Duncan Chisholm is a musician whose family roots lie steeped in the history of Glen Affric, Glen Cannich and Glen Strathfarrar.
In 2008 he set out to compose and arrange fiddle tunes that would form a trilogy of albums inspired by the varying landscapes surrounding the three glens of his forefathers. The award winning “Farrar” was the first in the trilogy.
Duncan explains, “The idea behind Farrar was to paint a musical picture of Glen Strathfarrar and in particular the mountain Beinn a Bha ach ard with its various stages of ascent and descent. I think landscape historically has played a huge part in the inspiration of the Scottish people and I don’t think it is too much of a coincidence that we live in one of the world’s most beautiful countries and our music is admired in equal measure.”
The second album in “The Strathglass Trilogy” is “Canaich” released in 2010. The Canaich album it is an imagined journey from the village of Cannich, up the glen past the township of Craskie. Past Carrie Loch on to the wild and unpredictable waters of Loch Mullardoch. In keeping with this journey the music on this album progressively gets darker and wilder.
Duncan always uses landscape to try to inspire his music and to try in turn to take the listener to a different place…. “I suppose the advantage of recording a forty minute album of instrumental music is that you are not confined by words and neither for that matter is your listener. It can be pure escapism for both the performer and audience, and I loved the idea of creating scenes for each individual piece, scene’s that for me made artistic sense. With a trilogy you also have the advantage of returning to and bringing back musical themes and although each album, being inspired by different landscapes will be very different and stand very much on their own, all three albums will be intertwined and make sense artistically. My family ties run deep in this area of the Highlands, I’m not only inspired by the landscape but also very much the history of my family and my people. My father was born in Glen Cannich at Cosac Lodge which ended up submerged in water when Mullardoch was dammed in 1951, Loch Lungard and Loch Mullardoch became one loch then when their height was raised by about 100 feet, leaving a very dark and very dangerous stretch of water. In fact my great grandmother who had spent all of her life in either Glen Affric or Glen Cannich was so appalled by what had happened to her home she just couldn’t bare to visit Mullardoch again after 1951, until her death in 1967.”
The next and final chapter of the trilogy remains unwritten as yet. “The final album will bring everything together, it will be released in a few years time. It will be a very important piece of work for me so like the other two albums I am going to take my time with it and craft it carefully.”
Footnote: Affric, the final part of the Strathglass Trilogy was released on 3rd September 2012.
Farrar (released 2008 Copperfish Records), Canaich (released 2010 Copperfish Records), Affric (released 2012 Copperfish Records)
For further information / contact details / previous recordings please visit Duncan's website.