Mac Ile – The Mu­sic of Fraser Shaw

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

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.

Pub scene

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.

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