3.25: Information on Capercaillie


3.25: Information on Capercaillie


Capercaillie Fan Club
PO Box 1155
G3 7TW

There is also a fanzine called Sidetaulk. Call Mandy Shanks on Hopeman 0343- 835194 for more info, or write to her at: 21 Thom St, Hopeman, Elgin, Moray, Scotland IV30 2SS

Capercaillie is pronounced "Cap-ir-cay-lee", not "Cape-r-cay-lee" A Capercaillie is the largest member of the Grouse family (from the Gaelic words for Wood Grouse) and is an endangered species.

capercaillie albums

Album #1:Cascade (recorded 1984) Lineup: Karen Matheson (lead vocal) Joan MacLachlan (fiddle, vocal) Marc Duff (Recorder, Whistles, Rauschpfeife) Shaun Craig (Guitar, Bouzouki) Martin Macleod (Basses, Fiddle) Donald Shaw (Accordion, Keyboards, Fiddle) Published by Taynuilt Records, Highfield, Taynuilt, Argyll, PA35 1JQ This is the village which the band hail from and it's possible the record company has some of Karen's earlier recordings when she was with The Etives. The band met at Oban High School. This is a really good album, but has no words with it and is only on cassette. Greentrax stock it.

Album #2: Crosswinds (1987): No words with this, many copies of the words are available in books though. Excellent album. Available on Green Linnet

Album #3: The Blood is strong (1988) Soundtrack for TV series. Very good tunes (most are quite short though, as is the album). Lyrics and translations

Album #4: Sidewaulk (1989) Similar in sound to Crosswinds. The first album with any English on it. Full Gaelic and English lyrics supplied On Green Linnet

At this point the band leave the Green Linnet label and join Survival records. The fan club starts in a London suburb (graciously promoting a ceilidh I was singing at in London!) and later moves to the studio in Glasgow where the band do much of their recording. The sound becomes a bit more contemporary, the Gaelic content goes down slightly but the sound remains much more traditional than Runrig

Album #5: Delirium (published 1991) Coisich a' ru\in (a 400 year old waulking song) from this album becomes the first ever Scots Gaelic tune to enter the UK top 40 after it becomes the theme tune for a UK wide TV programme featuring Prince Charles entitled "A Prince among islands". Charles appeared on this programme supporting Gaelic and has since appeared on TV talking in Gaelic.

The beautiful song "Breisleach" from this album had its lyrics written by well known Edinburgh based Gaelic poet Angus Dubh (=Black Angus). It later became the theme music for the Gaelic soap TV programme "Machair" shown at prime time on Grampian TV and Scottish TV.

Album #6: Get Out! (1992) An album of remixes, live material etc. Outlaws (=The Poll Tax Song) is on this album.

Album #7: Secret People (1993) Similar in sound to Delirium. This album is dedicated to the oral tradition and so the lyrics were intentionally not printed, nor are they available from the fan club (I've already asked). An Eala Bhan however is available in some songbooks (it's traditional, and is also on Cascade). Some of the other tracks are traditional too and may be on albums by na h-Oganaich (a source of Capercaillie material). Na h-Oganaich (Young Blood) recorded 3 albums in the early 70s on Beltona Records and were very influential in updating Gaelic music. Tobermory on the album also appears on the Flora MacNeill album "Craobh nan Ubhal" (on Temple). Capercaillie seem to get most of their traditional material from Christine Primrose, Flora MacNeill and na h-Oganaich. So now you know where to get most of the words to Secret People!

Album #8: Capercaille (1994) A few new tracks, but mostly remixed older material from Delerium and Secret People.Full English and Gaelic lyrics, including "Boneparte" and "Tobermory" from Secret People (where the lyrics weren't printed in either language). This album marks a change of musical direction for the band and marching down the road to mass commercialisation. It got a very poor review in The Scotman's Saturday folk column. Only buy it if you want the lyrics to the Gaelic songs and you have all the other albums first! Sidewaulk and Crosswinds and Cascade are my favourites.

To get Capercaillie records or more info, contact:

Stuart Fleming
Capercaillie Fan club
PO Box 1155
G3 7TW

If that fails, then try Greentrax records (who I bought Cascade from) or Blackfriars Music, 49 Blackfriars St, Edinburgh EH1 1NB Tel: 031 557 3090, Fax: 031 556 2552. As publishers of The Scottish Folk Arts Directory, this shop has info on virtually everyone in the Scottish folk scene.

Capercaillie cite na h-Oganaich (young blood) as one of their major influences. Na h-Oganaich recorded 3 albums

1. "The Great Gaelic Sound of Na h-Oganaich (All Gaelic All Vocal)" 1973 (ref: SBE 145)

2. "Gael Force 3: Na h-Oganaich (Young Blood)" 1974 (ref: SBE 160)

3. "Scot-free: na h-Oganaich, Young Blood" 1975 (ref: SBE 184) Contents: 'Canan nan Gaidheal', 'Cumha Dhiarmaid', 'Coisich a ruin', 'Chor a' ghritheach dhonn', 'Eilean a' cheo', 'Puirt a beul', 'Come by the hills', 'Willie's gaen tae Melville castle', 'The searing things', 'The freedom come all ye', 'Farewell to Nova Scotia' and 'Flower of Scotland'.

These records are on the Beltona label. Beltona's address is (this may be way out of date)

Beltona Records (Division of) The Decca Record Co. Ltd. Decca House 9 Albert Embankment London SE1 7SW

Another source of Capercaillie material is Christine Primrose who has the following 4 records on the Temple label: Aite mo ghaoil, 's tu nam chuimhne, The Quiet Tradition (with Alison Kinnaird - clarcist) and Mairidh gaol is ceol (as part of Mac-Talla - highly recommended album).

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