Oban High’s festival success inspires Skerryvore special release

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International trad-fusion band Skerryvore have released a new music video and a special edition of their EVO album tracks Soraidh Slàn and The Rise on Burns Day today, January 25, with all proceeds going to Oban High School Pipe Band (OHSPB).

The project was inspired by a collaboration between the two bands at Skerryvore’s signature music festival, Oban Live, in June 2018.

The slow, respectful air Soraidh Slàn, a farewell to loved ones lost in 2017, plays before The Rise, an upbeat note delivered by all eight Skerryvore musicians playing at full pelt. Both were written by the band’s co-founder Martin Gillespie (Highland bagpipes) and produced by Alan Scobie (keys).

The six-minute music video was directed and filmed by Dòmhnall Eòghainn MacKinnon and stars Skerryvore and members of OHSPB. In the video’s atmospheric opening, Soraidh Slàn plays as viewers hear spoken words from William Blake’s Introduction to the Songs of Innocence ‘Piping down the valleys wild’, while watching stunning drone footage of the Isle of Tiree and Oban. It then leads into the track The Rise with footage of OHSPB at Oban’s McCaig’s Tower and the moment that inspired the project, on stage with Skerryvore at Oban Live 2018.

Around 4,500 people at Oban Live 2018, and 93,000 viewers on Facebook, witnessed the unique moment when the 25-strong OHSPB joined Skerryvore on stage. Around 17 pipers performed Soraidh Slàn.

The haunting atmosphere was soon switched up to full adrenaline-pumping speed when 15 drummers from the school band joined the pipers and all eight Skerryvore musicians for an extraordinary performance of The Rise, including a spectacular drum solo accessorised by LED drumsticks and stage-lighting production.

Since it was founded in 2005, Oban High School Pipe Band, led by Pipe Major Angus MacColl, has had unprecedented success, claiming the titles of Scottish, European and World Champions in Novice Juvenile, and being crowned Champions of Champions in 2010.

Pipe Major MacColl said: ‘We are really grateful to Skerryvore to have this track and video released with proceeds going to OHSPB. Joining them on stage for such an exciting spectacle at last year’s Oban Live, as well as featuring in this stunning music video, has been a real highlight for OHSPB.

‘Working with Skerryvore on this project has brought fantastic and well deserved opportunities for the young people to showcase their hard-earned talents to thousands of people and provided them with an experience that they will never forget.’

Martin Gillespie added: ‘Huge credit and thanks goes to Angus and all the young people in OHSPB. Their professionalism, talent and enthusiasm are very impressive and inspirational. They are a joy to work with.

‘We were delighted to collaborate at Oban Live and give them such a valuable opportunity and experience which was equally memorable for us in the band too. We are delighted to donate the proceeds of this release to OHSPB, a great cause that provides many opportunities for young people in traditional music.’

The full length music video, featuring OHSPB, will be available to watch on Skerryvore’s YouTube and Facebook page.