Mary Ann Kennedy is one of the country’s best loved folk performers.
She’s a personality who has found her way into almost every facet of Scottish music culture, whether it be broadcasting for the BBC or performing with her critically-acclaimed band, Cliar and she has just released a new album of soon-to-be Gaelic classics.
Trained as a classical musician from the age of six, starting by learning from the Russian-trained Elisabeth Jacobs, before moving on to the concert harp under the tutelage of Sanchia Pielou. After studying as a pianist at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, she undertook further research at the Royal Northern College of Music and graduated as the College’s first harpist to be awarded its highest performance diploma. It should come as no surprise that she still draws on the work that she achieved during this time, as well as what she’s learnt from her mother, noted singer and tradition bearer, Kenna Campbell.
Whilst there are certainly many musicians who have followed a similar path and found themselves abandoning their passion and starting up a cleaning business instead, Mary has endured thanks to her unwavering commitment to the music traditions that she continues to espouse through both her music and her broadcasting work. Today, she splits her time between these two personalities and continues to record and perform the music that she loves.
Her new record, ‘Glaschu’ is an ode to her home-city of Glasgow and encapsulates her passion both for her country and the rich music traditions that she has made her duty to keep alive. Much like her mother, who was awarded an MBE in 2017 for her contributions to Gaelic culture, Mary Ann Kennedy remains both an elusive and accessible artist. This recent album contains everything that fans have come to expect of her: crisp Gaelic songwriting, a winning sense of humour and lovely production values courtesy of her husband-producer. Here’s what she had to say about her new studio album, out everywhere now:
“The ‘Glaschu’ album is a kind of love-song to my home town – these songs are the story of the Gaels in Glasgow before me, but it’s the also the story of every new arrival community in any city the world over – the themes are universal. I grew up in the southside of a city rich in languages and cultures, and as part of Scottish Gaels’ biggest urban diaspora. We realised that, even though Gaelic had been part of Glasgow throughout its 800-year history, we were still very much part of the ebb-and-flow migration that is part of every city’s narrative.”
Camanachd Ghlaschu is the first track from the album and one that we’re happy to share here:
|7th June||Columbafest, Glasgow|
|14th July||Festival of Chichester, Halnaker|