunna Sound Ceilidh Band. He will probably be remembered, in his adopted home on Skye, as the singer with Skyeline and fronted this popular band for a number of years.
Stuart only started competing in adult solo competitions, at the National Mòd, comparatively recently but during this time has had some success, winning; The Silver Medal ,The Alasdair MacInnes Memorial Trophy, The George Clavey Memorial Quaich, The John D Gillies Memorial Trophy and The Kinlochewe Branch Trophy. As well as solo singing, Stuart is a member of Bùrach, the Gaelic choir from his native parish of Morvern. Success has followed there also, as they have won the rural choir competition in 2017 and 2018, under the baton of Stuart’s sister, Riona Whyte. He is also active within An Comunn on Skye, and is current Chairman of Meur an Eilean Sgitheanaich, who organise and administer the Skye Provincial Mòd.
In 2014 Stuart represented his country at the International Pan Celtic Festival, competing in the traditional singing.
Singing very much runs in the family with Stuarts sister, Riona Whyte winning both an An Comunn gold medal and 2012 Gaelic singer of the year. Stuarts nephew, Alasdair MacIlleBhàin is also a holder of an An Comunn gold medal. Stuarts other sister Mairi is also an active member in Bùrach and also possesses a fine singing voice.
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m’ àrach SONG TRANSLATIONS
It was while listening to the Skipinnish album, Atlantic Roar, that I heard Angus MacPhail’s evocative rendition of this melody. It immediately renewed an interest in the song and, I’m glad to say, it is now firmly installed in my repertoire.
The Skye bard, William Ross, born in Broadford in 1762, wrote this melancholy song for the love of his life, Marian Ross.
Like many of my generation, the soundtrack of my formative years was greatly influenced by the legendary Donald MacRae.
This song from a humble tailor, Sandy “Fred” Rankin, has been covered by many artistes over the years, and it’s popularity is testament to the skill of the bard.
This catchy sea song tells of a voyage through the Irish Sea and up the western seaboard of Scotland. Although the sea conditions are rough they have “just the crew for the job”.
Malcolm’s father was only 3 years old when the family left Morar and crossed the Atlantic to the eastern seaboard of Canada. Growing up on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia allowed Malcolm to maintain his gaelic culture and he became a greatly admired bard.
The ship, in this song, is travelling between Mull and Tiree and it plays particular notice to its passage through Gunna Sound. We learn that the singer’s sweetheart has died and he asks the boatmen to carry her coffin safely across the sea.
Mairi, and her family were evicted from the island of Pabbay, Harris in 1842, when she was only one year old. The family then settled in Valtos , Lewis from where she later emigrated to America. Mairi soon got homesick and composed this song.
Born in Strathspey in 1783, Peter Grant later joined the ministry and became a prolific author and popular composer of Gaelic hymns. He composed here, from the infant’s viewpoint, the story of a young baby’s passing and its subsequent journey, leaving its grieving mother and ascending to Heaven.
MacLachlan was a significant contributor to Gaelic literature and prose in the 19th century and acknowledged as Morvern’s most famous bard. His talents were many and he is often referred to as “The Sweet Singer of Rahoy”.
Donald Ross was a well known Gaelic singer in the sixties and seventies, featuring on many recordings of the time. He composed some very melodic songs including this one about his homeland by the shores of Loch Broom.
A traditional sea song, from the Isle of Mull, tells of the sailor’s pride for his crew mates and their vessel. We follow the voyage from Greenock, through the Firth of Clyde, past Ailsa Craig through the Irish Sea and skirting the Isle of Man.
Three generations of my family farmed at Fuinary, without doubt the most beautiful place on earth, and it will always be the place that is closest to my heart. I am extremely proud that all eleven voices you will hear on this track are members of my immediate family, ranging from my 85 year old mother to my 3 year old grandson.
LISTEN TO m’àrach PREVIEW TRACKS
While words cannot fully convey my gratitude, my eternal thanks go to; Mary Ann Kennedy, my producer, for her brilliance and patience (especially her patience); to the legend that is Nick Turner at Watercolour Music; to the phenomenal musical maestros - Ross Wilson, Archie McAllister, Finlay Wells, Ross MacPherson, Angus MacColl, Campbell Brown and Johnny Scoular; to Riona Whyte and Alasdair MacIlleBhàin for their support, talent and guidance; to Bùrach for their beautiful voices; to Hugh Campbell for his creative excellence; to Martin and Calum, at Birnam, for their expertise; to Alison Smith for her administrative prowess; to my in-laws, Jimmy and Mary Nicolson for their kindness and encouragement; to all my friends who have supported and cajoled me along the way; and finally, to my wonderful family, for their belief in both me and this musical adventure.
“M’ àrach is the perfect soundtrack to a proper ceilidh.”
- Angus MacPhail, Skipinnish.
“The most anticipated album of the Gàidhealtachd in 2019”
- Donald MacRae, Gaelic singing legend.
If you would like to work with Clachan music or you have any questions about our debut album, please contact us using the links below. We will answer all inquiries as soon as possible.
Clachan music support Gaelic musicians from the West Coast of Scotland to promote their work to a global audience.