Published: 15/08/2014 17:29 - Updated: 15/08/2014 17:44

Murder is at the heart of new show

Rab Noakes and Kathleen MacInnes
Rab Noakes and Kathleen MacInnes

EAST meets west and traditional meets contemporary in a show that brings together those ever popular ballad topics of love and murder.

Representing the west is Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes, while the easterner in this new musical partnership is Rab Noakes, whose own musical career includes spells with Lindisfarne and an early version of Gerry Rafferty’s Stealer’s Wheel.

It was Amanda Millen, director of the goNorth creative arts festival, who first suggested the two singers get together at the regular Ceòl ‘s Craic club night in Glasgow.

"I’m always interested in collaboration and this seemed a particularly interesting one," Noakes said.

"Where the ‘Murder Ballads’ came in was that I sent Kathleen some stuff, just to introduce myself, and in amongst it was the old murder ballad, Down In The Willow Garden, which. I guess, is originally Irish, but I knew from the Everley Brothers.

"Kathleen liked that, so I suggested we put the murder ballad right at the heart of the show.

"The repertoire that Kathleen and I are using is quite wide-ranging. There are some songs that I’ve written in and there are others from various other areas. It doesn’t feel as if there are any great barriers."

The mix of Scots, Gaelic and more contemporary material is quite an unusual one, even for the performers themselves.

MacInnes has admitted that singing in English as well as Gaelic has been "a bit of a transition" for her, while Noakes is even trying to get his tongue round some Gaelic himself.

"I have joined in a couple of small pieces. I haven’t tackled anything with any complexity in terms of pronunciation, but it’s early days yet," he said.

Now that these particular music barriers have been broken down, we can expect more from this Fife-Uist partnership.

"I just love singing with her. She has a terrific voice," Noakes said.

"I would love to make a record with her. After that, it’s about trying to develop this as far as it will go. Apart from anything else, there’s the performance element as well. Kathleen is just so great to sing with and I think she’s enjoying that aspect as well.

"There’s quite a lot from us to get from each other. I like to think this is the early part of a collaboration which may develop into something quite substantial."

Rab Noakes and Kathleen MacInnes present Love and Murder Ballads at the OneTouch Theatre, Eden Court, on Sunday 17th August and the Ceilidh Place, Ullapool, a day later on Monday.

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