Talitha MacKenzie
“One of the Great Voices of the World . . . an extraordinary artist.”— Frank Hennessy, Celtic Heartbeat, BBC Radio Wales

Talitha MacKenzie is best known for her internationally critically acclaimed Celtic albums Mouth Music, Sòlas and Spiorad.  Originally from multicultural New York, she is now based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Talitha MacKenzie's new album INDIAN SUMMER is available from SONAS Multimedia. Hear complete tracks on MySpace.

“. . . the record is a satisfying whole, exploring ideas of history, genealogy and family which resonate equally strongly in the Hebrides and among the First Nations of America.”— Dai Jeffries, Rock’n’Reel

“The performances are faultless. She is blessed with a glorious singing voice that’s warm and expressive.”— Aidan O’Hara, Irish Music Magazine

Talitha MacKenzie Returns to America

Talitha MacKenzie demonstrating Highland Folk Dance steps at Mystic Seaport Sea Music Festival 2009; photo by Kaari Sullivan

Talitha MacKenzie will be travelling to America this summer to teach Gaelic Song and Highland Folk Dance at the Swannanoa Gathering, NC, during Celtic Week from 11-17 July 2010.

SCOTS GAELIC SONG FOR WORK & DANCE
Highland tradition marries song and movement in a vibrant and exhilarating way. This class will explore songs for spinning, weaving, waulking, milking, churning butter, rowing and more.

"Omnipresent", by Ian MacKenzie (1958-2009)

Red heart Christmas ornament, School of Scottish Studies Garden, Edinburgh, 2007

Omnipresent

Soft shadows in the morning
gentle fragrance of each new page
Your presence invites itself in, gracefully,
on all the paths I walk

Like the sky's red evening blood
bright as the burning sun
your flame flickers, unquenched
at the end of my every day

Whiter than the virgin snow
all round the frozen pool
you are at every edge
of my world

Ian MacKenzie, 1981
http://www.zenbends.com

Photo by Ian MacKenzie, December 2008

"Christmas", by Ian MacKenzie (1958-2009)

Ian MacKenzie, c 2008

Christmas

I stole a moment
amid the hectic day,
sat alone by the
Christmas tree shrine,
kidnapped from the cold forest
and transplanted into our
incomplete Christmas
one December night

This, the first Christmas without you,
I tried not to feel. Instead,
I imagined that you had to go to work
and just could not make it;
but, for all the Christmas cheer
and cards with strengthening good will,
the favourite chair and place at the table
are forever empty still.

I catch my own sad reflections
from deep within the wine glass,

Communing with Ancestors in Scotland's Year of Homecoming

While many in Scotland are celebrating the Year of Homecoming, Talitha took a family trip to Iona. Just outside the historic St Oran's Chapel (pictured) is the burial place of a number of her ancestors, including Kenneth mac Alpin, Constantine I, Malcolm I, Kenneth II, Malcolm II and Duncan I (cousin of MacBeth). Photo by Todd Beveridge

Talitha and Les Bouthilliers at Mystic Seaport!

Talitha MacKenzie aloft the ship Charles W Morgan at Mystic Seaport, CT

Talitha will be performing at Mystic Seaport with Robert & Gabrielle Bouthillier from Québec. See them at the
Mystic Seaport Sea Music Festival, Mystic Connecticut, from 12-14 June 2009:

"Unelanvhi Uwetsi" video on Speak Cherokee Blogspot

Brian Wilkes, Cherokee teacher

Cherokee teacher Brian Wilkes has posted a YouTube video of Indian Summer track "Unelanvhi Uwetsi" on his Speak Cherokee website blog. Please check out his amazing website and keep our heritage alive by learning to speak this endangered language.

Galieliga!

RSAMD

RSAMD logo

I am delighted with my new post as lecturer in Transcription & Analysis at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama in Glasgow. It can be a challenging subject at best (and a tedious chore at worst) but it is one which enables musicians to open doors and explore so many musical worlds.

La Fête des Chants de Marins

View of the St Lawrence River from St-Jean-Port-Jolie, Québec

Merci to everyone who made performing at La Fête des Chants de Marins such a wonderful experience! It was great to sing maritime music in the beaming sunshine and fresh salt air. A special thanks to members of Serre l'Ecoute who provided harmonies on sea shanties during most of my sets--it was a real treat to be reunited with them again and I look forward to more opportunities for repeat performances in 2009.

The Indian Summer Story

Indian Summer musicians: Rhiannon Giddens, Nico Mirande, Talitha MacKenzie, Chris Birkett, Michael Laffan leaning on a dolmen in St Cibard, France

It began as a short set of songs with a Native-American theme that I added to my live performances of Celtic traditional music in 2001. Overwhelmingly enthusiastic audience response convinced me that not having these songs recorded would be a missed opportunity. Recording vocals for the blockbuster Troy in 2004 provided the financing that I needed to create this long-awaited album.

Honeymoon Couple

Michael & Rhiannon Giddens Laffan, photo courtesy of Abigail Seymour Photography

When composing the title track for my album Indian Summer, I wanted the song to be underpinned by Ragtime honky-tonk piano but I also wanted to feature Old Timey clawhammer banjo. After deluging my keyboard player, Michael Laffan, with Randy Newman CDs and Scott Joplin scores, we came up with a workable piano part but, being a laid-back kind of guy, his performance tempo was a little on the leisurely side.

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