Mac Ile – The Music of Fraser Shaw
On Tuesday June 27, the ‘ Islay Sessioners’ launched their album Mac Ile – The Music of
Fraser Shaw in Bruichladdich Hall on Islay.
As I watched glimpses of the evening via live Facebook feed, it reminded me to sit down and listen to the album.
Fraser Shaw was a wonderful piper, whistle player and composer from Glasgow who resided on Islay.
After his death in May 2015, a group of his friends and family started a trust in his honour.
The foremost aim of the Fraser Shaw Trust is to raise money for the relief of multiple sclerosis, particularly in Argyll, through a series of projects and events celebrating Fraser and his music.
This album, recorded in Cas- tlesound and Carrier Waves Studios, is one such project.
Many of the arrangements heard at Islay Night at Celtic Connections 2016 have been recorded, along with a few additional tracks.
Produced by Duncan Lyall, the album showcases a variety of Fraser’s tunes, as well as compositions by Lori Watson, Adam Sutherland, Laura- Beth Salter and Calum MacCrimmon.
A highlight of the album for me is the work of the string sections – particularly in the tracks Trip to Glasgow and
Air Chall, where there is some stunning chording.
I suppose you cannot go wrong when you have a string section comprising of Duncan Lyall, Adam Sutherland, Eilidh Shaw, Grainne Brady, Lori Watson and Innes Watson.
The latter of these two tracks features the whistle playing of Fraser himself, which serves as a reminder of the amazingly talented man whose music has inspired this whole CD.
Such musical harmony is a prominent feature of the album and is very much to the fore in my favourite track, In
Friendship’s Name, which is heartfelt and powerful.
The level of musicianship on the album is unbelievable.
All those wonderful exponents of traditional music have been brought together by their shared friendship and love of Fraser Shaw; so the words to the aforementioned song certainly ring true: Frien’ship maks us a’ mair happy’ Frien’ship gies us a’ delight; Frien’ship consecrates the drappie, Frien’ship brings us here the night. Happy we are a’ thegither, Happy we’ll be, ane an’ a’; Time shall see us a’ the blyther Ere we rise to gang awa’.
A few years before Fraser’s death, he had it in mind to release a book of his own compositions, the proceeds of which would go towards the MS Care Centre in Lochgilphead. Unfortunately, owing to his illness, this never came to fruition.
Having put together this lovely album, the trust now plans to bring Fraser’s idea to life and release his much anticipated songbook, which will be ready in the autumn and will feature many of the tunes in the album.
Having listened to the great tunes on the CD, I greatly look forward to eventually getting my hands on the tune book. The album is a fitting tribute to a tremendous musician.
Park Bar. Friday: Martainn Skene Saturday: Dodgy Ground Sunday: Beinn Lee Ceilidh Band. Mac Ile, which features many Glasgow-based musicians, was launched last week in Bruichladdich Hall in celebration of Fraser Shaw’s music.