The Sound Cafe
Scottish Multi-Instrumentalist James Bauld To Release Debut Album 'Where I Belong'
Highland composer, flute, whistle and piano player James Bauld is set to release his uplifting debut album Where I Belong, showcasing the wooden flute, on Friday 10th March 2023.
Originally from the Highlands of Scotland and having studied music at Plockton’s National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music, and then the University of the Highlands of Islands, James is now based in Glasgow. Where I Belong explores the themes of travel, finding where you feel accepted, and how you make your own home wherever you choose. The album follows James’ self-titled EP which was released in 2020.
The album features 10 thoughtful and original compositions built around the wooden flute, an instrument which isn’t as commonly heard in Scottish traditional music as it is in other Celtic areas such as Ireland and Brittany.
James explained: “Learning the wooden flute wasn’t even an option for me growing up, even though it’s such a beautiful instrument and features heavily in Celtic traditional music from other countries. I wanted to make an album that showcases its unique sound and how it can fit into music that has originated here in Scotland.
This album combines composition techniques I have learned from working on music from many different genres, while keeping the core, strong, traditional-style melodies. I’ve been lucky enough to work with and learn from some fantastic musicians who have influenced me and the sound of this album, allowing the wooden flute to take centre stage.”
James is joined on the album by Michael Biggins on piano, Euan McLaughlin on bouzouki, Lauren MacDonald on drums and percussion, Callum Cronin on double bass, Chloe Bryce on fiddle, and Zak Younger Banks on guitar.
The tracks on Where I Belong are named after James’ experiences and memories both in Scotland and further afield in recent years, all linked by the idea that a sense of belonging is not connected with a place, but instead about the company you travel with.
James continues: “For me, home is not a physical location, but rather much more about experiences - what I’m doing and who I have around me, experiencing the kindness of strangers and feeling a sense of belonging even in unfamiliar places.”
The lead single ‘Out For The Rain’ was inspired by a trip to Bucharest, where, on the last night of James’ visit, the city experienced its first rainfall in months and James was invited by locals to join them for drinks outside in the rain - an experience far removed from rainy Scotland!
‘Bajram Curri To Shkoder’ was inspired by the hospitality James received from local families while travelling in Albania, while ‘Final Steps To The Water Of Leith’ takes inspiration from closer to home, when James took part in an ultramarathon which, after 58 miles, concluded with over 60 stairs at the Water of Leith.
The second single from the album, ‘Holding It In’, details an eventful last-minute trip to France, where James travelled during his studies to buy a second-hand flute and had to finish his third year university submissions while on the move, a stressful experience he now sees as worthwhile for the memories and inspiration, as well as the flute.
Since releasing his EP in 2020, James has performed at Cambridge Folk Festival, Belladrum, Eden Court Under Canvas, and has headlined at folk clubs around the central belt. He was also commissioned to write music for the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland.
Where I Belong was recorded at the Barras in Glasgow, mixed by Euan Burton at GloWorm studios, and mastered by Gordon Gunn at Caithness Mix Room.
James will be touring to celebrate the release of his debut album, performing at Skye Bridge Studios on Friday 10th March, at Embo School House as part of Sutherland Sessions on Saturday 11th March, and at Saint Luke’s, Glasgow on Saturday 8th April.
Where I Belong will be available to buy on CD and to stream and download on all major digital platforms on Friday 10th March 2023.
Link Tree: linktr.ee/Jamesbauld