Award-winning Orcadian fiddle and mandolin player Graham Rorie has announced his debut solo album The Orcadians of Hudson Bay, which is set for release on Friday 28 May 2021.
Graham has brought together a selection of Glasgow based musicians to present a suite of self-composed music, inspired by his fellow Orcadians who travelled to The Hudson’s Bay Company in Northern Canada to make a living in the fur industry during the 18th and 19th centuries. The port of Stromness, located in the West Mainland of Orkney, was the last stop for ships leaving Britain before they crossed the Atlantic Ocean. The Orcadians, who were used to living and working in a harsh climate at home, became popular employees of the company formed by French explorers Pierre-Esprit and Médard Chouart Des Groseilliers. By 1800, 79% of The Hudson’s Bay Company’s employees were from Orkney.
The all-star house band includes Graham Rorie’s on Orcadian fiddle and electric tenor guitar, James Lindsay on double bass, Kristan Harvey on fiddle, Padruig Morrison on accordion, Rory Matheson on piano and Signy Jakobsdottir on drums and percussion. The premier of Graham’s exciting project took place at Celtic Connections 2020, with a sold-out headline show that featured collaborations with Quebec’s Le Vent Du Nord.
A culmination of four years of researching and writing, Graham’s body of work was shortlisted for ‘Original Work of The Year’ at the Scots Trad Music Awards making The Orcadians of Hudson Bay a highly anticipated album release.
Graham said, “The subject of this project is one that has amazed me since I was a little boy growing up in Orkney. The historic links that the people from my hometown had with the area in which they went to work and how much this is reflected in the culture of both Orkney and Hudson Bay today is extraordinary. At a time when culture wasn’t shared as widely as it is now, the huge movement of people from Orkney to the frozen north has created a legacy of shared cultural influences that can still be felt today and so I couldn’t think of a better way to tell this fascinating story than through music.
“As a debut album, this is an incredibly exciting step for me in my career and I am absolutely thrilled that it is showcasing a subject that I have a great passion for, as well as being influenced by the music and culture of my native Orkney. The fact I have been able to work with some of my favourite musicians and creatives has made it all the more special and I hope everyone enjoys listening to the album as much as I have enjoyed researching, writing and recording it.”
A graduate from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Graham has gone on to tour worldwide as a founding member of award-winning folk quartet Gnoss, who were shortlisted for ‘Album of the Year’ at the Scots Trad Awards in 2019.
While still in the early stages of his career, Graham is paving his way as a musician in his own right and was a finalist in the 2021 BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year. With a wealth of talent and experience, he has quickly become a sought-after performer, composer, session musician and producer within the Scottish folk scene.
Hailing from Orkney, Graham Rorie has featured on albums for an array of folk musicians including Red Hot Chilli Piper’s Dougie McCance, BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award 2017 winners Josie Duncan and Pablo Lafuente, and 2018 MG alba Scot’s Singer of the Year Iona Fyfe. Graham has appeared at many international festivals over the years including Celtic Connections festival, Celtic Colours, Festival Interceltique de Lorient and Celtica Valle D’Aosta.
The Orcadians of Hudson Bay will be available to buy on CD and download on Bandcamp as well as via all other major platforms on Friday, 28 May 2021. Download information is available here: https://ffm.to/theorcadiansofhudsonbay.opr.
Photo Credits: (1),(3),(4) Graham Rorie, (2) Gnoss, (5) James Lindsay, (6) Padruig Morrison, (7) Kristan Harvey (unknown/website).