Glasgow letter with Robert Robertson 29.08.19

Elephant Sessions are one of many Scottish bands playing out at Tønder Festival last weekend.

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Musical tales

It never fails to amaze me the amount of times musicians bump into one another in random locations, often thousands of miles from home.

Last weekend, I was at Tønder Festival in Denmark with Tide Lines. It is a unique location. Two of us were staying in a lovely wee cottage in Germany,
while the other two were staying in a similarly lovely wee cottage just a few hundred yards down the road – in Denmark.

We could literally stand at the border.

At night, we would head into the festival and the backstage area felt like a scene from the Ben Nevis bar on Argyll Street – so busy it was with Glasgow-based folk musicians.

Many of Scotland’s best-known bands were playing on various stages throughout the festival and giving the Danes a taste of Scotland. I even
managed a dram with my fellow Oban Times columnist, Angus Macphail.

I was reminiscing with the Tide Lines boys about our last visit to Tønder. We had attempted to teach the Danish audience the lyrics to a Gaelic song from our album.

There is only one word the audience really need to know – the Gaelic word for heart (cridhe) which is repeated throughout the chorus: ‘ar cridhe, ar

It was all going swimmingly and the audience were singing very loudly indeed. We were stunned at how quickly the Danish people had taken to the Gaelic language.

That is until we came offstage and discovered they had thought we were singing about IKEA!

Sun sets on summer

As the summer comes to an end and the nights begin to draw in, we reach that time of year when ceilidhs start getting planned in Glasgow for the long winter nights.

Comunn an Taobh an Iar are holding their first cèilidh of the season in the Ellangowan Social Club on Thursday September 5 from 7.30pm until 10.30pm.

The chairman will be Peter MacDonald and the piper will be Kenneth Macfarlane. Artists for the evening are Mary MacMillan, Carrie MacNeil, Darren MacLean and Bill MacMillan. Charlie Kirkpatrick is the instrumentalist and the accompanist is Kirsteen Grant.

As always, there will be a raffle – plus tea, coffee, fruit juice and biscuits at the interval. Admission is £8 at the door.

Season begins

I’m sure there will be details of plenty of other ceilidhs arriving in my inbox in the coming weeks so I look forward to detailing them here.

It is also the time of year when committees of the various kindred associations get back round the table and plan their year ahead so I also hope to include details of association evenings very soon.

Mull and Iona Association

The Mull and Iona Association welcomes any new members to attend the AGM in Glasgow on Thursday September 12. Details of the AGM can be found at or by emailing the