Voice, Electro, Metal and Carbon-fibre-strung Harp, Tuned Percussion
Best known for her pioneering work with the metal-strung clarsach and the fantastic Camac electro-harp, Mary Macmaster is also a fine singer of Gaelic and English language songs.During the last twenty years she has been at the forefront of the revival of the Scottish harp and has been an ambassador for Scottish music, touring throughout the world with Sileas, The Poozies and Donald Hay, a brilliant percussionist.
Mary has collaborated live and in the studio with many wonderful musicians including the Northumbrian pipe virtuoso Kathryn Tickell, English folk legend Norma Waterson and the amazing Sting. Mary’s influence on and contribution to the Scottish music scene and her role in the clarsach revival in recent decades has been recognised by the Scottish Music Hall of Fame (Hands Up for Trad / Saltire Society), into which she was inducted in 2013.
Sound clip: www.myspace.com/macmasterhay/music/songs
Album Review: Hook
Further evidence of the invention and originality of the Scottish folk scene is provided here by Mary Macmaster, a harpist with a cool, thoughtful style who can sing in both English and Scottish Gaelic, and Donald Hay, a percussionist who creates hypnotic and at times epic soundscapes through the subtle use of samples and effects. Their second album together is a collection of instrumentals, traditional and contemporary songs (four written by the duo) that show the harp’s versatility. This is a mostly reflective, low-key set, but with surprising variety. The instrumental pieces include an elegant treatment of Chris Wood’s Lusignac, with the harp matched against a shuffle of drums and dub bass effects, while the best of the self-composed songs, White Gate, matches a sturdy melody against throbbing bass for a quietly powerful reflection on the first world war. The theme is continued with an effective and original harp-and-samples reworking of Elvis Costello’s Shipbuilding.
Guardian, September 2013