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Ralph Ballard & Morgan McKay | Celtic Dreaming

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Folk: Celtic Folk Folk: Celtic Folk Moods: Instrumental
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Celtic Dreaming

by Ralph Ballard & Morgan McKay

Celtic Featuring Bagpipes, Guitar, and Whistle. An assortment of Scottish and Irish tunes and songs.
Genre: Folk: Celtic Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Over the Hills and Far Away (feat. Morgan McKay)
Ralph Ballard
2:36 $0.99
2. Lament for Duncan MacRae / March of the King of Laoise (feat. Morgan McKay)
Ralph Ballard
5:35 $0.99
3. My Home
Ralph Ballard
2:30 $0.99
4. Elsey's Waltz (feat. Morgan McKay)
Ralph Ballard
1:34 $0.99
5. The Laird of Udny Wa's
Morgan McKay
2:00 $0.99
6. Sleep Dearie Sleep / My Love Is a Fair Lad / Atholl Highlanders (feat. Morgan McKay)
Ralph Ballard
5:28 $0.99
7. Kilworth Hills / Scottish Soldier /When the Battle's O'er (feat. Morgan McKay)
Ralph Ballard
3:37 $0.99
8. The Masacer of Glencoe
Ralph Ballard
2:43 $0.99
9. Miss McLoud's Reel
Morgan McKay
1:14 $0.99
10. Ye Banks and Braes
Morgan McKay
2:19 $0.99
11. MacKinnons Lament
Ralph Ballard
2:45 $0.99
12. After the Battle of Aughrim (feat. Morgan McKay)
Ralph Ballard
1:57 $0.99
13. Shamrock Shore /Those Endearing Young Charms (feat. Morgan McKay)
Ralph Ballard
3:06 $0.99
14. A Man's a Man / Teribus /Jenny"S Bawbee (feat. Morgan McKay)
Ralph Ballard
3:13 $0.99
15. The Unjust Incarceration
Ralph Ballard
3:22 $0.99
16. Buy Broom Bissom
Morgan McKay
2:18 $0.99
17. Rowan Tree / Scotland the Brave (feat. Morgan McKay)
Ralph Ballard
2:24 $0.99
18. Amazing Grace / Lord of the Dance /Liverpool Hornpipe (feat. Morgan McKay)
Ralph Ballard
4:27 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

On the CD we generally play on Scottish smallpipes in A and on guitar, unless otherwise noted.
Track 1 – Over The Hills And Far Away
An old song from the British Isles – probably from the 17th century. Our favoured version is that it was a tune used by James Graham, 2nd Marquess of Montrose, for recruiting soldiers for the army in 1660.
Track 2 – Lament for Duncan MacRae / March of the King of Laoise
Two versions of the same tune from either side of the Irish Sea.
The first tune is a short piobaireachd from Scotland titled “Lament for Duncan MacRae of Kintail'. Duncan MacRae was the 9th chieftain of Clan MacRae and died in 1704. It may have been composed shortly after his death. However the simple structure of the tune suggests it may be on an older tune given a new name – it may originally have dated from the 1500's or early 1600's.
Piobaireachd is the classic music of the Great Highland Bagpipes and consists of a slow theme (called the Ground or Urlar) followed by a series of variations, both melodic and rhythmic, until the theme returns to round things off. The earliest piobaireachds date back to the 1400's, although most tunes were written in the late 1500's to mid-1700's by leading pipers in the Western regions of the Scottish Highlands and the Isles.
The second piece is a well known tune “The March of the King of Laoise” - also a very old tune, from Laois in the midlands of Ireland. The tune honours Rory O'Moore, King of Laois, who fought against English colonisation of Ireland in the late 1500's.
Scottish piper and scholar Allan MacDonald recently made the connection between these two tunes.
Track 3 – My Home
A beautiful old Scottish tune for the Great Highland Bagpipes.
Here it is played on Scottish smallpipes in A.
Track 4 – Elsey's Waltz
A modern waltz written by the Northumbrian fiddler & piper Archie Dagg (1899–1991).
Played on the whistle in G and guitar.
Track 5 – The Laird of Udney Wa's
This traditional Scottish song is the story of the Laird of Udny (near Aberdeen). He decides to visit his beloved but gets so drunk before leaving he keeps falling off his horse. When he gets there he has to oil the door to stop it creaking in case it wakes the old women. He eventually gains entrance!
A fun song. Morgan learned it from the singing of Archie Fisher.
Track 6 – Sleep Dearie Sleep / My Love Is A Fair Lad / Atholl Highlanders
A set of Scottish tunes in 6/8 rhythm.
The first is a lovely old slow air which is played as a lament at funerals or as the “Lights Out” call in several Scottish regiments of the British Army. One version of the story is that it was a lullaby sung by a mother to her infant child. Another more poignant version is that it was the song of a woman cradling her dying husband in her arms.
The second tune My Love Is A Fair Lad is an old pipe march from the collection of Pipe Major Uilleam Ross, piper to Queen Victoria (published in 1869).
The third tune is a rousing jig. The Atholl Highlanders are a ceremonial regiment in the private employ of the Duke of Atholl at Blair Castle in Scotland. They were first formed in 1777 by the Duke of Atholl for service in the American war, then disbanded in 1783. In 1839 the regiment was resurrected as a ceremonial bodyguard for the Dukes of Atholl and for the British Crown.
Track 7 – Kilworth Hills / Scottish Soldier / When The Battle Is Over
Three Scottish retreat marches in ¾ time, played on Scottish smallpipes in C and guitar.
These tunes are played at the end of the day when the regiment is returning to barracks in the ceremony known as “Beating The Retreat”.
It has nothing to do with running away from a losing battle!
The first tune “Kilworth Hills” was written by one of the great composers of music for the bagpipes, Pipe Major G.S. McLennan (1883-1927). This may have been the first pipe tune composed by McLennan in 1899, and is a favourite of pipers.
“Scottish Soldier” is also known as “The Green Hills Of Tyrol”. The tune was first written by piper John MacLeod in the Crimean War, based on a melody from Rossini's opera “William Tell”. Singer Andy Stewart later turned the pipe tune into a popular song known as “A Scottish Soldier”.
The tune “When The Battle's O'er” says it all - back to camp after a successful day on the battlefield.
Track 8 – The Massacre of Glencoe
Here the theme of the piobaireachd is played on the Great Highland Bagpipes.
The tune commemorates the massacre of a number of members of the MacDonald clan living at Glencoe in 1692 when their guests, soldiers from the British army (many of them Campbells) turned on their hosts and murdered them as they slept. Other MacDonalds were driven out into the snow to freeze to death. It is thought that the British Crown ultimately gave the order for this atrocity in order to try to bring the Jacobite Highland clans into line. It failed to do so. Instead it is a rallying point for Highlanders, especially MacDonalds, to this day.
The tune was probably composed by Henderson, piper to MacDonald of Glencoe, shortly after the massacre.
Ralph shares MacDonald ancestry – through Ann MacDonald of Mull, the wife of his great great grandfather Lachlan MacKinnon.

Track 9 – Miss McLoud's Reel
A classic Scottish reel for dancing. Also known to pipers as Mrs. MacLeod of Raasay.
Played here by Morgan on guitar.
Track 10 – Ye Banks and Braes
A lovely old Robert Burns song of broken promise.
Morgan thinks of it as a woman’s song because of the line which says “But my false lover stole my rose, but ah! He left the thorn wi’ me”.
In other words the woman was left deserted and pregnant.
The tune of the song is the melody called “The Caledonian Hunt's Delight” and was written by Mr. James Millar of Edinburgh.
Robbie Burns added the words in 1791.
Track 11 – MacKinnon's Lament
A piobaireachd honouring Ralph's MacKinnon ancestry. The tune is found in only one written source – the manuscript “Colin Campbell's Instrumental Book 1797”. The author, Colin Mor Campbell of Nether Lorn, was piper to the Campbell laird, the Earl of Breadalbane, at Ardmaddy in Argyllshire.
This document is also known as “The Nether Lorn Manuscript” and is a prized early written record from the late 1700's of a number of classic piobaireachd. It is now housed in the National Library of Scotland, and is written in vocables not staff notation.
On the CD the tune's theme (or Urlar - the gaelic name) is played on the Scottish smallpipes in A. It has a deep and powerful mourning quality.
Track 12 – After the Battle of Aughrim
An old Irish march lamenting the fate of the Irish soldiers at the Battle of Aughrim in Ireland. The Irish Jacobites were attempting to fight off the troops of the English Crown in 1691, but were routed by the English at this battle. The slaughter effectively ended the Jacobite cause in Ireland.
Here we play the tune on guitar and low whistle in D.
Track 13 – Shamrock Shore / Those Endearing Young Charms
The first tune is an old nostalgic emigrant song lamenting the lost shores of Ireland.
The second tune is known on both sides of the Irish Sea – in Ireland it is called “Those Endearing Young Charms” and in Scotland it is known as “My Lodging's On The Cold Cold Ground”.
The tunes are played on Scottish smallpipes in C and guitar.
Track 14 – A Man's A Man / Teribus / Highland Laddie / Jenny's Bawbee
Four wonderful old Scottish regimental 2/4 marches.
These tunes were originally adapted from popular songs.

The first tune “A Man's A Man For All That” is by Scotland's national poet Robbie Burns.
The second tune “Teribus” is the rallying call for the men of the town of Hawick, on the Scottish Borders.
“Highland Laddie” of course refers to Bonnie Prince Charlie.
“Jenny's Bawbee” is about a lady's coin – equivalent to a Scots sixpence, or an English halfpenny. In the early 1800's the poet Sir Alexander Boswell used the term “Jennie's Bawbee” in a song he wrote, to refer to a woman's marriage dowry.
Track 15 – The Unjust Incarceration
One of the great piobaireachd compositions.
The piece was written by the blind piper Iain Dall MacKay (1656-1754).
It tells the story of the imprisonment of Neil, 8th chief of the MacKays of Strathnaver, by King James I of Scotland in 1427. King James had called a “parliament” of a number of leading Highland chiefs who he felt were rivals. As the guests arrived, the king had a number of the chiefs ruthlessly murdered, and others were imprisoned. Neil MacKay was one such unlucky chief.
Neil was taken to the Bass Rock – an isolated island prison off the coast of East Lothian. He spent nine years in unjust captivity, and only escaped after King James I was murdered on the orders of surviving rival clan chiefs. Perhaps ironic justice for the King's outrageous behaviour.
Neil was later able to claim his position as chief of Clan MacKay.
The first line (repeated) is said to show the prisoner lamenting his fate.
The second line portrays a glimmer of hope of rescue.
The third line depicts the prisoner's protest and anger, and dwells round the High G note of the bagpipes – a note which is said to portray loss and sorrow. The tune ends with the prisoner sinking back subdued.
The theme (Urlar) is played on the Great Highland Bagpipes.
Track 16 – By Broom Bissom
This is the song of a street-seller selling his besoms and such like, who is looking for a wife.
Besom or bissom in the Scots dialect is the name for a broom, an implement for sweeping.
There is a double entendre in the song as the word besom was also a derogatory term for a woman of “loose or slovenly habits”.
A somewhat cheeky song.
Morgan learned it from the singing of Ewan McColl.
Track 17 – Rowan Tree / Scotland The Brave
Two classic 4/4 marches favoured by pipe bands.
Imagine a pipe band approaching from the distance, coming up the street until they are right in front of you. And there you are.

Track 18 – Amazing Grace / Lord of the Dance / Liverpool Hornpipe
Three great tunes to conclude our CD.
“Amazing Grace” is a well known hymn tune. What is not so well known is that it was written by John Newton, captain of an English slave ship, after he repented of his sins and turned to God, becoming a clergyman. The popularity of the hymn played a significant part in the eventual ending of slavery throughout the British Empire in 1833.
“Lord Of The Dance” is a great old hornpipe common to both Ireland and Scotland.
“The Liverpool Hornpipe” is another fine old tune, also known as “The 78th Walk Around”.
The 78th Regiment of the British Army was a Highland regiment raised in the late 1700's for service in the Napoleonic Wars. They later served with distinction in battles in South Africa and India.
In 1881 they were amalgamated with the 72nd Highlanders to form the 2nd battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders regiment.

We wish you much enjoyment of our music.

Morgan McKay – vocals and guitar. Morgan plays his own hand-made guitars.

Ralph Ballard – smallpipes, great highland bagpipe, and whistles.
Smallpipes played (made of African blackwood) are:
John Walsh mouth-blown smallpipes in A
Fred Morrison mouth-blown smallpipes in A, made by McCallum Bagpipes
R.T Shepherd & Son mouth-blown smallpipes in C
The Great Highland Bagpipe was made by Roddy MacLellan of MacLellan Bagpipes. It's design is based on an 1880's set of Henderson bagpipes, and is made of cocobolo wood with mounts of Ceylon satinwood, bronze and engraved sterling silver.
The RJM bagpipe chanter was made by David Naill & Co. Ltd. Bagpipe Makers under the guidance of expert piper Roddy MacLeod MBE.
Whistles made by Tony Dixon.



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