Oban-born Kim Carnie has been honing her craft for years, teasing her talent and building towards a much-desired album. And So We Gather sees this desire more than satiated, and with greater sublimity than one could’ve expected.
With its roots sprawling across Scotland, between Glenlyon and the Isle of Skye, And So We Gather is innately both Gaelic and Scottish, but doesn’t restrict itself to this. The instrumentation affects dynamism in its variety, stretching across cultures and continents and culminating in something magnificent.
Ten tracks are split between traditional folk songs and Carnie’s own compositions – weaved between each other seamlessly, allowing a smooth-flowing infusion of the old and new, hinting at an ephemerality that ties together the history of Scottish music.
In parallel, piano and guitar gently arpeggiate on ‘She Moves Me’, setting the tone for the album as a whole and, more immediately, teasing the introduction of Carnie’s astounding voice. Its softness elevates her accent, flickering at the twists of melodies as sung by generations of trad singers, but scarcely as gorgeously.
Carnie’s voice grows in strength and wonderment. In the sombre ‘Caoidh Mhic Shiridh’, airy backing vocals lull beneath Carnie’s own, bolstering the power of the melody with carefully arranged harmonies throughout.
From singing ‘Bonnie Wee Jeanie McColl’ with her grandfather, at the age of three, to a momentous and stunning debut album, Carnie has come a long way to provide us with this gem. This is an album for everyone, not just folk fans.
And So We Gather will be released on 17th June on Càrn Records
By: Jo Higgs