In the spring of 2000, Abby Newton, an American cellist long known in the folk music community for her interpretations of Scottish music, traveled to Edinburgh to record a CD. Joining her on the project were a group of Scottish and American musicians hand-picked by Abby as much for their love of early Scottish music as for their outstanding musical abilities…
Participating in the project are some of the most accomplished players in traditional Scottish music today. Leading the list is David Greenberg, a young Canadian who has made waves internationally with his violin playing in both Baroque and traditional idioms. He is the driving force behind Puirt a Baroque. Also on board are Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis known in Scotland for their collaboration as The Cast. Corrina Hewet, the Scottish harper of Bachue Cafe, Fred Hand, a superb guitarist from New York, and harper Kim Robertson bring their considerable talent and energy to the ensemble.
The title “Castles, Kirks (churches), and Caves” describes the four settings on the itinerary. They include Hatton Castle, Dunkeld Cathedral, Fingals Cave, and The Magdalen Chapel. Nature and its elements are a feature of all traditional Scottish music, and each of the locations is nestled in a dramatic natural setting. The historic interiors and the mercurial Scottish weather presented a series of challenges and rewards to the musicians and sound crew. The result is a recording of unusual richness and intimacy.
From a review in the Atlanta Celtic Quarterly by David Marcus of Abby’s first solo recording, Crossing to Scotland:
“Before the piano, the ‘cello was the instrument used to accompany dance music in Scotland. Abby Newton has made it her mission to re-establish that tradition, and she does it with grace, love, and lyricism… This is the most absolutely elegant album I’ve heard in a long time, and one that easily makes my A+ list… The ‘cello has always been the instrument I’d want to be shipwrecked on a desert island with; now I know who I’d want to have there to play it.”