Published: 11/07/2014 08:28 - Updated: 08/07/2014 18:46

Kirsty Law - destination Ullapool

Kirsty Law. Picture: Mhairi Law
Kirsty Law. Picture: Mhairi Law

THE music of singer songwriter Kirsty Law has taken her on many journeys – her band plays Ullapool tonight (Friday).

But she didn’t have to travel far from her family’s home to the Borders studio where she’s recorded debut album, Shift.

"It’s actually in my own back garden!" laughed Kirsty.

"I’ve been working with Mattie Foulds – a really great producer.

"The place he uses for his studio belongs to my folks, so I’ve known him for a long time.

"I’ve lots of friends who recorded in his studio – I hadn’t and it was right there – so I felt it was my turn!"

The album will be out in the autumn.

But first Kirsty is taking part in the latest in a long list of collaborations with other artists and musicians.

She said: "On the album there is a track I’ve done with a guy called Drew Wright who sings under the name Wounded Knee.

"He’s a great songwriter, so we have co-written a track for the album, called Riddles.

"It’s made up of children’s rhymes I found in a book called Sandy Candy, a collection of children’s rhymes from all over Scotland. Some are only four lines long and there’s a little label saying where they’re from. Some of them are nonsense rhymes, some are little stories.

"So I got a few of them togther and we set them to a tune and they have some brilliant imagery, the kind you get from children!"

Working with Finnish artist Hanna Tuulikki on Away With The Birds/Air falbh leis na h-eòin, Kirsty will perform in August on a floating stage off the island of Canna as part of the Commonwealth Cultural Programme.

"It’s more contemporary a piece in five movements with nine female singers. Each movement represents a different bird and is made up of fragments of different Gaelic songs that imitate birds."

Though Kirsty confirms her Borders home is well inland and surrounded by hills, she’s more than at home with life on the water.

"My parents have always had boats, so I have grown up spending all my summers sailing around the Scottish islands and winters working on boats."

Kirsty has also been part of another international collaboration called Voyage.

"It’s still ongoing," said Kirsty. "We are performing at a storytelling festival in the Yorkshire Dales later this year.

"It was originally a commission to open the Scottish International Storytelling Festival last year with a multimedia collaboration.

"I worked with Ian Stephen the poet, storyteller and sailor from Stornoway, Christine Martin a visual artist and Giles Perring who is a msucian now based on Jura. He creates soundscapes and quite experimental work, including musical instruments he has made himself alongside guitars.

"We interweave all the different mediums, I might sing a song or accompany Ian with some vocal work while he is telling the story."

She’s also sailed a tall ship from Cherbourg to Kiel in Germany with a group of Scottish and Finnish artists and musicians

"We all went back to dry land – our studios, bedrooms, wherever we work, then came back with some art. I did an audio-visual piece taking a Finnish lullaby I’d recorded one of the women on the boat singing and combining it with a setting of a Robert Louis Stevenson poem from his Child’s Garden Of Verses."

Kirsty completed practical and academic studies in folk and traditional music for BMus at Newcastle University and enjoyed learning about the song of other cultures – with fellow students from all over the world.

But she was slightly surprised when she realised how much the Borders featured on her album.

"I didn’t set out intentionally to do it, but in retrospect I realised many of the songs I’d chosen were either Border ballads or songs I’d written specifically about aspects of life there!"

The Kirsty Law Band – with Rona Wikie and Marit Falk – plays the Ceilidh Place, Ullapool, tonight (Friday). For more on Kirsty: www.kirstylaw.com and Facebook.com/ kirstylawmusic

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