'Airs' is a beautiful album of relaxing, traditional Scottish tunes with some special compositions by the unique talent of pianist Mhairi Hall. It's a sea of tranquility amidst turbulent times.
Sit back, feet up, glass in hand, and take time out to relax and listen to ‘Airs’ – a contemporary piano album of timeless melodies. The Steinway quality is unmistakable, and Mhairi Hall’s skills exemplary. These melodies evoke Celtic landscapes – as echoed in the accompanying artwork – reflective, peaceful, tranquil.
Who remembers the famous ‘Sea of Tranquility’ album by Phil Coulter? It sold around the world and was an unexpected hit. Why? Sometimes people just need to step out of the mad world and seek solace in the serenity of pure piano music. And that’s what Mhairi Hall has done here. She invites us to stand still, and just listen. With all today’s societal upheaval, that could be no bad thing.
A mixture of personal compositions and traditional airs, the resulting nine tracks are as sublime as it gets. Opening track ‘A Peak Apart’, Mhairi’s own composition, is simply beautiful. ‘Lullaby For Eilidh’ is just that; a gorgeous, melodic lullaby that gently rocks like the ebb and flow of the sea.
This is Mhairi Hall’s first solo album. Previous releases with her trio, ‘Cairngorm’ (which saw her take a grand piano to the top of Cairngorm Mountain to mark its release), and ‘Contour of Cairngorm’ confirmed her as one of Scotland’s most innovative and dynamic pianists. She was recently awarded the 2020 Ignition Award for Innovation in Music from Hands Up for Trad.
She recorded on a Model D Steinway Concert Grand Piano in Crear Space to Create, Argyll during an Autumn storm in 2018; truly the calm amidst the storm. The resulting traditional Scottish melodies sit side by side her own compositions, ageless in time and space.
‘Airs’ was mixed in Gorbals Sound Ltd., Glasgow, with Kevin Burleigh and mastered by Zino Mikorey in Berlin. It is clear that attention to detail has been adhered to tirelessly. Even the atmospheric and stunning artwork has been tuned to match. Mhairi collaborated with artist Beth Robertson Fiddes, who accompanied her throughout the process, taking inspiration from the creative process.
As a showcase for the record, the final track says it all; ‘The Parting Glass’ as you’ve never heard it before. Simply beautiful.