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Last week I was back on Tiree for the funeral of an old family friend.
Over the course of the otherwise very sad trip, there were three unrelated positive threads that added to the experience of being home.
Last Tuesday, January 31, Skerryvore released their new single, Live Forever, and the next day my mother and I were hooked on iTunes, monitoring its ascent up the charts. It very quickly hit number one in the World Music chart and shortly after, burst into the top 100 of the mainstream charts and continued up all day.
Recorded in the USA, the subject matter and the feel of the song are very much in the style that Skerryvore have created and the prevalent electric guitar chord sequences and riffs give a strong rock effect. The lyrics of the chorus have been crafted perfectly to bring an audience to life by singing the repeated words at the end of each line. This song is going to be a new highlight of their live shows.
A new boat for the Acairsaid
As I always do when I’m home, I took a drive down to the harbour at Caolas and then on to the houses at Milton. This is my favourite part of Tiree.
Seeing the Acairsaid full of boats is a heartening sight and it is more heartening to know a new addition to the fleet is coming soon.
Coinneach MacKinnon from Hillcrest is upgrading from his 26-foot creel boat to a multi-purpose 37-foot vessel which as well as being rigged for creels, can be easily switched to dredge for scallops or trawl for fish and prawns. Fishing is a stand-out success story in Tiree in recent years and this type of advancement and diversification represents the continued development of this vital industry.
You can have all the music in the world coming off an island but it is young people working and living at home and having families that will keep it alive.
So until all us dandy musician types can work out a way of conquering the logistics of island travel, it is up to the fishermen, crofters and other year-round residents to keep the population up, and Coinneach is certainly doing a good job of that.
At the risk of a flurry of complaints, I admit to having been a fan of Alastair Campbell for many years, so it was nice to meet him twice in the course of the last two weeks, once in Glasgow and then at his Auntie Mairi’s funeral on Tiree.
On the way to Milton, I was listening to Radio Four’s Media Show on which he was a guest. His humour and agility in conversation, his concise style and his clarity of message were, as always, refreshing to hear and completed the trilogy of Tirisdeach tidings of the week.