CD A0347: Cairn Water

Cairn Water

CD cover"Ceolbeg stands at the crossroads between traditional and contemporary music. It matters little which fork they take, the results are stunning." SING OUT! [USA] "genuinely rare and beautiful ... the sheer breadth of dynamics is a joy" Q MAGAZINE

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Ceolbeg: profile & index of recordings

Track Listing & Audio Samples

Cairn Water

1.  Cantabrian Jig
2.  Shoals of Herring
3.  Cairn Water
4.  Working Shifts
5.  The Scottish Branle
6.  Eppie Moray
7.  Oh, Were I on Parnassus' Hill
8.  Drumchorrie
9.  'Return of the Bunny'
10. To Each and Every One of You
11. "Reels"
12. Like Another Rolling Stone

CD Notes

CD Sleeve Notes

1.  Cantabrian Jig (trad)
     Billy Forsyth's Dancing Shoes(R.S. MacDonald/MCPS & PRS)
Wendy learnt this traditional "Walking melody" fromthe playing of Luetiga, one of the foremost bands in the revival of traditional music in Cantabria, a region in the centre of the north coast of Spain every bit as rich in music as its better known neighbours, Asturias and Galicia. It is followed by a jig written by one of the most prolific composers on the piping scene today, Roddy MacDonald of Benbecula.

2.  Shoals of Herring (Ewan McColl/ Harmony Music)
The power of Ewan McColl's writing comes through as clearly now as it did in the sixties. But, as the Herring itself now vanishes from our seas, there is an added poignancy which, Rod feels, revives this song 40 years later.

3.  Cairn Water (Wendy Stewart published Grian Music)
The river in question borders the garden of Wendy's home in Dumfriesshire, meandering between tree-covered island before heading south to join the Nith. The tune just seemed to flow from the water itself one hot summer's day.

4.  Working Shifts (Gary West & Colin Matheson published Grian Music)
This piece was composed in response to a challenge set by Rod in "Le Fagot" pub near Ingelmunster in Belgium: how many key signatures can be accommodated by the nine notes from G minor to Ab, Bb, and C minor. Eb would be possible too, but we arrived home before we got that far.

5.  The Scottish Branle (trad)
     Herald of Bores (Andy Hornby published Grian Music)
Originally French dance tunes of the Renaissance, these two Scottish branles (pronounced 'brawls') have been somewhat speeded up from their original courtly pace as taught to Wendy by wire-strung harp player Bill Taylor. Their idiosyncracic arrangement leads into Herald of Bores, written by Lancaster's renaissance man himself - Andy Hornby. The puzzling name of the tune comes from the title bestowed on the poor fellow who in the 1900s was paid to stand at the mouth of the River Kent at Arnside on Morecambe Bay and ring a bell to warn the local populace of the onrushing tidal bore!

6.  Eppie Moray (trad)
The vintage of this ballad is unknown, other than it being post-Reformation. It is however the sexual politicts in the storyline which sets it apart from traditional ballad values. Judge for yourself!

7.  Oh, Were I on Parnassus' Hill (Words robert Burns/Pub. Dom./Tune Trad)
Robert Burns' words, originally set to a tune of Oswald, here married to the melody of the beautiful Gaelic song 'An cluinn thu mi mo nighean donn?'(Will you listen to me, my brown haired girl?) learned by Wendy from the singer/accordionist Charlie MacLeod. The original of the tune is unclear, but the Gaelic words by Henry Whyte of Easdale (1852-1913)describe the feelings of an older man for his young love. This reflects Burns' luxuriant praise - full of Greek allusions - for his love Jean Armour who at the time was still living in Ayrshire. The poem was written in 1788 at Ellisand on the banks of the Nith : Corsincon refers to Corse Hill (at the head of Scaur Glen) which is visible from both Ellisland and Ayrshire.

8.  Drumchorrie (Gary West/published Grian Music)
Composed in memory of the young brothers, Donald and Johnny MacDonald, school friends of Gary, who died tragically in separate accidents in their 20's. This tune is dedicated to all at the family home overlooking Pitlochry, Drumchorrie Cottage.

9.  'Return of the Bunny'
     Angus MacKenzie of Dumbarton (Colin McPhedran/Pub. E.M.I.Music)
     Not the Bunnyhop (Neil Dickie/Pub. Isa Music)
Neil Dickie's syncopated jig has been a favourite of the band for several years now, although we realised that it has evolved considerably since we recorded it on the first album. So here's the reincarnated version, preceded by a hornpipe made popular a decade ago by the Vale of Atho;; Pipe Band.

10. To Each and Every One of You (Gerry Rafferty/Logo Songs)
Gerry Rafferty wrote this song post-Humblebums and pre-Baker St. It cropped up regularly in sessions in the early to mid 7o's, before dying a natural death. But you can't keep a good pop song down.

11. "Reels"
      The Congress Reel (trad)
      Elizabeth's Big Coast (trad)
      The Champion of the Seas (trad)
      Jack Daniels (trad)
Four traditional reels from both sides of the Atlantic. The Champion of the seas is the pipe setting of the well-known dance band tune, The Boys of Blue Hill.

12. Like Another Rolling Stone (Michael Marra/B.A.T.Music)
Michael Marra never writes a song without good reason. In this case the list of bric-a-brac in the chorus was taken from a critique by Seamus Heaney of G K Chesterton's failure to provide his readership with anything more life-enhancing than wit and style (we think)

CD Credits

CD Credits

There are many who we are grateful to, in the production of this recording, but there are always some whome we would especially like to thank. They are Dave and Moira Gray, at Sound Cafe; Andy Hornby for letting us abuse their neighbours; John Weatherby for his continued emergency sound engineering over the years; Ian and June Green for their continued faith and finance and those whose tolerance and support enables us to do "this sort of thing" anyway, namely Diane Fafalios, Stephanie Harrison, Allan James, Wendy Murray, Catriona Rioch and Wendy Deans.

Front Cover Photo:Pinhole Productions/Still Moving Picture Company
Band Photo:Douglas Gibb
Sleeve Design: MAD Design


Peter Boond - flute, whistle, cittern, vocals
Colin Matheson - keyboards, guitar, accordion, vocals
Rod Paterson - guitar, lead vocals
Wendy Stewart - Electric harp, clarsach, concertina, lead vocals
Mike Travis - Great Highland War Pipe, Small Pipes, Whistles, vocals.


Cockenzie Business Centre
Edinburgh Road
East Lothian
EH32 0XL email:

© 1999 Greentrax Recordings Ltd

Album Information

Title: Cairn Water
Artist: Ceolbeg
Genre: Traditional / Scottish
Format: CD
Our Ref: A0347
Label: Greentrax Recording Ltd
Year: 1999
Origin: Scotland (EU)