Friday, November 25, 2011

Julie Fowlis Brings Ancient Scotland To The Masses

Julie Fowlis is a true Scottish lass with a voice of an angel. Embracing Gaelic culture and music with a passion, Fowlis is a native of the Scottish island town of North Uist. Through here community there, she learned that her fellow residents valued the songs of their native culture and were connected to their history through it. As a young woman, she brought Uist's songs first to Scotland as a whole and then to the rest of the world. Now, exploring the role of official Gaelic Ambassador, university fellow, and world traveler, Fowlis has taken her music with her to help spread the mystery and magic of her homeland and the unique culture that goes along with it. Her latest album, Uam is a testament to that exploration and further respect of the culture that helped her become who she is.

Uam is traditional folk music in the way that the Gaels wrote it eons ago. It's stunningly gorgeous and hypnotizingly well done and Julie Fowlis' voice is absolutely heavenly. Uam is the sort of record that will have you booking a trip to the Highlands by about the third song and wanting to move there permanently by the end. This is an album that consists of songs that were conceived and sung with a constant awareness of Gaelic tradition and lore. These are songs of daily life and the trials and tribulations that go along with that culture from an earlier time. From simple things like a song about milking cows to heart tugging ballads listening to Uam is almost like a quick course in ancient history with a modern twist.

While most of the songs that make up Uam are actually sung in Gaelic and I have no idea what she's saying, I can't say enough about how lilting and beautiful Julie Fowlis' voice is despite the language barrier. Her quiet but powerful vocal stylings will hit home be it here or in her native Scotland and while Uam does feature her first song in English (with Eddie Reader) it's really her traditional arrangements and songs that suck you in. Much of Uam is like being transported back in time to a simpler and traditional era where this music was a way of life. It's an era I long for and this record gives me goosebumps because I would just about do anything to be in the Highlands at any point in history. I love this record and if you love Celtic or Gaelic music you will as well.

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