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Deaf Shepherd

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  • Years Active: 1990s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Scottish band Deaf Shepherd built its repertoire by combining its country's traditional songs with newer works, many of which have been written by bandmembers. The band is adept at combining traditions from all corners of Scotland, thanks to group members who represent the Lowlands, the Highlands, the Hebrides, and Glasgow. There's even an Irishman in their midst, Mark Maguire, who plays percussion and bodhran. The remainder of the lineup is composed of Rory Campbell on whistles and pipes; fiddlers Clare McLaughlin and Marianne Campbell, who is Rory Campbell's sister; lead singer and guitarist John Morran; and bouzouki player Malcolm Stitt. Deaf Shepherd has appeared at such festivals as the Fringe in Edinburgh and Glasgow's Celtic Connections, as well as other folk festivals staged in Skagen, Cambridge, and Shetland.

When the group's second album, Synergy, was released in 1997, it was listed among the year's best albums by the Travelling Folk show, which is aired by BBC Radio Scotland. Bouzouki player Stitt, the son of a bandleader and accordionist, is one of the original members of Deaf Shepherd. He also helped found another band, Tannas. As a youth, he first played the bagpipes and went on to become a trophy-winning bagpiper before taking up other musical instruments. He has appeared on more than 30 recordings by a variety of artists, among them Boys of the Lough, a group he also belongs to. Stitt also records as a solo artist, and he has produced a record for Leo McCann. Lead singer Morran is often asked to lecture on Scottish traditional music. He has recorded with Dougie MacLean, and is included in a project spearheaded by Linn Records to commit the songs of Robert Burns to record. Fiddler McLaughlin came to the band in 1994. In addition to her duties with Deaf Shepherd, she performs solo, as well as in cMc, a duo she formed with Marianne Campbell.

The Campbell siblings' musical talents were encouraged and nurtured by their family, including a father who was celebrated for his singing and piping. Marianne Campbell also performs with a few other artists, and was part of a collaboration that produced the self-titled album Cantycheils. She joined the group a year after McLaughlin, while her brother was involved since the group's inception. Rory Campbell also has worked with Caledon and Fred Morrison's band, the Big Spree. He put out a solo album in 1996. Two years later, he and Stitt recorded the album Field of Bells, and followed up with Nusa. He composes, and also belongs to the band Old Blind Dogs. Irishman Maguire, who spent time in the U.S. as a bodhran instructor, came to the group in 1997. He is an All-Irish Bodhran Champion and an All-Irish Drum Champion. He won the latter title eight times.