Glas­gow Let­ter

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

A Night of Gaelic Song

Last Thurs­day night, I at­tended Bin­neas nam Ban – a con­cert in the stun­ning Kelvin­side Hill­head Parish Church fo­cused upon songs by fe­male bards.

The evening be­gan with the new trio, Sian, con­sist­ing of Eilidh Cor­mack, Ellen MacDon­ald, and Ceitlin LR Smith.

Each of those three girls have very unique voices and to­gether they make a phe­nom­e­nal sound. Their har­monies, par­tic­u­larly in the beau­ti­ful love song, Cùl

do Chinn, were breath­tak­ing. They per­formed one of their faster songs as a round and this ex­cit­ing form of har­mony cre­ated an ef­fect whereby each in­di­vid­ual voice be­came in­dis­tin­guish­able as they all sang dif­fer­ent stages of the melody.

Ceitlin joked af­ter­wards that this had taken days of re­hearsal to mas­ter! Af­ter the break (dur­ing which glasses of Pimms were served – an idea which I am fully in favour of see­ing more of­ten at such ceilidhs!) the au­di­ence were treated to the top- class vo­cals ev­ery­one ex­pects of Kath­leen MacInnes and Mar­garet Ste­wart.

The two ladies would sing a song or two each be­fore al­low­ing the other singer onto the stage in a lovely nat­u­ral style – although, on one oc­ca­sion, Mar­garet did have to walk on­stage and shoo Kath­leen off!

One high­light was Kath­leen’s ren­di­tion of Maraiche nan

Cuan­tan writ­ten by Flora MacPhail from Tiree.

Kath­leen told some hu­mor­ous sto­ries about hav­ing met Eachann MacPhail (Flora’s late hus­band about whom the song was writ­ten), and spoke of Flora’s lovely per­son­al­ity – some­thing which any­one who has met Flora can at­test to.

An­other high­light was Mar­garet Ste­wart’s mas­tery of the epic Gaoir nam Bàn Mul­lach. Mar­garet’s pure voice in par­tic­u­lar suited the acous­tic of the Church and I could have lis­tened to her in there all night.

The evening fin­ished with a beau­ti­ful lament sung to­gether by all the singers – joined, as they had been through­out the night, by In­grid Hen­der­son on Clarsach, Jen But­ter­worth on gui­tar, and Shona Mas­son on fid­dle. It was a beau­ti­ful end­ing to a su­perb con­cert.

Don­ald Ewen Ma­cLean: Jan­uary 2, 1953-June 9, 2017

On Mon­day June 19, the fu­neral ser­vice of Don­ald Ewen Ma­cLean was held in St John’s Ren­field Church. Don­nie was orig­i­nally from Iochdar, South Uist, and lived in Glas­gow. It was al­ways a great joy to bump into him as I of­ten did in the Park Bar. He was a won­der­ful char­ac­ter who al­ways had time for a blether, and the ser­vice re­flected this per­fectly. The church was packed with Don­nie’s nu­mer­ous friends from the West High­lands and Is­lands as well as a re­mark­able at- ten­dance from his col­leagues at Bar­lin­nie prison. As the cof­fin was car­ried out at the end of the ser­vice, Camp­bell Brown (a close friend of Don­nie’s) played the poignant An

Ataireachd Àrd on the ac­cor­dion, be­fore go­ing into the up­beat Kishorn Com­man­dos. I am sure Don­nie (who was a Kishorn Com­mando him­self, and a great fol­lower of tra­di­tional mu­sic) would have smiled at the choice of tune. My thoughts are with his daugh­ters Ruth and Sarah at this time. He was a true is­land gentle­man who will be greatly missed.

Pub Scene

Park Bar. Fri­day June 30: North 56 Satur­day July 1: Gunna Sound Is­lay Inn. Fri­day June 30: Black Vel­vet Satur­day June 1: The Keel­ies

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