From the recording Our Living Rivers and Glens
The Wells of Dee are the source of the River Dee in the high Cairngorm Mountains. They are a wonder. There are great fissures in the plutonic rock, granite, beneath the surface and the water wells up through these cracks, then collates in various small burns before cascading dramatically over the steep cliff edge into the rough corrie, 'Garbh Corrie’. The burn becomes lost underground for a while shortly after but remerges at the Pools of Dee (two naturally dammed mini-lochs in the great steep glen of the Laraig Ghru). From these pools the River Dee is fully established and begins to make its way down and down into Aberdeenshire. It becomes one of the most iconic rivers in Scotland. The rising and falling arcs in the opening phrases of the melody are to mimic water burbling up from the earth and tumbling down the rocks. This phrase reappears at different heights/pitches later on in the tune. The B-part starts with a phrase whose melody notes each spell out the river’s name “D.E.E.". The sound sample used at the beginning is by Helen Needham - a lovely field recordings of the burbling Wells of Dee. In the middle I have heavily proceeded this sample with delays, pitch-shifts and reverbs to try to capture the imagined noise of the water deep within in the granite rock before it surfaces. The final samples of the river are by Jane Shears (of River Dee a lot further downriver when it starts to roar) and Su-a Lee (of the River Spey outside my house in Grantown-on-Spey at dawn in Spring during the lockdown in 2020, and you can hear all the birds singing). The piece finishes on an unresolved chord with the D.E.E. notes of melody fading into the distance.