Norma Munro is a well known singer on Islay and in other parts of Scotland and Europe. She mainly performs on Islay as well as on several foreign Scottish related festivals and concerts. She released her first album in the summer of 2001. The title 'A song in the Air' is taken from the most famous Islay song 'Westering Home'. The album features many of the most popular Scottish songs and some of her own favourites. Not soon after that, she recorded her second CD (in 2005) called 'Scotia's Gold' which has a selection of Scottish traditional and some more contemporary folk songs. It was recorded on Islay by Hamish Campbell. A few weeks ago Norma Munro sent me her latest CD called 'The Rose' and of course I was curious what it would sound like. She already announced in October that her new CD was due in December but things don't always go as planned, therefore we had to wait until March. The regular visitors of Islay certainly know Norma and her music and I'm sure most of them have one or more of her CD's in their collection. If this is the first time you have heard about Norma, I'd like to give you a wee introduction:
It was towards the end of 1970 that I bought my first guitar and a book of chords. I had always loved singing and had discovered folk music in the form of Archie Fisher, Barbara Dickson, and Rab Noakes. Joan Baez and Judy Collins were also favourites. About ten months later, I was offered a spot singing on a BBC Radio Scotland programme called 'For Your Entertainment'. I then started singing regularly at my local folk club which, at that time, was in Forfar. There came another lull in my singing until moving to the lovely island of Islay in 1994. A desire to escape the 'rat race' prompted the move. Islay is a beautiful and diverse island, famous for its wonderful single malt whiskies amongst other delights. Such is the social scene on Islay, it wasn't long before I was singing at ceilidhs, concerts and fund-raising events. Continue reading......When I asked Norma how she would best describe her new CD she said: "It is a mixture of songs from one side of the Atlantic to the other. From east to west of Scotland. Of love, hardship and joy." On her CD she writes: "The aim has been to keep this album as natural as possible so there is very little backing to be heard. It's mainly me and my guitar." When I listened to it for the first time, I immediately liked it because it perfectly fits into the genre she knows how to play so well and at the same time is somehow different. Though I am not a music critic or even a musician, it seems to me that Norma's style has grown to a higher level. It takes quite some experience and confidence to make a recording of mainly traditional folk music with only your voice and a guitar. This, however, is exactly what Norma did on her new cd. She performs well known songs such as 'The Massacre of Glencoe', 'Colours', 'Scotland will rise again', 'The Yellow on the Broom' and the all time classic 'The Rose' and, at least for me, some new and very enjoyable songs such as 'Just a little Rain' and 'You can't stay Here'. To me her new album sounds like a private live recording, nothing more and just the way we like Norma Munro performing on Islay, sitting on a chair, behind the microphone with the guitar on her knees. - I'm glad to have this new album in my collection and for me it is "A beautiful Rose without a thorn" which I can highly recommend.
Norma's new album can be bought in several shops on Islay, directly from Norma and also online at the Islay Shop for only Â£10. I have created three MP3 files of each 30 seconds for you to enjoy.
Listen to three of the new tracks (30 seconds) from Norma's new album in the Media Gallery or use the separate links below, which will open your MP3 player in a new window