Liza Mulholland releases her first solo music cd – Fine ‘n’ Rosy in September 2016
“From the moment this album opens with the utterly infectious hooks of ‘Took My Breath Away’ you’re held in its grasp. From there on every single song pulls at your feelings, moves your heart and touches your soul, an experience leaving you bound up in her music. The tunes are a joyous delight.” FolkWords, 23rd September 2016
Born and brought up in Inverness, Liza has been involved in folk music for many years. Although classically trained in piano, her family background of a big Glasgow-Irish clan of musicians and singers on her father’s side, and the Gaelic song tradition of her mother’s Isle of Lewis heritage, inevitably meant a strong pull towards the folk scene. After graduating from Glasgow University in Scottish History and Sociology, Liza played in some of the city’s piano bars, toured Britain, Ireland and France in the 1990s with folk/country band, CirMhor, including supporting American comedian, the late Bill Hicks, on his British tour, and went on to work with many diverse musicians.
Playing with the Deaf Heights Cajun Aces, fiddler Bruce MacGregor of Blazin‘ Fiddles, Gaelic singers Fiona MacKenzie and Brian O h Eadhra, cellist Christine Hanson, the Peyote Family, Davy Cowan And The Stormchasers, Andy Gunn’s blues band and others, she has played on many albums, and her tunes and songs have been recorded by Bruce MacGregor and her own band, Dorec-a-belle.
Fine ‘n’ Rosy is an intimate album on which Liza brings together some top players, including her cousin, Rua Macmillan, winner of BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician Of the Year 2009, Alasdair Taylor of the Folk Award-winning band, The Elephant Sessions, and Robin Abbot of The Mystic Shoes.
This intimate album comprises reflective ballads such as On The Road and title track, Fine ‘n’ Rosy, a dreamy lullaby – Cadal Sàmhach – for her son, uptempo songs with catchy choruses, to inditing commentaries on war and domestic abuse. These subjects war are tackled with unflinching emotional power: Took My Breath Away, tells of a controlling relationship that degenerates into coercion and violence (this song was previously released as a download single with all proceeds going to Inverness Women’s Aid), whilst How Many More Willie McBrides? – written during the height of the war on Iraq and one of ten winning songs in the International Songs For Change Competition – takes its inspiration from Eric Bogle’s No Man’s Land and asks, in this year of the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, and as we witness ever-greater horrors in Syria, when will humanity end war and slaughter, and learn to live in peaceful co-existence.
All are complemented by rollicking, rootsy, trad-style tunes and atmospheric instrumentals. With instrumentation including accordion, piano, fiddle, double bass, guitar, mandolin, percussion, autoharp, tin whistle and banjolele, over Liza’s vocals, there is a richly satisfying layering of textures and colours. All are self-penned except the Gaelic classic, Mi Le M’ Uilinn, composed by her great uncle, Murdo MacFarlane, the Melbost Bard. Keen to make this track a family affair and their own small tribute to Murdo, Liza has brought in siblings and cousins to sing harmony vocals, and given that all the cousins on the album are descended from one small croft at No. 2 Calbost, South Lochs, on the Isle of Lewis, it is clearly a labour of love.
Elsewhere Liza takes her inspiration from nature, her love of the Isle of Colonsay and her many adventures in music.
Liza has taught at numerous Feisean and is a regular tutor with Feis Rois’s YMI programme and Artsplay Highland’s early years music project. In January 2017 she put together the music and literary show, Stand And Stare, premiered at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections Festival.