Watercolour Music's studios in Lochaber have been at the heart of a huge range and number of recordings, many of them award-winners. The Studios are run by husband and wife team Nick Turner and Mary Ann Kennedy.
Mary Ann Kennedy has spent her life surrounded by music – from earliest memories of her family rehearsing in the front room at nights, through a hothouse classical musical training - and a brief diversion running the BBC’s Gaelic news service - to her world today as musician, singer, broadcaster, writer, choral director, composer and producer.
A member of the ‘first family of Gaelic music’, the Campbell dynasty of singers from Greepe in the Isle of Skye, she is never happier than when making music with other folk. Mary Ann can count amongst her awards the Mòd gold medal ‘double’; twice Lorient international harp champion; Celtic Media Festival Radio Presenter of the Year; winner, with Cliar, of the ‘all-time’ best album at the Scots Trad Music Awards, and - with the Campbells - of Gaelic Book of the Year and the Arts & Culture prize at the first-ever National Gaelic Awards. Her writing continues with a commission from the Gaelic Books Council for a collection of her choral works, ‘Coireal’.
Mary Ann is currently working on two very personal solo albums – one of songs of the Glasgow Gael and a retrospective of the song-settings she has created for words by poets Iain Crichton Smith, Sorley MacLean, Catriona Montgomery, Angus Peter Campbell and others, including herself.
When life is quiet on the performance front, Mary Ann still finds time to broadcast her personal blend of world and roots on BBC Radio 3 on Friday nights, as well as regular TV anchoring roles for some of Scotland’s premier musical events including the National Mòd and the Scots Trad Music Awards.
Nick Turner has worked in the music industry for over twenty years as sound artist, producer, engineer, performer and writer. He founded Watercolour Music in Lochaber in 1994, building the business up from a single-room recording studio in a disused hotel function suite to its current position as one of the country’s most sought-after recording locations in new, purpose-built premises in Ardgour, Lochaber, overlooking Loch Linnhe and Ben Nevis.
Nick divides his time between production and recording commissions at Watercolour Music’s studios, and his own creative and writing projects. At Watercolour, he has been responsible for a vast number of recordings across the musical spectrum, from indie, hip hop, pop and rock to classical and folk.
As a producer and engineer, he has worked with a wide variety of world-class musicians and producers. His reputation is founded on a keen ear for detail coupled with an ability to place recorded sound in a natural ambient setting.
He has engineered and co-produced many albums and TV series with his partner, Mary Ann Kennedy and as a prolific songwriter Nick has collaborated over the years with several singers, including Findlay Napier as Queen Anne’s Revenge. His interest in sound production and recording has expanded to a long-term exploration of the relationship between the natural world and music composition and performance, from in-situ recordings of pibroch in their places of origin and inspiration, to re-creating the natural soundscape of a frozen Highland landscape within the confines of a Regency library.
Recent projects include the recording and production of the soundtrack to the feature-length film version of ‘An Drochaid: The Bridge Rising’ – the first major collaboration between Creative Scotland and MG ALBA. He also oversaw the production of ‘Aiseag’, Watercolour’s commission as part of the Commonwealth Games/ PRSF New Music Biennial 2014 – a collaborative composition between lead artist Mary Ann Kennedy, Canadian composer Scott MacMillan, poet Aonghas MacNeacail and Nick as audio designer.