October 2021 sees the release of a new CD by Freeland. Titled 'An t-Eilean Àrd - The High Island', it's a mixture of well-loved Gaelic and Highland music together with a number of Freeland's own compositions, and though it's mainly Freeland playing rather a lot of instruments there are 6 tracks with 3 of Scotland's foremost fiddle players - 4 with Alison Smith, 1 with Iain Fraser, and a previously unreleased track with the late Ian Hardie. Some of the recordings were done in 2021 but many of them come from previous sessions dating back to 1993 and the whole project has been a result of raking through a ton of old tapes of all descriptions during the dark days of lockdown. So much material was uncovered in fact that another release may well be forthcoming. This one though is on the Macmeanmna label (Cat. No. SKYECD61) and can be bought as a CD (see the 'Shop' page) or as a download (www.gaelicmusic.com).
Says Freeland - 'This has been a lot of fun and I'm really pleased with it. And what a treat to have three such distinguished guests to help me out - thank you!'
At the end of September 2019 Birlinn published 'The White Rose of Gask - The life and songs of Carolina Oliphant, Lady Nairne' by Freeland Barbour. Lady Nairne's songs are some of the best-known and loved in the rich canon of Scots song ('The Land o' The Leal', 'The Auld Hoose', 'The Rowan Tree', 'The Laird o' Cockpen', 'Will ye no' come back again', 'Wi' a hundred pipers', 'Charlie is my darling', to name but a few) but the author's life is not so well-known. Freeland has long wanted to write an up-to-date biography of Lady Nairne and has been able to draw on family papers and mementoes as Lady Nairne's eldest sister was his direct ancestor. Alongside the biography Bonskeid Music have also republished 'Lays of Strathearn', the first collection of Lady Nairne's songs in which her name as author was acknowledged and which was published in 1846, the year after her death.
Both books were launched on Sept. 27th at The Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh with Donald Smith, the Centre's Director, opening the evening, and Freeland and actor, poet, singer, director Gerda Stevenson speaking of Lady Nairne's life and singing a few of her songs.
Freeland and Gerda had quite a number of further events and book festivals that they had been booked to appear at, including Edinburgh and Borders, but of course everything has either been cancelled or postponed because of the Coronavirus epidemic. No one knows when normal life will resume but further dates will be added as and when it becomes possible.
Freeland and Gerda will be taking part in the online John O'Groats Book Festival in April 2021.
Both books can be bought through the 'Shop' page.
In December 2018 The Wallochmor Ceilidh Band were inducted into The Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame and Freeland and his band colleagues Sandy Coghill, Neil MacMillan, Gus Millar, and Jim Barrie are proud to be there. The only regret is that Jim did not live to see this but we all know how thrilled he would have been.
Freeland has also been honoured by The National Association of Accordion and Fiddle Clubs for his contribution to Scottish traditional music. He joins a list of very well-known names (Jimmy Shand, Bobby Macleod, Ian Powrie, Robbie Shepherd etc. etc.) of previous recipients and is very proud to be amongst them. His Wallochmor colleagues Gus Millar and Neil MacMillan have also shared this honour in the past.
'The Music and the Land - The Concert' CD has just been released by Greentrax (CDTRAX392). It contains tracks from the 2 book launch concerts for Freeland's mammoth tome 'The Music and the Land' which took place at The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh in October 2015 and The Fruitmarket, Glasgow in January 2016. Along with Freeland, Kevin Macleod, Alison Smith, Mairi Campbell, Gus Millar, and Neil MacMillan (all of The Occasionals) were special guests Phil Cunningham, Martin Carthy, Ross Ainslie, Gary West, Simon Thoumire, Jane Gardner, Billy Kay, Janet Barbour, and Cailean Maclean. Two wonderful nights captured on CD and, in the words of author James Robertson, 'a book launch like no other.' The CD of course can be bought on the shop page!
One of Scotland's leading book publishers, Birlinn, have published a book of all Freeland's compositions, illustrated with some superb high-quality photography from Cailean Maclean from Skye, and a number of other photographers. It is a beautiful, 2-volume, full-colour, coffee-table style publication, and was launched at a sell-out concert and dance at The Queen's Hall in Edinburgh in October 2015. Some of those who contributed chapter introductions to the book performed in the concert, namely Phil Cunningham, Simon Thoumire, Gary West, and Billy Kay, and they were joined by the full Occasionals band and also Cailean Maclean, Jane Gardner, and Janet Barbour. The launch was repeated in Glasgow at Celtic Connections on Jan. 19th 2016 at The Old Fruitmarket again as a concert and dance with the full Occasionals band and special guests Martin Carthy, Phil Cunningham, Ross Ainslie, and Billy Kay.
Along with the book there is a 14-track CD (The Music and The Land - The Sampler) available free with each copy of the book purchased, and there is also a separate piping book (The Music and The Land - The Piping Section) available, with 65 tunes from the main book that are set specifically for the highland pipes.
The Music for Old Time Dancing project is now complete with the release of Volume 6. It\'s a huge project with 142 tracks, music for 116 dances and 50 alternative dances, and 250 tunes.
The boxed set of all 6 CD\'s is now available as well at a SUPER DISCOUNT PRICE!