Glasgow Letter – 21.4.22

Three great accordionists – Ian Smith, left, Stuart Cameron, Don MacDonald – enjoying a dram over the football to celebrate Don’s 60th birthday.

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A very happy, belated birthday to Eriskay Lilt accordionist, Don MacDonald, who celebrated turning 60 last weekend.

I popped into the Park Bar on Friday night where the legendary John Carmichael (Don’s favourite box player) was in mid rendition of “happy birthday”. I then spotted Don and chatted to him for a good five minutes before realising it was his birthday and the dedication had been for him!

He said he had enjoyed John Burns at the Canderside Accordion and Fiddle club the previous evening and, of course, was having a great night with family listening to “Ikey” in the Park.

Don himself continues to play on that stage and all across the country with his wife, Kathleen, as Eriskay Lilt, but has also played for many years accompanying all the great Gaelic singers in the Park Bar and beyond such as Donald MacRae.
He has a completely unmatched love and passion for our Gaelic culture and music, so it was great to see him taking a weekend off and listening rather than playing.

I can only hope his birthday weekend was not spoiled too much by a certain football result on Sunday, which I see Don watched with Ian Smith from Trail West and Stuart Cameron from Deoch ’n’ Dorus. Three great accordionists – two of whom would have been very happy come the final whistle but I’m sure Don greatly enjoyed the cèilidh with them!

Speaking of John Carmichael, he is to be the special guest at the forthcoming Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir Annual Concert on Friday May 6 at 7.30pm. The Bean an Taighe for the evening will be Kathryn Callander and it will take place in the Bearsden Community Hub at 67 Drymen Road, Bearsden. Tickets are £10 (cash or cheque only) and are available on the door or by contacting Ruth Oliver on 07766 816025. Under-15s get in for free. This year’s raffle will be in aid of the crisis in Ukraine.
After so long without these sorts of concerts (and indeed without any form of choir meeting or rehearsal due to restrictions on singing together), it is great that the Glasgow Islay will have the chance to perform again and the audience will have the chance to hear them.

Another event going ahead next month is the Tiree Association’s Supper and Songs event on Saturday May 14 at 7.30pm in the Ralston Community Centre, PA1 3BL.
With their traditional Burns night having been cancelled in January, the association decided it would be nice to have a spring get together for a cèilidh. A three-course haggis supper will be served followed by a night of entertainment from Seamus O’Sullivan, Ruairidh Gray & Cathy Lees. Tickets are £20 and can be booked by messaging the association Facebook page or by emailing thetireeassociation@gmail.com. The association ask that you please state any dietary requirements when booking. The event is BYOB.

I have enjoyed their Burns Supper on a couple of previous occasions so I’m sure this will be a similarly great night.