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One year on from the attack on the Manchester Arena that claimed the life of Barra teenager Eilidh MacLeod, Scottish trad band Skipinnish are releasing a charity single to help build a permanent memorial on her home island.
Titled Wishing Well, the song was written by Angus MacPhail, accordionist and founder member of the band in the wake of the tragedy. Angus kept the background of the lyrics private until meeting Eilidh’s parents and telling them the song was written about their daughter.
The original song was released in December, but following a meeting with the family, the lyrics have been added to and changed to create this new version.
This new recording of the song is being issued on digital download at midnight on Saturday May 19 with all proceeds from the release going to the Team Eilidh fundraising group. It is also available for pre-order on iTunes from 7pm on May 14.
The Team Eilidh fundraising group hopes to raise £5,000 to support the funding of a permanent memorial to the 14-year-old and to ensure her love of music lives on through the Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band that she was a member of.
Members of Skipinnish are running the Edinburgh half-marathon on May 27 to raise money for the campaign and are joining Team Eilidh to run the Manchester 10K the week before.
Angus said: ‘The very first summer that we started the band, we spent most of it on Barra and from then on we’ve had huge support over the years from the people of Barra and Vatersay. When tragedy strikes close to home it is felt deeply and this is a very small gesture of just doing what we can to help in these terrible circumstances.
‘Memory is one of the most powerful means of dealing with tragedy and a memorial will hopefully help the family and the island heal together. If the song Wishing Well will also help this bright, talented piper and Highland dancer be remembered, then I’ll be very glad.’
Eilidh’s dad, Roddy, added: ‘We as a family love the song. For us, it brings us back to so many wonderful memories of Eilidh growing up here in the islands. We truly appreciate the support from Skipinnish and Malcolm Jones [from Runrig who produced and plays on the track]. We can’t thank them enough for writing and performing such a beautiful song for Eilidh.’
Lyrics from Wishing Well have been chosen by the family to be used as part of the anniversary event ‘There is A Light’, which will take place on May 22.
The following lines from the song will be projected on to buildings at St Ann’s Square Manchester.
‘Your spirit was strong, now silent your song
But your soul with the Pole Star shines on.’
The new version of Wishing Well will be performed live for the first time just hours ahead of the download launch, at the band’s biggest ever gig at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on May 18. Skipinnish will be joined on stage for this piece by World Champion pipers, Inveraray and District Pipe Band, and Gaelic Song super-group Cruinn.
To pre-order the song, visit https://itunes.apple.com/gb/ album/id1383298866?app=itunes