FolkWorld #76 11/2021
© Innes and Campbell Communications

Fresh and Flourishing

One of Scotland’s most loved trad-rock bands Mànran are set to release their eagerly anticipated new album ÙRAR (pronounced oo-rar) on Friday 22 October. The supergroup's eagerly anticipated fourth record features a mix of captivating new material in English and Gaelic.


Artist Video Mànran @ FROG

With 11 incredible years at the heart of the traditional music scene and three hugely successful studio albums under their belt, the unstoppable supergroup show no signs of slowing down as they gear up for the release of their fourth record. Showcasing intuitive instrumentation and song, this primarily self-penned body of work from the seven-piece sees the soaring album live up to its Gaelic title, meaning ‘fresh’ or ‘flourishing’.


Artist Audio Mànran "Ùrar", Mànran Records, 2021

The first Mànran record to feature Scottish songstress Kim Carnie and guitarist Aidan Moodie, ÙRAR sees Mànran’s traditional sound pushed in a new reflective and exhilarating direction, marking an exciting new chapter for the multi-award-winning group. The album features a mix of captivating new material in English and Gaelic and boasts a delicate yet uplifting sound, with Kim’s inimitable vocals at its heart.

Alongside Kim’s stunning lead vocals, Aidan Moodie’s backing vocals and intricate guitar playing can be heard throughout the album alongside Ewen Henderson on vocals, fiddle and pipes, Gary Innes on accordion, Ross Saunders on bass guitar, Ryan Murphy on uilleann pipes, flute and whistles and Mark Scobbie on drums.

The first single Crow Flies, released last month, delighted old and new fans alike, while the second single Ailean, out Friday 1 October, is an upbeat Gaelic song with a driving melody, which only builds on the album’s momentum and stunning sound.

Gary Innes said: “As Scotland and the rest of the world open their doors once again to live music, we are excited to be able to share our new album with everyone. We were delighted to welcome Kim and Aidan to the band back in 2019 and it’s wonderful to finally be able to release our first body of work featuring them both. We hope fans enjoy the energetic sound of ÙRAR, as well as the uplifting melodies and the self-penned Gaelic and English material.”

Hot on the heels of appearances at Wickham Festival, Glasgow’s Piping Live! and Capers in Cannich, the band are set to embark on a tour across Germany, Switzerland and Austria in October and November before returning for a number of Scottish dates in December.

Don Stiffe, Sharon Shannon and Gary Innes celebrate Ireland’s ancient sport of Hurling in new single.

Gary Innes

Artist Video Gary Innes @ FROG

You’re old and historic, evolved and mature
Like cask strength whisky, so strong and so pure,
You capture our heart, hold on with some style
Our Celtic religion drip-fed as a child.
An education of sorts, a mark of respect
To play this old sport, help villages connect.
For those who’ve not seen, it is hard to explain,
Just how much pride we have in our game.
   It’s the game of the Gaels,
   The language of our clans
   No place for fear, or to commandeer
   The heart of a hurling man.
From the dawn of time, through mist covered glens
The fastest grass sport grew the fiercest of men
Legends were born with ash they were raised
Long dead is the hound who met Cú Chulainn that day
For seventy short minutes, we contest and collide
And once it’s all over, cast difference aside.
An offer of hand, to greet one another.
A nod of respect for your wood swinging brother
Once my best friend, my release from life’s throes
But now it feels right that I should let go,
I’ve had my time, which is hard to admit,
Life ever changing, no time to commit,
Oh I’ll miss to stand, fifteen healthy men,
To toss a coin on which end to defend,
The throw in takes place, the first pull strikes high
Sixty bright eyes cast towards the sky.
   Take a knock, take a bang,
      Take a smack, take a clatter,
   In years to come none of it will matter,
   With foot, hand or hurl, you’ll never feel fitter
   Than beating your man to be first to the sliotair
You’ll continue to grow, gather tales on your way
I’ll never forget what were my glory days
To run the Hogan Tunnel, with hurl in your hand
The Young Artane Band played in front of the stand
Those fond memories I’ll hang onto and treasure
As I dust off a glass to pour a large measure.
To our ancient sport, to Ireland’s finest son
I toast your health, my heart you have won.

A new single that celebrates Ireland’s ancient and native sport Hurling is set for release on Friday 13th August. Entitled THE HURLING MAN, the song showcases the vocals of Ireland’s Don Stiffe, Irish folk royalty Sharon Shannon on accordion alongside Scotland’s accordion virtuoso Gary Innes, Cork’s Ryan Murphy on Uilleann Pipes, Kilkenny’s Steve Byrnes on kit - alongside Ali Hutton on guitar, Duncan Lyall on bass and Hamish Napier on keys.

The new single celebrating ‘The Hurling Man’ will be released the week before the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final at Croke Park, Dublin on Sunday 22nd August.

An anthem for supporters and players alike, the single is a celebration of the deep-rooted love felt for the sport across Ireland. The song talks of the sport being ‘an education of sorts’ that plays its part in helping villages and counties to connect. It positions Hurling as an opportunity to escape life’s challenges, cast differences aside and talks of the feeling of mutual respect between the wood swinging brothers of the sport.

Don Stiffe, who has been a lifelong fan of the sport, said: “I'm delighted and honoured to be asked to sing this great song called The Hurling Man written by Gary Innes from Scotland who is indeed a legendary shinty player himself. I’ve been going to hurling games since I was 8 years old with my father and after seeing Galway win the All Ireland and the Liam McCarthy Cup at Croke Park, I was hooked for life. Hurling grasps it's communities and our own family would get season tickets most years. It's a family day out to see your club or county playing – as the lyrics say, ‘it's the game of the Gales, the language of our clans’. I hope all the Hurling communities around Ireland will get behind this brilliant song as we promote the great game of hurling – the best and fastest grass sport in the world.”

The Hurling Man

Artist Audio Garry Innes with Don Stiffe and Sharon Shannon "The Hurling Man", Own label, 2021

Written by Scotland shinty player Gary Innes, who captained the Scotland National Shinty team on many occasions and met Irish Hurling legends at Croke Park for the annual Shinty-Hurling International Series throughout his career, said: “I know how deep rooted my love for Scotland’s ancient sport shinty is and so I wanted to write something that reflected this love for Ireland’s sport of Hurling. I am a huge fan of Hurling, especially as we have such strong ties with our native sport of Shinty here in Scotland, and so I was delighted when Don and Sharon agreed to be part of this single. I hope it captures the hearts of Hurling fans and players across Ireland and it can bring a bit of camaraderie and fun during these difficult times for all of us.”

Don Stiffe is one of the greatest singer-songwriters to have emerged on the Irish Folk Scene in recent years. Don is a passionate and talented singer whose impressive performance style has moved audiences all over the world. In 2011 Don was a finalist in one of Ireland’s most watched TV shows, The All Ireland Talent Show, with live audiences of up to 800,000 people.

With over 30 years in the industry, Irish accordion legend Sharon Shannon has become internationally recognised for her arrangements of traditional Irish tunes and Irish influenced compositions, whilst pushing the boundaries of what people expect of her. Throughout her career, Sharon has recorded and toured with the who’s who of the Irish and Global Music Industry, including The Waterboys, John Prine, Steve Earle, Jackson Browne, The RTÉ Concert Orchestra, The Chieftains, Shane McGowan, Willie Nelson, Nigel Kennedy, Kirsty MacColl, Bono, Adam Clayton, Sinéad O’Connor and Imelda May, plus many more.

Scotland’s Gary Innes has been performing and composing music for over two decades and is one of the founding members of award-winning Scottish super-group Mànran. Gary is an ex-Scottish Shinty captain and Internationalist. During his Shinty career Gary is one of the very few players to hold every senior medal within the game. Having retired in 2014, Gary is still involved within the sport and covers the live televised games for the BBC from the warmth of the commentary box. Adding another string to his bow, Gary began presenting the longest running radio show on BBC Radio Scotland – the world renowned Take the Floor. In 2020 he was also given his own show on a Sunday evening entitled Your Requests with Gary Innes.

Don Stiffe

Ali Hutton

Hamish Napier

Ryan Murphy

Sharon Shannon

Photo Credits: (1)-(2) Mànran, (3)-(4) Gary Innes, (5) Don Stiffe, (6) Ali Hutton, (7) Hamish Napier, (9) Sharon Shannon (unknown/website); (8) Ryan Murphy (by Walkin' Tom).

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