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Scottish and Celtic Music Discussion
Unmistakable Voices
Posts: 556
Posted: 31-Jul-2007 14:57
What artists do you regard as being so distinctive you can hear them sing or play, even a relatively short phrase, and know

Not just voices, but instrumental playing comes in to this too... unique styles, phrasing, virtuosity.

What prompts me to ask this is that I bought Julie Fowlis's excellent CD "Cuilidh" the other day, and in amongst the general wonderfulness, was very taken with the stunning mandolin playing on a few tracks. What I thought was that it was so like Chris Thile's playing that it had to be him or he had a doppelganger, but it was only when I got to check the CD insert I realised that I had guessed correctly.

It's perhaps easier to recognise a human voice than an instrumental artist, but who else would you say you can recognise without really needing to check the CD insert?

Posts: 8
Posted: 31-Jul-2007 15:01
The Rankins, Mary Black, Emma Christian, Loreena McKennitt....erm.......oh, Donnie Munro.

Well done for hearing and recognizing the mandolin player. That takes some musical hearing!

Posts: 1290
Posted: 31-Jul-2007 15:15
Vin Garbutt, Christy Moore, Rod Paterson, Sheena Wellington, Jeannie Robertson, Martin Carthy, ...jeeze that's just off the top of my head.
I also find I can recognise the "sound" of a band like the unmistakeable Whistlebinkies, Chieftains, Altan etc...although it might take a few hours searching the memory banks to identify them!
Posts: 8
Posted: 31-Jul-2007 15:25
I saw Altan when they came over the the Isle of Man for the Isle of Music Festival. I think Runrig have a particular sound.
Tattie Bogle
Posts: 3849
Posted: 01-Aug-2007 01:09
Davy Steele (sadly missed), as heard on John Purser's programme of "Scotland's Music" this last weekend on BBC Radio Scotland.
Posts: 36
Posted: 01-Aug-2007 03:35
Kate Rusby's an obvious one, due to the accent.

It's a difficult one... it probably depends on how often you've heard someone. Familiarity creates a warmth for their music & idiosyncrocies. Once you have that, you'll know them from a mile away.

I could write a list a mile long, but I'm sleepy ;o)

Posts: 2043
Posted: 01-Aug-2007 09:11
Rod Paterson, Michael Marra, John Morran, James Graham, David Scott, Tom Waits, Mairi MacInnes, Billie Holiday,Louis Armstrong....loads!
Posts: 39
Posted: 01-Aug-2007 09:31
Andy M Stewart, Michael Marra The Humff family, Big Country, Peatbog Faeries and more
Posts: 556
Posted: 01-Aug-2007 09:52
.. and what about instrumentalists?

Are there individuals whose sounds you can identify as well?

FrankC mentioned the Whistlebinkies and the Chieftains - which is interesting. Are ensemble sounds easier to recognise than solo musicians?

Incidentally - no special prizes to me for recognising Chris Thile - if you have ever heard him play, you'll know that there are very few mandolin players to match him.

Posts: 173
Posted: 01-Aug-2007 10:59
Kathleen MacInnes, such a distinctive and wonderful voice. She sounds like she would equally be at home singing jazz in Ronnie Scott's.
The fiddle playing of John McKusker, unmistakable.
Posts: 67
Posted: 01-Aug-2007 13:25
Aly Bain - Unmistakable after one bar.
Posts: 1
Posted: 01-Aug-2007 22:19
I don't know if it's really possible to recognize anyone just by the way they are playing their instrument. Maybe if you've heard them very much and really know the way they sound.
When it comes to singing I think it's easier since everyone have their own voice...
I've been listening quite a lot to music from your lovely country the last few years and I think I would be able to recognize Karine Polwart, Annie Grace amongst others.
And of course Julie Fowlis. I just have to tell you that I am going to see her performing with Jenna Reid and Kevin Mackenzie tomorrow evening :-)
Maybe I would be able to recognize Julie when she's playing the whistles or Jenna on the fiddle, but I'm not sure.
Anyhow I really will enjoy it!
Posts: 556
Posted: 01-Aug-2007 22:41
I would think that the Bramax are fairly distinctive.

They have that 'sound'.....

Shooglenifty are instantly recognisable to me, as are Alasdair Fraser, Savourna Stevenson, Whistlebinkies, Tony McManus, Davy Spillane & Phil Cunningham.

And the sound of a bodhran case being opened.

Posts: 3461
Posted: 01-Aug-2007 22:45
I can usually recognise singers in the first two notes but instrumentalists are a bit more difficult. I can usually only recognise them because I have a particular album and know their playing of that tune!
Posts: 67
Posted: 02-Aug-2007 07:57
Re Lasse: Someone's instrument is their voice, and there is no question that if you have the ear, and have listend to enough music, you can identify a particular sound or style, particularly one that appeals to you.

Try listening to some Aly Bain and see if you can come up with a name of anyone else that it could be....

maris piper
Posts: 12
Posted: 02-Aug-2007 10:42
How about Jerry Douglas's dobro?
Posts: 556
Posted: 02-Aug-2007 10:48
Oh yes! Jerry Douglas - definitely...

forgot about him....

Thanks, maris.

Jim King
Posts: 1086
Posted: 02-Aug-2007 11:35
I've looked here but I can't see a mention of Dick Gaughan? Both guitar style and voice, unmistakeable.

Posts: 2596
Posted: 02-Aug-2007 12:56
Tommy Scott..................

The scourge of the woolly jumper shops

Posts: 221
Posted: 02-Aug-2007 13:12
Mary Smith - would know her singing anywhere.
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