Robert in Lockdown – 28.1.21

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Of A’ the Airts the Wind Can Blaw has been my favourite Burns song ever since my High School music teacher, Mr Young, brought it to my attention over a decade ago now.

It is possibly the lyrical praise of the West that ingratiates the song to me; or perhaps the beautiful melody it shares with one of my favourite Gaelic tunes – a song from Barra called Loch na h-Òb. I dust it off most Januarys (along with other beautiful songs such as Ay Waulkin’ O’ and The Lea Rig) for various Burns Suppers or whatever gigs Tide Lines happen to have over the days surrounding the 25th.

Needless to say, the chances to sing these songs have been few and far between this year, so we were delighted to be asked to contribute virtually to Janey Godley’s Big Burns Supper, which had a great line up and well over 20,000 viewers on Monday evening.

Of A’ the Airts was the song we chose and it was lovely to give it an airing. Between that, Jamie MacDougall’s programme on BBC Scotland featuring Eddi Reader, Karen Matheson, and Robyn Stapleton, and the full programme of events currently ongoing for Celtic Connections, I had a very fine Burns Night. Not to mention my mother’s plate of Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties.

Celtic Connections may be the biggest virtual event happening this winter; but it isn’t the only one! People say President Joe Biden has a difficult task over in the States; but spare a thought for President Dr Alasdair C. Whyte as he and his committee prepare for the Mull and Iona Association 2021 Virtual Gathering which will take the form of an hour-long stream on Friday February 19.

Since the first annual ‘soirée, concert and ball’, held in the Merchants’ Hall on Hutcheson Street in Glasgow in February 1867, natives and friends of Mull and Iona have been gathering annually to celebrate the arts, literature and music of their islands.

This 2021 virtual gathering will feature some of the islands’ most talented singers, musicians, and performers – as well as some well-known Mull and Iona faces in conversation. The event will be free to view online but there will also be a platform for donations to support local causes and groups.

As part of the virtual gathering, the committee are running a competition for young people under the age of 18. First prize will go to the best video performance with a Mull and/or Iona theme or backdrop. This could be a song, a story, a piece of poetry, a piece of music, or whatever takes your fancy! The prize is £30 and the winning video will also feature in the virtual gathering. The committee will aim to share as many videos as they can on their online platforms following the gathering, with the permission of those who submit.

Entries can be submitted by contacting: Check out their facebook page (The Mull and Iona Association) for more details on the virtual gathering!