Glas­gow Let­ter

The Oban Times - - LEISURE - ROBERT ROBERT­SON robert.d.robert­son@hot­

LAST week, I was driv­ing along Dum­bar­ton Road and had to pull over to lis­ten to a track that moved me sig­nif­i­cantly.

The track was Don­ald Black’s stun­ning ar­range­ment of MacCrim­mon’s Lament (fea­tur­ing Don­ald’s own pas­sion­ate har­mon­ica play­ing along­side the un­mis­tak­able ge­nius of Run­rig’s Mal­colm Jones on gui­tar) and is from Don­ald’s new al­bum.

The tune has al­ways been one of my favourites, and the sound of the track re­minded me of Mal­colm and Don­ald’s Close to Home al­bum re­leased in 2000.

It soon be­came clear that the whole al­bum is bet­ter en­joyed away from the car stereo - at least the first time round. Such is the vast ar­ray of mu­si­cians in­volved that I find my­self con­stantly re­fer­ring to the book­let to iden­tify the player re­spon­si­ble for a par­tic­u­lar sound at a par­tic­u­lar point - some­thing that can be­come quite dan­ger­ous while driv­ing.

The huge cast on the al­bum makes for a rich and di­verse mu­si­cal tim­bre and also encapsulates last­ing friend­ships made by Don­ald through­out the world. Don­ald told me him­self that he is de­lighted to have in­cluded in the project dear friends and mu­si­cians for whom he has huge re­spect.

He has done this be­cause his in­ten­tion was for the al­bum to be per­sonal and heart­felt - hence the ti­tle Bho m’ Chridhe, mean­ing From My Heart.

Don­ald’s heart and mind are im­mersed in the mu­si­cal traditions of his na­tive Ar­gyll­shire and this is beau­ti­fully ev­i­dent through­out the CD. He col­lab­o­rates with multi-instrumentalist Màr­tainn Skene from Lochaber for a num­ber of sets (in­clud­ing a crack­ing set of 2/4s with only box and har­mon­ica) and with the Ness Melo­di­ans for a fine set of Gaelic waltzes. Those ar­range­ments, as Don­ald writes him­self in the sleeve notes, are ‘de­lib­er­ately in the old style’.

While such tracks are stead­fastly tra­di­tional, oth­ers are quite the op­po­site - dis­play­ing Don­ald’s re­mark­able mu­si­cal ver­sa­til­ity. A real high­light of the al­bum is Don­ald’s duet on Blair Douglas’s beau­ti­ful New Is­land Waltz with Nashville’s Char­lie McCoy, the most recorded mouth- or­gan player in his­tory.

The moothie duo are backed on this track by the su­perb coun- try western-style elec­tric gui­tar play­ing of Sk­er­ryvore’s Alec Dal­glish. There is also a Cana­dian in­flu­ence on many of the tracks from the pi­ano play­ing of Mario Col­losimo from Cape Bre­ton.

While Don­ald’s heart is un­doubt­edly filled with the tra­di­tional mu­sic of the High­lands, this al­bum (which will be launched next month) is a re­minder that he also holds a special place for in­ter­na­tional mu­sic and friend­ship. It is well worth get­ting a hold of.

What’s on

Fri­day April 28: The Glas­gow Uist and Barra As­so­ci­a­tion ceilidh dance in the Craw­ford Hall, Beith Street. Fri­day April 28: An evening with Stir­ling Gaelic Choir in the Vic­to­ria Hall, Dun­blane, 7.30pm-10pm. Satur­day April 29: The Glas­gow Skye As­so­ci­a­tion an­nual spring con­cert ( Wee Skye), in the Craw­ford Hall, Beith Street. Thurs­day May 11: Co­munn-anTaobh-an-Iar an­nual gen­eral meet­ing in the El­lan­gowan So­cial Club, Mil­ngavie. Thurs­day May 18: Don­ald Black al­bum launch in the College of Pip­ing, Otago Street. Fri­day May 26: The Uist and Barra As­so­ci­a­tion an­nual gen­eral meet­ing in Lour­des Se­condary School. Wed­nes­day June 7: The Glas­gow Skye As­so­ci­a­tion an­nual gen­eral meet­ing in Partick Burgh Hall. Fri­day June 9: The Glas­gow Skye As­so­ci­a­tion end of ses­sion so­cial in the Red­hurst Ho­tel, Giffnock.

Don­ald Black.

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