Skipinnish re-release Wishing Well in tribute to Eilidh MacLeod

Wishing Well

Released, on download, at midnight on Saturday, 19th May

To help with fundraising for a permanent memorial to Eilidh MacLeod from Barra who was killed in the Manchester Arena Bombing, trad band Skipinnish are releasing a new version their song ‘Wishing Well’. The song was originally written about Eilidh, but it is only recently, after meeting Eilidh’s family that it was decided to make the background of the song known to the public.

Originally composed with a winter theme, a verse has been added and some lyrics changed to give it a year-round theme.

The release of this new version of the song will coincide with the first anniversary of the bombing and with the main fundraising weekend of the group “Team Eilidh” led by Suzanne Whyte, a first cousin of Eilidh’s father. As well as the song release, some of the band are running the Edinburgh Half Marathon on the 27th of May and are joining Suzanne and Team Eilidh to run the Manchester 10K, the week before, to add to the fundraising.

Angus MacPhail, accordionist and founder member of the band who wrote the song said:

“The very first summer that we started the band we spent most of it on Barra and from then on we’ve had huge support over the years from the people of Barra and Vatersay. This is a very small gesture of just doing what we can to help in these terrible circumstances.”

Having stormed to the top of Scotland’s music scene in 2017, selling out every show they played and being named Live Act of the Year at the Trad Awards, Skipinnish are heading for their best year and biggest gig ever. A concert on the 18th of May in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall will mark a milestone in the band’s history and it is at this gig that they will perform the new version of ‘Wishing Well’ for the first time. They will be joined on stage for this piece by World Champion pipers, Inveraray and District Pipe Band and Gaelic Song super-group Cruinn. Angus added:

“Memory is one of the most powerful means of dealing with tragedy and a memorial will hopefully help the family and the island heal together. If the song ‘Wishing Well’ will also help this bright, talented piper and Highland Dancer be remembered, then I’ll be very glad.”

All proceeds from downloads will go to the “Team Eilidh” fundraising group.

Tickets are available through www.skipinnish.com

VARIOUS ARTISTS – Folk Awards 2015 (Proper PROPERFOLK16)

FolkAwards2015It’s that time again when the folk world looks back and hands out gongs to the great and good while conspiracy theories abound. Actually there have been far fewer of those this year; the detractors must have finally decided that the BBC keeps the names of the voters secret to avoid them being showered by gifts of Rolexes and vintage champagne in attempts to win approval. As if!

All in all, we’re looking back on a vintage year. I listen to more new music than the average punter and I’d heard only ten of the twenty-three tracks chosen to represent 2014 in this collection, so I’m clearly not trying hard enough. As ever the double-CD is well programmed by the four compilers – this is not just an audio catalogue: it has to stand as a listenable collection in its own right, which it does.

The opener is the sprightly ‘Moorlough Mary’ by Cara Dillon which breaks the ice nicely. Next is ‘It Would Not Be A Rose’ from Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker sounding rather more bitter taken out of the context of their album. You might expect The Will Pound Band to rock the rafters but the selection here is the rather down-beat ‘Jimmy Ward’s’ given a bluesy, slightly jazzy persona. That eases into Jez Lowe’s almost lullaby ‘The Pitmen Poets’ and a traditional Gaelic song from Cruinn. By now you’re settled back into your armchair and drifting, only to snapped back to wakefullness by Nancy Kerr’s ‘Never Ever Lay Them Down’ a super song from an album that has somehow managed to elude me so far.

The first set closes with The Young’Uns’ ‘John Hill’ with its borrowed tune and piano sounding almost like a hymn and second opens with the similarly powerful but restrained ‘Waking Dreams (Awake, Awake)’ from Martin & Eliza Carthy. Then, from out of nowhere, comes Naomi Bedford with ‘The Spider And The Wolf’, a song written by her partner Paul Simmonds and taken from her album A History Of Insolence. The other in-yer-face track here is ‘Bedlam’ by Stick In The Wheel and if you haven’t heard them yet you’re in for treat and you won’t be able to forget ‘I Saw The Dead’ by Martin Green with Becky Unthank in a hurry either.

Finally we have the four nominees for The Young Folk Award: Talisk, Wildwood Kin, Roseanne Reid and Cup O’Joe. Impossible to say who the winner will be but I’d like to hear more of Roseanne Reid.

Dai Jeffries