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Capercaillie

The musical traditions of Scotland are fused with the dynamic drive and electronic instrumentation of contemporary music by Capercaillie (pronounced: Kap-ir-kay-lee). While their initial repertoire focused on traditional tunes collected from Christine Primrose, Flora MacNeill, and Na h'Oganaich, the group has increasingly incorporated modern influences. In a review of their 1999 album, To the Moon, Victor Arenas wrote, "It has been more than a decade of a constant evolution, of modeling their traditional past with those modern ingredients that have made of their music that for which no doubt they will be known in the future."

The inspiration for Capercaillie was sparked in the early '80s by high school friendsKaren Matheson (grand-daughter of traditional Scottish vocalist Elizabeth MacNeill and a former member of a folk group the Etives), and English-born/Scotland-raised keyboard player Donald Shaw. The original band included Scottish bodhran and whistle player Marc Duff (who had played in several bands with Shaw), fiddler and vocalist Joan MacLachlan, guitar and bouzouki player Shaun Craig, and bass and fiddle player Martin MacLeod. After building a reputation with local performances, the band recorded their debut album, Cascade, in a fast-paced, three-day recording session.

Capercaillie has gone through numerous personnel changes with only Matheson, Shaw, and Duff remaining from the original group. Shortly after British fiddler Charlie MacNeill replaced Elizabeth MacNeill in 1991, the band recorded their second album, Crosswinds, and embarked on their first American tour. Their earliest success came in 1988 with their commissioned soundtrack for a television series about the history of Gaelic Scots, The Blood Is Strong. A soundtrack album, introducing Irvine, Scotland-born bassist John Saich, sold more than 100,000 copies in Scotland and was reissued on CD in 1995.

With the addition of influential Irish bouzouki and guitar player and vocalist Manus Lunny in 1989, Capercaillie became one of Celtic music's most respected ensembles. At the same time, they continued to reach to a much larger audience. With their fourth album, Sidewaulk, produced by Lunny's brother Donal, the band began to incorporate English-language lyrics. The group reached their creative peak with their fifth album, Delirium, in 1991. A ground-breaking fusion of traditional and modern influences, the album included "Coisich a Ruin," a 400-year old song that became the first Scots Gaelic song to reach the U.K. Top 40 when it was used as the theme song for a British television show featuring Prince Charles, A Prince Among Islands, and "Breisleach," which featured lyrics by Edinburgh-based poet Angus Dudb (Black Angus), and became the theme song of a Gaelic-language soap opera Machair.

In 1992, Capercaillie released Get Out, featuring live tracks and tunes from earlier albums, and a video, Two Nights of Delirium, that captured the band's live performances. Although their albums Secret People, released in 1993, and Capercaillie, released the following year, featuring new tunes and remixed versions of earlier material, were highly criticized for their overly commercial sound. Capercaillie's soundtrack for the film, Rob Roy, was released in 1995, and the group rebounded with the impressive albums, To the Moon in 1996 and Beautiful Wasteland in 1997; Nadurra followed in 2000. ~ Craig Harris, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

just hang out and listen to this guy play bass!!
the.doktor
Gives me goosbumps!
awesome music :D
nice
woodsnwater1
Superb!
among the very best.
the bass player is a force to be reckoned with...
and they are so very fine...
truly you are correct...;)
@chalazon, truly it is not :) but I totally agree with you.
er..truely magnificent. . i think..spell i n g is not my forte..
these people are very deep..one of the truley quality groups we have the pleasure to listen to..Karen is magnificant
woodsnwater1
Great performance by this wonderfully talented group of Scottish artists!
Last review was a year ago, but we are still listening to our our favorite band.
marygrider
This is by far my favorite band! I am one happy American listening to this.
Listening this morning to my lovely and uplifting Capercaille friends.
February 1st is Imbolc - St. Brighits Day - the Celtic start of Spring.
I clean house the day before and then on the 1st I bake Irish Soda Bread, have it with butter from Ireland, drink Irish Breakfast tea and dance to the tunes of Capercaille, Karen Casey, Branwen, and more. Ah Spring!
Brilliant! Beautiful Wasteland is possibly their best album. Check out Runrig (In search of Angels)and Old Blind Dogs (Fit?) to round out your fix of Scottish music.
yaelli
Collin: I used to live in Austin, Texas. They have a Celtic festival every year I think and it was pretty good the year I went. I danced my buns off at this event. So if you have hunkerin' for some Celtic music around like minded invidivuals, give the Austin festival a shot.
Blood as green as the isle, but American born. I love this music. While the sound of bagpipes and flutes grates on everyone else's last nerve with the boodahron ( sp?) I tried learning Gaelic and it was nigh near frigging impossible. So I learned French instead. Figured why not. 1/4 frog hmm so 3/4 welsh 1/4 French do that make me a dry whiskey? :)
smokeyoke
Did very much like this..Wouldn ' t like it on a steady basis, but I did appreciate it's live fragrance... O k e ' < smokeyoke>
ivaldo6
Tha e gle mhath gu dearbh!
This band is fabulous!!! I've been listening to them for years, I'm from scotland so I'm kind of partial to them! I have heard "clandestine " before , they are quite good:o) I have their CD
GREAT BAND. COLLIN.PARKE R , THERE'S A BAND IN HOUSTON YOU'LL LIKE - CLANDESTINE.
twilight_ang e l 1 9 3 3
I'm the other way around, I like the Gaelic better than the English. I'm teaching myself Irish Gaelic right now, but Scots is just as cool. It's fun to sing in.
I bought my first Capercaillie when Crossroads came out. They just continue to get better and better. I listen to them in my car, at home and now online. I grew up listening to this music in Calgary and I miss it now that I am stuck in a country wasteland of Texas.
Although other Celtic groups may top my personal list, Capercaille is somewhere near the top and deservedly so. I can't believe someone hasn't written some kind word for the quality Celtic band (so I will). Thanks guys and gals! Admittedly, I am partial to those songs with english lyrics, but who could "dis" the Gaelic? They are very good, and worthy of positive comment!

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