Re­port on the Lewis and Har­ris

The Oban Times - - LEISURE -

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.

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