Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Battlefield Band

I chose my first CD by Battlefield Band because I liked the cover image and the title (as in "dookin' for apples'). But I continue to buy their CDs because I really enjoy their music. It’s harmonious and lively, and the words are haunting. Celtic music seems to capture that blend of sadness and joy that is the essence of human life.

Battlefield Band (named after the Glasgow suburb of Battlefield) started playing together 30 years ago. Their music is a mix of traditional ballads and new songs played on a mix of ancient and modern instruments - bagpipes, fiddle, synthesiser, guitar, flutes, bodhran and accordion. One of the constants has been Allan Reid who has written a number of original pieces for the band.

The Road of Tears, the band’s 2006 album, is about emigration over the centuries – from Scottish people forced off their land to modern-day asylum seekers. Here is one verse from the title track (music and words by Allan Reid). (listen)

We crossed the sea to flee the hunger
Wasted rags of skin and bone
The fields we left were black and barren
A ravaged land no longer home
The coffin ships were filled with mourning
We’d one last look back to the land
The quiet men, the women keening
It almost broke our hearts and minds
To leave the fields, the fields of tears

I’m Going to Set You Free by John Spillane on the Dookin’ album moves me and reminds me to let go of guilt. (listen)

If you did, if you did, even if you did
Been where you shouldn’t have been
Seen what you shouldn’t have seen
Dreamed what you shouldn’t have dreamed
That doesn’t mean that you have to be paying the price forever
I’m going to set you free.

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