I don't claim to know much about music but bopping up and down to fiddles, accordians, pipes and drums started when I could sit up in my big, well sprung pram in Ayrshire. My mother told me that she had a request played for each of her children on the radio and asked them to play anything overwhelmingly Scottish to suit the baby. Pestering my mother on family holidays to take me to the weekly pipe band marching through a contributing Highland town was the norm - and much to the horror of my granny I developed an enduring love for Andy Stewart. As I sat with my face glued to the television when he was performing, I remember being shocked when a large tattie appeared across the screen. My granny had nipped through from preparing the tea to back up her view that he had a face like an old tattie and was offering me the chance to make a comparison. Dancing the night away at the Kyle of Lochalsh Hotel when I was 19 it dawned on me that a dream had come true. When Andy sang about The Dancing in Kyle he sang "there was Mairi and Duncan and Morag and Calum". I knew then that I was meant to dance in Kyle. The Incredible Fling Band played the night away and the names of local villages that I passed on my way to the dance were there in that song of my Ayrshire childhood - Inverinate, Dornie, Ardelve. I grew up thinking the Highlands was the most romantic place in the world and the stirrings of that deep held romantic view are easily brought to the surface - by the humour, warmth and support of its inhabitants but most of all, by the music.
The Trad Scottish Awards 2017 were held in Paisley last night, and without having to look closely at the results, it's clear that there is a strong Lochaber contingent amongst the winners. So I thought I'd post a piece of music each day for the next few days to provide a wee flavour of something very special.
Event of the Year was won by A Night For Angus - a celebration of Angus R Grant's life. My heiland husband has always had a much finer and more select love of Scottish music and Shooglenifty was a big favourite. He knew Angus, who grew up in Lochaber, and was in awe of his fiddle playing. He managed to get tickets to the event at Celtic Connections in Glasgow and it was the most enthralling evening. Below is an exert from the full video of the event. 250 to Vigo is my favourite song and I sometimes put it on and dance round the kitchen when no one's in. It starts slowly and builds to the most lovely, uplifting crescendo of positivity. In this video there is quite a long tribute to Angus from a Galician artiste - in her own language - but love and respect seems to pour from her and when the players pick up the tune again, it backs up the love - and romance.