ALYTH MCCORMACK

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Alyth McCormack

Biography

Alyth McCormack (Biographical Notes, 2005)

Alyth is one of today’s most exciting new talents in the world of Gaelic song. Born and raised on the Isle of Lewis, Alyth was immersed in the music, poetry and drama of her native Scottish Western Isles from a very early age. Although aware of the long tradition in all things Gaelic, McCormack understands that within the tradition there is and must be a constant transition for the Gaelic language, culture and heritage to survive. With this in mind, she recorded her debut album An Iomall (The Edge). “This recording began a long time ago in my mind. I come from the Island of Lewis and loved being raised there. Lewis is exposed and weather torn and this is evident in its culture, but it is also beautiful and compelling. In this album I wanted to express these extremes which are also inherent in Gaelic song and Gaelic culture. The songs stand alone, so to work with them I chose a careful approach. Changing musical styles from arrangements but don’t always remain true to the spirit or beauty of the original. I have listened to the stories of these songs, and with these musicians, have interpreted them. The response is honest: the songs remain timeless.” In her relatively short professional career, Alyth has sung in clubs and at festivals from the Arctic Circle to Italy, Germany and Canada before ending up with her own band at last year’s Edinburgh Festival and receiving great reviews.


Alyth McCormack is 'the voice at the leading edge of gaelic song'. Raised amidst the Gaelic singing of the Island of Lewis, in the Scottish Outer Hebrides Alyth McCormack began singing when she was very young. Many of Alyth's songs are in Gaelic, the language of her native Isle of Lewis, but her thoughtful arrangements and her subtle, intimate delivery speaks volumes in itself.
With voice described as 'sublimely sweet', and music that is 'transcendentally timeless and effortlessly contemporary' combined with the uncomplicated conviction with which she communicates with her audiences have ensured that Alyth is one of the most exciting singers on the Celtic scene.


Alyth mccormack
'the voice at the leading edge of gaelic song'
Alyth McCormack was brought up amidst the Gaelic singing of the Island of Lewis, in the Scottish Outer Hebrides. She began singing when she was very young and, having been immersed in this culture, decided to study music. She went to college in both Edinburgh and Glasgow and in 1994 graduated from the RSAMD with a degree in Music Performance.
'a voice of such heavenly purity . . . '
The years that followed were spent touring Britain and Europe with various bands. She then began to experiment with other musical genre and to develop the style of Gaelic music she now performs. In 1998 she was invited to Canada to represent Scottish Gaelic for the CBC/BBC television production 'Celtic Electric'. Further television appearances include the BAFTA award winning 'Tacsi' as a solo artist in 1999 and 2000, a Scottish/Irish production for 'Tele nan Gaidhlig' and 'Togaidh sinn fonn'.
'. . . yet tinged with worldly sadness'
She has appeared solo on the German Scottish Folk Festival Tour (Jan'00), at Celtic Connections (Jan'01), the Hebridean Celtic Festival (July'99) and Kaustinen Folk Festival (July'99), the Highland Festival(Jun'00) and also The Edinburgh Festival 2000. This year she will be touring with 'Shine' in Greece, England on Folkworks' 'Sharper than the Thorn' tour, Italy, The Highland Festival, Spain & The West End Festival in Glasgow.

Brief biography (Courtesy of Vertical Records, 2005)

Alyth is one of today's most exciting talents in the world of Gaelic song. As well as her solo career she is known for her work with all-girl trio Shine alongside Mary McMaster and Corrina Hewat.

Born and raised on the Isle of Lewis, Alyth was immersed in the music, poetry and drama of her native Scottish Western Isles from a very early age. Although aware of the long tradition in all things Gaelic, McCormack understands that within the tradition there is and must be a constant transition for the Gaelic language, culture and heritage to survive. With this in mind, she recorded her debut album An Iomall (The Edge).

Alyth began singing when she was very young and, having been immersed in this culture, decided to study music. She went to college in both Edinburgh and Glasgow and in 1994 graduated from the RSAMD with a degree in Music Performance. The years that followed were spent touring Britain and Europe with various bands. She then began to experiment with other musical genre and to develop the style of Gaelic music she now performs. In 1998 she was invited to Canada to represent Scottish Gaelic for the CBC/BBC television production 'Celtic Electric'. Further television appearances include the BAFTA award winning 'Tacsi' as a solo artist in 1999 and 2000, a Scottish/Irish production for 'Tele nan Gaidhlig' and 'Togaidh sinn fonn'.

While busy collaborating with musicians Alyth has also written some lyrics and melodies for the project 'The Colour of Memory' with Alasdair Joss and Julia Dow, which was released on Iona Records. Their album 'The Old Man and the Sea' received great acclaim.

She has worked in the theatre in the following productions: Scottish Ballet's `Esprit'; 'The Selkie' (Dance Productions); Tosg's 'Beul nam Breug' and the highly acclaimed `The Captain`s Collection'. A play about the life and collection of fiddles tunes of Captain Simon Fraser of Knockie, written by Hamish Macdonald and directed by Alison Peebles. Alyth has been acting professionally since 1998.

"the most glittering Jewel in the Highland Festival crown" Highland News

"Nothing short of riveting was Gaelic singer Alyth McCormack, whose voice soared from the outset in a beautifully poised sequence of mainly Gaelic material, couched in eloquently spare acompaniments from Aidan O'Rourke on fiddle ( who also sat in with the McGoldrick outfit for a full spate version of The Little Cascade), pianist Davey Troiuton and Ewen Vernal on double bass. This was polished and engaging stuff, McCormack's seemingly effortless singing ranging across the minimalist backdrop to generate some irresistable music tensions. They threw in some atmosphere - coloured spotlights, wraiths of dry ice drifting about - but such effects were made virtually redundant by the quality of music and song." Jim Gilchrist, The Scotsman


You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.

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