Glasgow Letter – week 37

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Review: The Pipe Slang by Jamie MacDonald and Christian Gamauf

Musical collaboration between the pipes and the fiddle is hardly unfamiliar to us on the west coast of Scotland; yet there is something distinctly fresh about The Pipe Slang, the debut album of duo Jamie MacDonald and Christian Gamauf.

Perhaps this is due to the contrast of their respective upbringings: Jamie on the Hebridean island of Tiree, and Christian in the village of Loipersbach in rural Austria.

Their meeting is actually a remarkable story. Christian first heard traditional Scottish music through a local pipe band in Austria and later spent time in Cape Breton Island to develop his love of the genre.

Jamie has been born and brought up in a fine Gaelic tradition over in Tiree and I have always admired the pride and passion with which he champions his native music.

The pair met while living and studying on Uist and began playing together at local concerts and events in the Western Isles. After travelling to Asturias (Northern Spain) on a musical and cultural exchange project, along with performances at Ceòl on the Croft, Celtic Connections, and Celtic Colours, the duo started working on this – their debut album.

The result is a colourful album packed full of different musical influences all tied together beautifully by playing that is tight and together yet naturally lively and energetic. The choice of tunes reflect their eclectic influences.

The album begins with a Pipe Major Donald MacLeod tune and then takes us on a journey to Asturia, Cape Breton, and Tiree. The island is represented in both tune and song. Jamie’s twin sister Anna gives a great rendition of Mo Nighean Donn à Cornaig, accompanying herself on the clarsach.

Also guesting on the album are Jack McRobbie on guitar, Cape Bretoner Adam Young on piano, Anna-Wendy Stevenson on viola, and step-dancer Sophie Stephenson.

For anyone looking for a very interesting and well chosen blend of tunes and songs, it is well worth getting a hold of The Pipe Slang.

Comunn an Taobh-an-Iar to start off new season

The Comunn an Taobh-an-Iar is starting its new session on Thursday September 13 with a ceilidh in the Ellangowan Social Club, Milngavie. The night will be chaired by Peter MacDonald and opened with a set on the pipes by Kennety Macfarlane.

The artistes for the evening are Mairi MacGillivray, Mary MacMillan, Colin Fisher, and Calum Angus MacDonald; with an instrumentalist still to be arranged. Kirsteen Grant is the accompanist.

There will be tea, coffee, fruit juice, and biscuits in the interval, as well as a raffle. Admission is £8 at the door and the night begins at 7.30pm.

What’s On

Friday September 14: Clydebank and District Highland Association ceilidh in the Napier Hall, Old Kilpatrick, at 7.30pm.

Wednesday September 19: Ceol ’s Craic Club Film (screening of “Agus a-nochd… the entertainers!”) in the Community Central Hall (292-316 Maryhill Road) 7.15pm with a Gaelic conversation group at 6.30pm.

Saturday September 22: Oidhche Americana (Americana Night) in Webster’s Theatre on Great Western Road at 7.15pm starring Iain Mackay, Willie Campbell, and Bensider.