Dàimh – Gaelic Supergroup and un-challenged champions of straight in the eye Highland music are based around West Lochaber and the Isle of Skye. Formed around the turn of the century and taking the name from the Gaelic word for “kinship” Dàimh (pronounced Dive) have taken their contemporary take of Highland and Gaelic music to over 20 countries, setting audiences alight from Moscow to San Francisco.
A long-established favourite at folk festivals in Scotland, Ireland and across Europe, 2014 saw the group win the “Eiserner Eversteiner” European Folk Music Award in the 23nd German Folkherbst competition. Recent accolades include last year’s award for the “Best Folk Band in Europe” at the prestigious Folkherbst competition in Germany and most recently winner of “Folk Band of the Year” at the 2015 Scottish Traditional Music Awards.
From pyrotechnic jigs and reels to achingly poignant ballads, they run the full expressive gamut of folk music at its best, and are justly renowned for their thrilling live shows. Dàimh have released 5 studio albums to date. Their most recent; Tuneship once again sees the band blazing a new trail in the Scottish music scene with their own instrumental compositions skillfully integrated with traditional Gaelic Songs.
With a reputation as giants of the Bagpipes and Fiddle, Angus Mackenzie and Gabe McVarish lead the melodic powerhouse with fellow founder member Ross Martin underpinning the groove on the Guitar. The Band are joined by “new guy” Murdo “Yogi” Cameron on Mandola and Accordion to complete the instrumental line up.
Dàimh have always had the renown and notoriety of working with some of the finest Gaelic singers in Scotland and the current line up only serves to cement that distinction with the addition of the Gaelic firmament’s most rapidly rising star, Ellen MacDonald on vocals.
Angus MacKenzie – pipes/whistle
Angus MacKenzie (pipes/whistle) is a native Gaelic speaker from the musically rich area of Mabou, Cape Breton Island on Canada’s east coast. His father emigrated from South Uist in the Western Isles to Canada, while his mother’s people are descended from the early settlers know as the Mabou Pioneers, who left from Lochaber. Angus came to Scotland to study at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, the Gaelic College on the Isle of Skye where he still lives today.
The eldest of three brothers in a famous musical family, Angus and his fiddle-playing sibling Kenneth have recently released a much-anticipated album, Pìob is Fidheall. The album explores the long and deep connection the pipes and fiddle have within the Scottish tradition.
Ellen MacDonald – vocals
Widely tipped as the most exciting thing to happen to Gaelic song since the invention of the Ceilidh, Ellen MacDonald is fast finding a flock of fans and followers with her natural, smoky voice and individual interpretation of songs covering the full emotional spectrum of the Gael. Born and raised in Inverness with strong maternal ties to the language and songs of North Uist and Scalpay, Ellen studied at Scotland’s only dedicated Gaelic language college, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on the the Isle of Skye. Ellen’s acting skills have seen her nominated for ‘Best Performance’ at the FilmG awards for her role in a Gaelic short film ‘Briste’ and landing a key role in the BBC’s new Gaelic drama “Bannan”.
Gabe McVarish – fiddle
Gabe McVarish (fiddle) grew up in North California, where his family settled after emigrating from Morar via British Columbia and Prince Edward Island on Canada’s East Coast.
Gabe arrived in Scotland at the age of 17 on a Fiddle scholarship with the legendary Aonghas Grant in Fort William. Deciding to stay in the area, he moved to Morar only to discover that it was the village his great-great-grandfather had departed for the New World. It remains the only MacVarish enclave in the country.
2010 saw the release of Gabe’s solo album Eclection a culmination of fiddle styles and repertoire from every side of both the Atlantic and the Irish Sea, and his love of the traditional music of the Celtic Diaspora shines throughout.
Ross Martin – guitar
Ross Martin (guitar) is from Arisaig though now lives in neighbouring Morar. A fisherman from early teens until his twenties, Ross has gone on to tour most of Europe and the U.S. with Irish singer Karan Casey and Buille, featuring the Vallely brothers from Armagh.
Recent recorded projects include Dual, a collaborative exploration of traditional Gaelic music of Scotland and Ireland by Julie Fowlis and Muireann Nic Amhlaoimh accompanied by Ross and Eamon Doorley.
Murdo Cameron – mandola, accordion
Murdo Cameron: Mandola/Mandolin/Accordion
Murdo comes from a long line of traditional Gaelic singers and was immersed in music growing up Glenelg, a wee village a stones throw across from the Isle of Skye, famous for being twinned with Mars. A member of the Mountain Rescue, Murdo started out as an accordion player and piper, who in the last few years has been a busy guitar accompanist and stringed things enthusiast.
This is a great Gaelic band and definitely worthy of the title Gaelic Super Group.
BRIGHT YOUNG FOLK
Dàimh have carved a reputation from the bedrock of Gaelic culture… authentic Gaelic music with a modern edge and a magnificent range of expression. This could be one of the best Scottish releases of 2014. FOLKWORLD