A big group of musicians came down from Islay for the night, including nearly 50 members of the Islay Gaelic Choir! Iain Gibson, a local character was also down from Islay, acting as MC. Calmac Ferries sponsored the show, and so put on free travel for musicians. Bruichladdich Distillery were also sponsors, giving all attendees a free dram upon arrival.
The first half of the concert started off with Alasdair Currie (one of Fraser's musical protégé's) on pipes and Gaelic song, and what a talent! Next up was Simon Moran's trio. Simon is a brilliant fiddle player from the Isle of Jura. There was also the Islay Gaelic Choir, conducted by Arlene who never fail to impress. Archie McAllister, one of Fraser's idols also played some tunes with Ross Kennedy on guitar.
We kicked the set off to a start with two tunes by Fraser; The Machrie & Force 10. Force 10 is quite a lively tune and really got the crowd going! There was great variety in the whole set including a trio of reels played on pipes, and a gorgeous trad scots song, "In Frienships Name". A particularly beautiful tune was "Air Chall", a slow air by Fraser. We had the man himself playing the tune with the aid of a recording he had made of himself playing, while the fiddles droned a note underneath it. Calum then took over the tune, with fiddles and bass playing moving parts around it which Innes had arranged. It was a very poignant and special part of the evening.
There were also two more sets that were heard at the Islay Sessions; Murmuration & Aurora - a spectacular piece of music, and two really lively reels, Slumberland's & K's. The reels were a great finish to the concert! The Islay Gaelic Choir then got on stage for an encore, with the old Gaelic song Sine Bhan. They sang it beautifully and all the musicians joined in for the chorus. As the song ended we all started playing an old favourite written by Fraser called The C-Side. A number of the musicians from the first half of the concert joined in with us and it was a fantastic end to the night!
Afterwards there were some drinks at the Strathclyde Suite bar to toast the launch of the project. It was great to catch up with everyone! We then went on to the festival club where the Islay Sessioners played a spot to a very lively crowd. They thoroughly enjoyed Fraser's music and even sang along!
Massive thanks to Lesley and the Celtic Connections crew for making Islay Night possible, and to the very generous sponsors, Bruichladdich and Calmac Ferries.
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