“One of the most exhilarating acoustic bands on the Celtic map …” – Irish Music Magazine
Taking their name from the Gaelic word for kinship, “The Gaelic Super Group” Dàimh (pronounced dive) are based entirely in the West Highlands of Scotland. From pyrotechnic jigs and reels to achingly poignant ballads, they run the full expressive gamut of folk music at its best, and are justly renowned for their thrilling live shows.
After releasing their first two albums Moidart to Mabou (2000) and Pirates of Puirt (2004) independently, 2007 saw them adding the vocal talents of Mod Gold Medallist, Calum Alex MacMillan and releasing Crossing Point on the Greentrax label working once again with long-time friend and producer Iain MacDonald and for the first time with the legendary Calum Malcolm.
Fourth studio album, Diversions, was released in 2010 with a mixture of high-energy and fast-flowing music from the Gaelic tradition; songs old and new covering all the favourite subjects of the Gaels – love, death, war and drink.
After experiencing their first personnel change in 14 years the band returned stronger than ever with an exciting and inspired new line up and with it their 5th album, Tuneship. Featuring the band’s own compositions, including those of Damian Helliwell from the Isle of Eigg on mandolin and banjo alongside Griogair Labhruidh making his impressive debut with the band on vocals with three songs sourced from his ancestral homeland of Ballachulish. The depth of understanding and passion in Griogair’s singing further highlights the band’s roots in their beloved West Lochaber and North Argyll yet blends perfectly with their cutting edge compositions and contemporary arrangements to create a consummate snapshot of Gaelic music in today’s Scottish Highlands.
The band won the “Eiserner Eversteiner” European Folk Music Award in the 23nd German Folkherbst competition and nominated for Folk Band of the Year in the Scots Trad Music Awards. It has also seen the addition of Murdo Cameron on mandola and for the first time in Dàimh’s history…an accordion!
Angus MacKenzie: Highland Pipes/Border Pipes/Whistles A Gaelic-speaking piper from Mabou, Cape Breton Island on Canada’s East Coast residing for the past 19 years on the Isle of Skye. His piping style draws on his strong South Uist roots along with the dance-influenced rhythms of Cape Breton music. 2012 saw Angus, along with his brother Kenneth nominated for Roots Traditional Recording of the Year at the East Coast Music Awards for their album, Pìob is Fidheall.
Gabe McVarish: Fiddle Hailing from Northern California, where his family settled after emigrating from Morar, Lochaber via Prince Edward Island. At the age of 17 Gabe travelled to his ancestral homeland of the Scottish Highlands where he spent a year studying music under the tutelage of fiddler and tradition bearer Angus Grant Sr. After completing a degree in Scottish music Gabe released solo album Eclection, a culmination of fiddle styles and repertoire from both sides of the Atlantic.
Murdo Cameron: Mandola/Mandolin/Accordion Murdo comes from a long line of traditional Gaelic singers and was immersed in music growing up Glenelg, a wee village a stones throw across from the Isle of Skye, famous for being twinned with Mars. A member of the Mountain Rescue, Murdo started out as an accordion player and piper, who in the last few years has been a busy guitar accompanist and stringed things enthusiast.
Ellen MacDonald Widely tipped as the most exciting thing to happen to Gaelic song since the invention of the Ceilidh, Ellen MacDonald is fast finding a flock of fans and followers with her natural, smoky voice and individual interpretation of songs covering the full emotional spectrum of the Gael. Born and raised in Inverness with strong maternal ties to the language and songs of North Uist and Scalpay, Ellen studied at Scotland’s only dedicated Gaelic language college, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on the the Isle of Skye. Ellen’s acting skills have seen her nominated for ‘Best Performance’ at the FilmG awards for her role in a Gaelic short film ‘Briste’ and landing a key role in the BBC’s new Gaelic drama “Bannan”.
Ross Martin: Guitar From Arisaig though now lives in neighbouring Morar. A fisherman from early teens until his twenties and now an active member of the Coastguard, Ross has gone on to tour Europe and the U.S. with Irish singer Karan Casey. Ross’ unique style of guitar accompaniment has him in demand for numerous projects including Dual, a collaborative exploration of traditional Gaelic music of Scotland and Ireland by Danù singer Muireann Nic Amhlaoimh and Brave singing sensation, Julie Fowlis.
Love, life, loss and Lochaber; Tuneship displays the growing maturity of a group whose work screams of place but which is rooted firmly in the present. SUNDAY HERALD