The Navvy of Kinlochleven

from The Road Across the Hills by Gráinne Brady

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The Navvy of Kinlochleven

The navvies worked in harrowing conditions; brutal labour all day, with no safety procedures in place, it was no wonder that injuries, fatal and otherwise, were a regular occurrence. The men worked whatever the weather, ate and slept together, gambled, fought and stole, but were still like kin to one another.
By this stage, even though Dermod had but a rudimentary education, he read voraciously and had begun to write poetry himself.


For me the music of the streams,
The tints of gold on heath and furze,
Where wind-blown gorse clumps shake their spurs,
For me the wonder-world of dreams.

While you are selling at the mart,
Or buying souls to glut your greed,
(To fatten on your brother’s need,)
In lonely ways I dwell apart:

Or when the jewelled carcanet
Of Heaven decks the decks the darkling sky,
Beside the cabin fire I lie
And smoke my soothing cigarette,


from The Road Across the Hills, released February 22, 2019
Music composed by Gráinne Brady with 'A Navvy's Philosophy' by Patrick MacGill

Gráinne Brady – fiddle
Andrew Waite – piano accordion
Innes White – guitar, mandolin
Steve Forman - percussion

Jack Houston – spoken word


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Gráinne Brady Glasgow, UK

Gráinne Brady is a Glasgow based fiddle player and composer, originally from Co. Cavan, Ireland.

"Irish/Scottish and contemporary influences infuse Brady’s vibrant rhythms and rich lyrical patterns, illuminating peaks and troughs of the emigrant experience and the extremities of poverty. Arrangements evoke both adversity and lively inner strength." Bryony Hegarty, RnR Magazine 5*****
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