Album of the Week – James Duncan Mackenzie ‘Fìbhig’

Written by on March 6, 2022

This sparkling James Duncan Mackenzie album was two years in the making and has emerged as a collection that captures the atmosphere of his Isle of Lewis home.

An acclaimed piper, wooden flute and whistle player, James wrote and mostly recorded Fìbhig – named after a small village on the west side of the Isle of Lewis near where he lives – at home over a two-year period like no other.

The ten tunes here are inspired by place, people and island life.

A graduate of the University of the Highlands and Islands and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, he joined the contemporary folk and hugely popular band, Breabach, with whom he stayed till the beginning of 2020.

James is currently a member of Tryst, a 10-piece bagpipe group made up of some of Scotland’s most well-known pipers and composers. 

On Fibhig, he is joined by Alasdair White – Fiddle; John Lowrie: Piano, Harmonium; Luc Mcnally: Guitar, Bouzouki; Innes White: GuitarAllan Nairn: Melodeon and vocals from Katie Mackenzie.

Backing vocals were provided by: Calum Alex Macmillan, Fiona J Mackenzie, Seonaidh Macintyre, Cristin Mackenzie, Eilidh Cormack and Innes White.

Additional recording was completed by Innes White and Keir Long at Gloworm studio with mixing and mastering by Scott Wood at Oak ridge studio – and James produced the album.

One reviewer wrote: “Fìbhig is a perfect escape from our turbulent world and a new jewel in James Duncan Mackenzie’s crown of musical king of the Hebrides, a highly recommended release that will allow many people to travel from their own living room to these remote outskirts of the British Isles and to appreciate their uniqueness.”

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