Christmas in Spring

The week after Easter and I’m delighted to be heading over the the Eurofonic Festival in Nantes, France with Mànran for a couple of days to perform on pipes with them. It’s the new A chanter I got from Hamish Moore, and I love it!

Later on in May and I’m excited by a phone call from a well know London musical director. After a good bit of rummaging around the internet and putting 2 + 2 together, I get a few different numbers before realizing that this guy is representing the one and only Susan Boyle! So, into the studio I go to record the pipes for a festive track from her new album, released later this year. More on that in a future blog as I’m not sure how much I’m actually allowed to talk about just now!

Also in May, we finally finish off the new album from the Red Hot Chilli Pipers which I have been co-producing, arranging and performing on. It’s been given the title “Breathe” which I think is a great name for the album, representing the fresh and energetic vibe that I think the listeners will get. Here’s a wee preview track below.

Mid May and I’m off to Germany with the Linzi Murphy Band, there’s some great songs in the set list and some good tunes sets also. We’re playing second last on the Friday night but are over for a few days extra on each side, so we make friends with the Hotel owner and have a great time in the hotel.

The Noufest is a big deal in my home village of Carradale, and I am pleased to have been asked to perform at it both in a ceremonial way and also for a few concert sets on the Saturday night. The Noufest is a celebration festival of Naioma Mithceson who lived in the village from early last century. It’s inspired me to pick up one of her books from eBay and I’m thrilled to see that it’s from the Kent Public Library and the first stamp on it is October 1987. It’s still in great condition, and the story involve faeries, pipers and magic set in a place inspired by Carradale. Maybe my iPad will be given a rest for a few weeks.

I’ve been workshopping for a gig at the Edinburgh Festival called “Ceilidh!”. We had two days of workshopping it in Edinburgh at the end of May to put sets together, and it’s become a very entertaining show with music, comedy and dance. It’s on the 12th August in Edinburgh at the Edinburgh Festival.

I’m back to Arran in June which is one of my most favourite festivals, especially with absolutely stunning weather like the weather we got for this one. It’s back with Linzi Murphy, the whole set was recorded so here’s a video of one of my favorite songs we do – “Erin Go Bragh”.

Another Island for a festival a few weeks later and it’s back to Gigha, where I regularly go.  This time I’m off to perform at the Ceilidh and, as usual, it’s so much craic.  But I have to leave early as I have to make it up to Watercolour to begin playing on the second album by the Campbells of Grepe, led by Mary Ann Kennedy.  Armed with all my whistles, smallpipes and more, it’s a real thrill to put down some colours around the already great music along with Finlay Wells on Guitar and Ewan Burton on bass.  Here’s a wee timelapse video of us in the studio.

So, that takes us to the end of June – there’s a lot to look forward in July.  A John Martyn Celebration concert coming up in Carradale I have to be practicing (piano!) parts for, then there’s something very special on the 11th which is literally a dream come true.  I think I’ll probably have to dedicate an entire blog to my experiences performing at the Doctor Who Prom in the Albert Hall on the 13th and 14th of July.  So, until then… Sontar-HA!

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