Photo Coverage: Julie Fowlis, the voice of Disney's BRAVE, brings Gaelic concert to the U.S.
Julie Fowlis - Voice of Disney's Brave - in NYC Concert
Julie Fowlis opened her recent North American tour on Thursday, Oct. 10th at Kaufman Music Center's Merkin Hall and was sponsored in NYC by World Music Institute.
Best known in the U.S. as the singing voice of "Merida" in Disney's animated feature film BRAVE - this singer from Scotland is perhaps better known in the U.K., Ireland, & Europe as a standard bearer for Scottish Gaelic Language folk music brought to a contemporary music scene. She navigates a multi-lingual world while bringing up her own family as native speakers of Scots Gàidhlig.
Julie's concert features a trio of longtime collaborators. Celtic Trad musicians: Husband Éamon Doorley (Dublin) on guitar-bouzouki, Duncan Chisholm (Inverness) on fiddle, and Tony Byrne (Dublin) on guitar. Julie (North Uist, Outer Hebrides) herself sings lead vocals and plays whistle, shruti box, and pipes.
This group of artists turns both traditional and newer writ Gaelic songs into something modern and immensely easy to listen to and even sing along with (as she proved throughout the evening). They bring vibrancy and meaning to a traditional music and language.
Her concert features songs from her newest C.D. "Alterum" as well as music from "Brave" and earlier C.D. releases like "Cuilidh" and "Gach Sgeul".
For fans of the traditional Celtic sound, the show has plenty of jigs and reels and some impressive mouth music (a quick style of breathless singing used to underpin the rhythm of a dance tune) that starts the toes to tapping and elicits the Gaelic "whoops" and "hups" found in any good pub session or Cèilidh. Songs like "Hùg air a' bhonaid mhòir", "Fear à Dùin Mhòir", & "Fodor Dha Na Gamhna Beaga" proves the musical mastery of instrumentalists and vocalist and left the audience excitedly waiting to exhale!
Disney's inspiring "Touch The Sky" fits right in with these driving beats.
Ms. Fowlis voice particularly shines with wistful and contemplative folk ballads that bring the listener to understand why so many are moved by the Celtic music styles.
"Cadal Ciarach" was dedicated as a lullaby to her young daughters. "Camariñas" is a bi-lingual Gaelic/Galician ballad with a surprising Latin tinge proving that Romance Languages are not the only lingua romanza! "Windward Away", a rare tune in English (which on Julie's "Alterum" C.D. featured Mary Chapin Carpenter), was sung in honor of its Scottish songwriter Archie Fisher.
And a fantastic cover of The Beatle's "Blackbird" is sung with a Gàidhlig twist that makes one assume it must have always been this way.
The show closed, as any good "folk" show should, with a cover of an anti-war song dedicated to peace and cultural understanding. "Fuaim a' Bhlàir" (meaning "The Sound of War") was originally performed by the band Runrig with a rock&roll intensity. Julie Fowlis sings it as a plaintive plea leading into an insistent beat that left the audience on its feet and cheering rhythmically.
Cultural harmony wins the day. Let the bagpipes play!
Julie Fowlis' current North American tour plays through October 25th.
See site for dates & locations.
Photo Credit: Kevin Alvey
Kaufman Music Center's Merkin Hall
Gaby Sappington (W.M.I.)
Éamon Doorley, Julie Fowlis, Duncan Chisholm, Tony Byrne
Éamon Doorley, Julie Fowlis
Éamon Doorley, Julie Fowlis, Duncan Chisholm
Duncan Chisholm, Tony Byrne
Brian Keigher, Julie Fowlis, Gaby Sappington (W.M.I.)
Kevin Alvey, Julie Fowlis
Duncan Chisholm, Éamon Doorley, Julie Fowlis, Tony Byrne