Liz In Conversation With Iain Fraser on 18th March 2023
Use the player above to listen to the full interview
Join me on Saturday 18th March when I will be in conversation with Iain Fraser about his new Album Kōterana – which Iain will debut at the Neil Gow Festival on 19th March 2023 at 12:30 in Birnham Arts with Iain and artists such as, Pete Clark, Wendy Weatherby, Freya Rae, Sarah Wilson & others. Not to be missed. Album due for release on 14th April 2023
Scottish fiddler and fiddle teacher Iain Fraser’s captivating new album Kōterana exploring themes of faith and acceptance, and bringing together the history, heritage and music of four nations.
His new project is a development of this work, and sees the score split into 11 tracks and four separate sections. Each section contains music originally composed in the countries visited by Reverend McLeod and his people, and chronologically follows their emigration story from Scotland to Canada, Australia and eventually New Zealand.
As well as Clackmannanshire-born Iain Fraser on the fiddle, a host of international musical talent is featured on the album, including artists with strong links to Canada and New Zealand. Fiddle players Emilia Bartellas, from Canada,and Scotland’s Doug Dorward who both live in Ottawa, Canada-born fiddler Gillian Boucher who resides in New Zealand, and Anne-Marie Forsyth, who leads the Auckland Scottish Fiddle group, all played a significant role in bringing the record to life, adding the musical styles and techniques of their home countries, and creating an internationally collaborative body of work.
Iain Fraser said: “Norman McLeod’s decision to leave Ullapool came at a time when many were forced to leave the Highlands due to the ongoing clearances of land. The journey he and his congregation faced was both spiritual and physical, and it highlights the sheer desperation at that time. This group of people were forced to leave their homes, family members and everything they knew, and put all of their trust in the Church.
“The incredible tale has linked the nations of Scotland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand in history and heritage forever, and has been a huge source of inspiration for myself as an artist. Their story is one of grit and commitment, highlighting the true strength of faith.
“Thinking of the landscapes Reverend McLeod and his followers would have left behind, and what few objects they would have chosen to take with them, is what drove me to write this body of music. I wanted to celebrate the joining of four countries in one remarkable story, and shine a light on the heritage, beauty and musical traditions of each.”
The McLeod Story Norman McLeod was disaffected by the Church in Scotland and left, sailing from Ullapool to Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1817. After 3 years, he moved to St Ann’s and built a large congregation over a period of 30 years. By many reports, he was a man who was both respected and feared and some commentators draw a comparison with a typical clan chief of the time. He grew increasingly disappointed by what he saw as liberal tendencies moving into the area and, having received word from one of his sons that the prospects in Australia or New Zealand might be more suitable for his congregation, he suggested to them that they should move to a new land en masse. Ships were built and they set sail from St Ann’s in 1851, arriving in Adelaide after spending 164 days at sea. Unfortunately, their arrival in Australia coincided with the gold rush and they were forced to live in tents in an area of Melbourne known as Canvas Town due to the sudden dramatic increase in the city’s population. After a period of 2 years in crowded Australia, they eventually obtained land in New Zealand and settled in Waipu in 1854.
- Lochinver No More – Suilven – Achmelvich Beach
- Chagair Chagair Chagair a’ Ghruagach
- McLeod’s Sextant
- The Sunday Gathering
- Sandy Cameron – My Brother’s Letter
- From Capes Breton to Good Hope
- The Gazelle
- Canvas Town
- Litir bho Iain MacGilllosa a New Zealand
- Aotearoa – Reel of the Flying Fish
- Norman McLeod’s Welcome to Waipu – Celtic Waiata – Kiwi Reel