Karen is a master of all three Scottish harps – the warm sounding modern gut-strung lever harp, the clear ringing wire-strung clarsach of the Highlands and Gaelic culture, and the Baroque bray harp with its buzzing sitar-like effect – and she features each of them, as well as whistle on one track, across the album. Deeply influenced by the piping tradition and particularly pibroch, Karen has honed her style through playing with Allan MacDonald of the famous Glenuig piping family, and in Boys of the Lough founder Cathal McConnell’s trio.
Karen’s passion for pipe music is highlighted in the pibroch, The Battle of the Bridge of Perth (Ceann Drochaid Pheairt) with its phrasing closely resembling piping techniques, and in the classic 6/8 pipe march PM Donald MacLean of Lewis. Her compositional talent materialises on tunes written for people and places, including Helen’s Farewell, Isabel Gow’s Welcome to Edinburgh and The Road to Kennacraig itself. With tunes spanning over 400 years, this first solo album, recorded at Temple Studios and produced by Robin Morton shows Karen is a highly accomplished player of traditional music and a fine composer of tunes in a living tradition.