The artwork for the new vinyl release of SALM Vol.1 was created by Jennifer Lucy Allan
SALM Vol. 1, Gaelic Psalms from the Hebrides of Scotland, was first released in 2006 to critical acclaim – and now there is the chance to hear the exceptional work in a different format as it is re-released on vinyl for the first time by Arc Light Editions this month.
The recordings of Gaelic Psalm singing presented in the release are among the best ever captured.
Documenting a living tradition – the form of religious singing from the Hebrides – the recordings of Gaelic Psalm singing were originally made over two evenings in the Back Free Church, Lewis, in October 2003 by Lewis musician Calum Martin.
In Gaelic psalm singing a precentor leads, and from here voices follow, moving together in great swells like the murmurations of birds.
In his notes to the original SALM release, Calum writes that while the form of precenting is not exclusive to Gaelic free church traditions, it is in Lewis particularly influenced by the pibroch style of free ornamentation.
It’s through this, he says, that the distinctive emotional swell of sound emerges. The sound relies on the congregation’s individual response to the melody and the individual precentor’s leading.
And that is what SALM presents. The singing recorded in Back Free Church was spontaneous and totally unrehearsed, delivering a music that is transcendent and together, about the individual and the earth, moving spiritual with or without belief.
The sound comes in great waves, swells of sound that break and roll around the space. The texture relies on the individuals: this is group singing where the individual is preserved, elevated, but together.
To release SALM Vol. 1 on vinyl, Arc Light Editions has worked directly with Calum Martin and DR Macdonald at Bethesda Hospice, which licensed the recording.
And a portion of the profits from the new record will go directly to Bethesda Hospice, in accordance with the original release. To find out more, including purchase, please visit www.arclighteditions.bigcartel.com