Donald Black doesn’t disappoint in concert
DONALD Black was on flying form at his concert last Friday, September 18.
I’ve known Donald for years and, until last Friday, had never seen him live, so I was thoroughly looking forward to the evening.
Donald certainly didn’t disappoint. Armed with an array of mouth organs, and backed by Martainn Skene on piano and accordion and Donnie Mackenzie on guitar, he put on a great show.
Donald is always quick to praise his backing band. Himself and Donnie Mackenzie are old friends who have toured the world together over many years.
Donald spoke highly of Martainn who he said was ‘new to the scene’. He praised his musicianship and, most of all, his playing of the older style of tunes which are so often ignored by a generation keen to play modern compositions.
Donnie and Martainn made a great backline.
Both halves of the evening were opened by another friend of Donald’s - Roddy Campbell from Barra.
Roddy sang a selection of Gaelic songs and played a few sets of pipe tunes on the electric chanter.
The highlight for me came at the end of the concert when Donald played the Gaelic slow air ‘Gruagach Òg an Fhuillt Bhàin’, surely one of the most beautiful tunes the world has ever heard.
The whole audience began singing - lead by Roddy - passionately belting out the Barra song from his front row seat.
Donald later confessed that his usual arrangement is to change the key of the piece halfway through but, such was the beauty of the audience’s singing, he decided to remain in the same key to allow them to carry on. It was a great moment.
With the tone that he produces from the mouth organ, when it comes to slow Gaelic airs, I don’t think Donald Black can be beaten.