Time to catch up on this increadibly neglected blog! I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I posted anything on here, anyway – Happy New Year, it’s 2016 and also time for a new web site for me!
Looking back at the Diary, there has been a lot happening in 2015 – it finished off there with a quick trip to Barra with the Ceol An Aire Ceilidh Band which was a lot of fun, despite the weather, and then my regular gig at the Ardenasaig Hotel on Loch Awe. Earlier on in December I was thrilled to be nominated in the Scots Trad Music Awards for my podcast/internet radio show “PlanetPipe”… we didn’t win but the nominee who I voted for did so I guess that’s still kinda winning!
November was a busy tour with the Tannahill Weavers for our usual European section. This time it was the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany with a quick trip to Austria and Belgium. The weather stayed favourable and the tunes were good. Speaking of the Tannahill Weavers, that’s what pretty much block booked out the whole of September and December with the exception of a wee performance for Sky Arts at the Edinburgh International Television Festival early in September.
Aside from touring, in August we had a special gig with the Tannahill Weavers celebrating 40 years of them having the Highland Pipes in the band… they were one of the first to do so back in the 70s and without them I think the Scottish Folk scene would be a very different place for pipers. We invited some of the previous pipers to come and join in as well as some friends of the band like Gordy Duncan Jnr and Ross Kennedy… here’s a photo and expect a full video of some of the performances to appear online sometime soon.
July saw the usual trip to Gigha for a Gigha Music Festival Fundraiser as well as a recording session for Singer Jessica Victoria for her new album “Songs of the Summer Realm” which will be taking “listeners into the world of King Arthur, showing him to us as a true model of the Servant Leader–a leader who has much to teach us in the twenty-first century” – can’t wait to hear the end result from this.
Early on in June it was the BBC at the Quay Festival where I got to put a band together to do a set for “Take the Floor”… All new material in prep for the new album that was getting road tested – here’s a set from it below.
Spring was also filled up mostly with a Tannies tour of the US and England as well as a trip to Germany to play a festival the band played at 40 years ago with Dougie MacLean in the band. Dougie was also performing this year, so we put together a half hour set with him playing some old favourites with the band which was very cool!
Back to January and the year started with Celtic Connections… a very busy time! This is where we premiered a concert put together by Mary Ann Kennedy for An Lochran called “Slainte Mhath” – later on in the year we recorded it, and it’s just gone out on BBC Alba at the very end of 2015 so to bring us full circle, here is a clip from it below.