CD A0305: Starfish

Catriona McKay

CD Cover: Starfish by Catriona McKayCatriona McKay - Scottish harp and Starfish McKay harp joined by Donald Grant - fiddle; Fionan 'Fionomenal' De Barra - guitar; Matt Baker - double bass; Alistair MacDonald -  laptop wizardry; Seamus Egan - nylon guitar on track 9 & Red Skies - strings.

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Track Listing & Audio Samples

4 SWAN LK243

CD Notes & Credits

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1. Starfish (Catriona McKay)
This piece celebrates the new Starfish McKay harp. I collaborated with Starfish Designs in North Ballachulish, Scotland, to create a modern harp with amazing new possibilities. The harp has a unique tuning pattern and I'm mad about it! Find out more on my website.

2.  Forest Baby (Brian Finnegan, arr. Catriona McKay)
Brian Finnegan composed Forest Baby for his little niece Frida, the daughter of his anthropologist sister Morna who lived for a time in the Congo with a tribe of forest dwellers.Brian describes her as "a little miracle girl with the soul of a pygmy."

3.  Greenman (Catriona McKay)
A few trips to perform in Japan have allowed me to develop a love of green tea. I thought of this title having played The Greenland Man's tune for many years with fiddler Chris Stout, which we recorded on our duo CD Laebrack.

4.  Swan LK243 (Catriona McKay)
This was written in 1999 when as part of Fiddlers' Bid I raced in the Cuty Sark Tall Ships Race onboard the Swan LK243, built in Shetland in 1900. We were sailing as crew and musicians. The melody came to me when we were on deck having a tune whilst sailing by the south tip of Shetland in the low, warm coloured evening sun. It was almost as though the wooden deck of the Swan became an extended soundboard for the harp and it was a magical moment I wanted to keep with me. This tune has gone on to take it's own journey and has been played and recorded by wonderful musicians including Alasdair MacCuish, Fiddler's Bid, All Jigged Out and The Aquarelle Guitar Quartet.

5.  Cape of Good Hope (Catriona McKay)
Inspired by the travels of the courageous and inspirational sailor Ellen MacArthur. The title refers to the meeting point of the South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean.

6.  Sand Dollar (Catriona McKay)
I was performing at the Celtic Colours International Festival 2006 with Gaelic singer Mairi MacInnes, when I discovered the shell of a sand dollar on a beach in Cape Breton.

7.  Lums O'Lund [Ria's (Andrew Gifford), Lums O'Lund(Steven Spence), The Calgary Fiddlers Trip to Shetland(Andrew Giford), arr Catriona McKay]
A set of newly composed reels by two of my favourite tune writers and top Shetland fiddlers. Ria's and The Calgary Fiddlers Trip to Shetland were written by fellow Fiddlers' Bid member Andrew Gifford.

Lums O'Lund was written by Steven Spence from the UK's most northerly island of Unst. The house of Lund stands on top of a hill in Westing, Unst and has lums (chimneys) that are prominent figures on the skyline.

8.  Little Impulse (Little Impulse/Fechin Inn), (Brian Finnegan, arr. Catriona McKay)
Brian Finnegan wrote Little Impulse in the winter of 1994 whilst living in the beautiful and mysterious city of Budapest. He'd taken time out from playing music, but the heartbeat of Budapest plugged him back into life.

9.  Aval Moon (Catriona McKay)
The phrase Aval Moon is used to describe the moon when it's resting on its back.

10. Mareel (Catriona McKay & Alistair MacDonald)
I' ve been working with Alistair MacDonald for several years, exploring harp with his laptop wizardry. I first saw mareel (photosphorescence) when onboard the Swan LK243.

Catriona McKay - harp (Starfish McKay harp, tracks 1,3,6,7,10)
Donald Grant - fiddle
Fionan 'Fionomenal' De Barra - guitar
Matt Baker - double bass
Alistair MacDonald - laptop wizardry
Seamus Egan - nylon guitar on track 9

Red Skies - strings
Violin - Magnus Johnston, Gerald Gregory, Frances Grime, Catrin Morgan
Viola - Felix Tanner, Nancy Johnson
Cello - Eilidh Martin, Lucy Payne

Produced by Catriona McKay
Recorded by Stuart Hamilton at Castlesound Studio
Mastered by John Baker at Maja Audio Group
Mixed by Catriona McKay and Alistair MacDonald
String arrangements by Catriona McKay
Red Skies directed by Donald Grant
Harps made by Starfish Designs
Front cover and inset photo (right) by Louis DeCarlo

Design & image treatments by Robert Hakalski Visual Machinery


Album Information

Title:     Starfish
Artists: Catriona McKay
Instruments:     Harp + others
Genre: World / Scottish / Celtic
Format: CD
Our Ref: A0305
Label: Glimster Records
Year: 2007
Origin: UK