Once again the Summer has totally caught up with me and it seems so surreal to think that Celtic Connections was already half a year ago! That's where I'll start this blog looking back to the "Just for Gordon" Concert that took place at that very festival. It was an enormous thrill to be invited by the Musical Directors Ross Ainslie and Ali Hutton to take part in the show with the Tannahill Weavers. They came up with the great idea that we do one set on our own (including Gordon's most well known tune "Andy Renwick's Ferret") and also invite two of the finest Argyllshire pipers ever - Stuart Liddell and Angus McColl - to join us for a set taken straight from Gordon's "Just for Seaumus" album. Add Bouzouki player Ross Kennedy who did the original recording and then the backing band towards the end and it made for a thrilling experience. I also got the chance to take part in another couple of sets later on in the evening too! Here's one of the videos of our set from the concert.
I've been enjoying teaching recently in Oban - I was lucky enough to do part of Feis Lathurna and also weekly tuition at Oban High School's Trad Group - I started doing that in January and just finished the term off with a concert last week - it was amazing! The standard in Oban is very high and on par with anywhere else in the country I think!
The Tannahill Weavers have been really busy too with whom I've been playing with - there have been three tours in the first half of this year; two UK ones and a US tour all of which were great - in fact, here's a wee clip of one of the gigs here! The last one we did was a UK tour and we started it off with a wee bit of promo on STV's "Live at Five" show - here's a clip of one of the tune sets.
In March I got to revisit the soundtrack to "Brave" with the RSNO being conducted by the legendary Richard Kaufman.
I've also been involved in a lot of recording in the Spring. It's hard to believe it's been 4 years since I worked on the soundtrack to "Brave" with Patrick Doyle but it was great to get a call from his people again to record Highland Pipes and Border Pipes on the new remake of the classic film "Whisky Galore". We had a fun session in London recording all the cues and even got a tune named after me! I recorded it along with other trad options for that particular scene so it'll be interesting to see if it makes the final cut!
I also got a message from Ben Foster, who conducted me at the Doctor Who at the Proms Concert in 2013, to record some pipes for the new series of the cult children's TV show "Thunderbirds Are Go" which he and his brother, Nick, compose the music for - another great honour! More recently, last week, I was in the studio recording on 3 tracks for Susan Boyle's new album - there's some fairly experimental stuff on it, so I'm really interested to hear how it turns out.
Anyway - back to practice - I've an upcoming gig at the Gigha Music Festival at the end of June followed by some solo piping stuff and a performance with "Sketch" - until next time, here's a terrible picture of the glorious view from my window right now in Carradale, Argyll!
Looking up the Kilbrannan Sound.