This recording was released a couple of days before the Glenfiddich and was made during lockdown by renowned Scottish multi-instrumentalist, Fraser Fifield. He also recorded, engineered and mastered it.

At first glance, the title would suggest this is a recording devoted to ceòl mòr. It isn’t. Fifield refers to the adjective not the genre. That said, I believe it is the first recording he has made that utilises ceòl mòr in this way.

And what is “this way” I hear you ask? Well, there are elements of jazz and improvisation plus sounds from other reed instruments. It all adds up to a very interesting recording. And an enjoyable one, too.

A young Fraser Fifield pictured in 1995. (Photo: Jeannie Campbell).

On this recording, Fifield treats the music with respect, sensitivity and affection. He has included improvisations on MacDougall’s Gathering, Lament for the Old Sword, Lament for Red Hector of the Battles and A Flame of Wrath. He has also created original pieces inspired by this music. Fifield calls on highland pipes, Border pipes, whistles, saxophones, clarinet and kaval to create new … well, soundscapes! There, I’ve said it!

I’ve listened to this recording a few times now, each time from start to finish. I particularly liked Fifield’s ominous and dark treatment of A Flame of Wrath, as well as his wistful Lament for the Old Sword. But, really, there isn’t a bad track on this recording. You will not hear any singing. But you will hear vocal music. Hear it. Breathe it. This recording is a breath of fresh air.

This is modern approach to traditional tunes. Listen with an open mind and you’ll enjoy it.

•  Piobaireachd / Pipe Music is available from Fraser’s website and from BandCamp.