Report on the Lewis and Harris
I am on tour in England with Tide Lines at the moment and, therefore, could not attend the Lewis and Harris annual gathering last Friday evening in the Glasgow University Union.
Thankfully, Donnie Maroot was the chairman and kindly surmised the evening for me:
‘Association piper Ross Mackay kicked the evening off in fine style, his version of An Eala Bhan perfectly setting the scene for a great concert, and then the Donald Black Band were throughly enjoyed by the audience.
‘Skye icon Arthur Cormack paid tribute to his Long Island roots with a well-chosen and fantastically delivered set, including Eilean na Hearadh and Eilean Fraoich.
‘Ainsley Hamill went down a storm, her silky vocals accompanied sympathetically by Martainn Skene on songs like Eilean Beag Donn a Chuain. Unfortunately, ill health meant one of the performers had to cancel shortly before the concert but Tiree double Mòd Gold Medal winner Domhnall-Iain Brown was able to deputise.
‘I had pretended to the audience that, because one of the artists had to cancel, this was my big opportunity to sing at the Lewis and Harris, and was preparing to belt out You Are My Sunshine to the audience! At that point, D-I was whisked onto the stage: a much more fitting replacement! He sang the same song as the original artist had intended to (Fill O-Ro), and then a tribute to the Iolaire disaster which had been written by a bard from Tiree.
‘There was a slight delay before our next performer, Joanie Morrison, was able to get to the stage. Only one thing for it – I got the audience to join me in a round of You Are My Sunshine.
‘I should add that, at the end of the concert, one of the audience members made a beeline for me. With nearly a tear in her eye, she explained that 57 years ago that night she met her husband at the Lewis and Harris, and their song was always You Are My Sunshine!
‘Joanie’s performance was yet another highlight of the evening, her stunning vocals evident on Carlabhagh and on Oran an Iolaire was a most poignant tribute in this centenary year.
‘Each year, the Cuach Comunn Leodhais agus Na Hearadh Ghlaschu is presented to an individual or group which has brought honour to themselves or the island. The worthy recipient this year was D R Macdonald, whose fundraising for the Bethesda Hospice in Stornoway demonstrated almost superhuman determination and ability.
‘It was great to hear D R speak so passionately yet modestly about his incredible work. It was a brilliant evening of entertainment, and a packed hall to enjoy it. Credit must go to the Glasgow Lewis and Harris Association for organising such a wonderful concert.’
Donald MacLeod with Angela MacDonald from the association.