Chi Mi - Inyal

Chi Mi - Inyal

Hamish Macleod

I feel this piece I created alongside my band, INYAL, strongly reflects the values of tradition and identity. In its original form, Chi Mi, Chi Mi Fada Bhuam was a waulking song from the Outer Hebrides which would be sung by women working the tweed. While many of the band members possess a deep personal connection to the islands and their unique traditional cultures, we all reside in Glasgow now and are no less connected to the rhythms and the shape of modern Scotland. 

It is difficult to reconcile a fondness for two cultures which often seem completely opposed. By reinterpreting traditional material, we aimed to create a coherent work which represented to us a distillation of both cultures – something which belonged to neither the traditional world nor the alternative underground, and yet was identifiable as a product of both. 

By consulting tradition bearers such as Isebail Macdonald, we ensured that the roots of the song were not compromised when constructing our own arrangement, as we felt it vital that it retained the hallmarks of the Gaelic tradition even when presented as a distinct work, intended to offer a vision of how an ancient culture could be renewed without dilution.