Well, what a week this has turned out to be for Hampshire. Firstly there was the Gosport & Fareham Easter Festival followed swiftly by a return to the wonderful Willows Folk Club in Arundel and a chance to catch up with The Tannahill Weavers who once again have found time to fit in a short tour of the UK in their tight International touring schedule. I arrived at the club early…along with a majority of the sold out audience and manned my newly purchased camcorder (what a disappointment that turned out to be losing all of the footage!) Still, what a great night and hosted by the effervescent Chris Davis a lot of club organisers could learn a thing or two about the art of hospitality. Greeting the crowd as if he knew everyone personally Chris’s wit and charm warmed everyone up in no time and after several floor-singers it was time for the main act. Opening with a scurl of pipes and “The Arnish Light” this soon established the band’s passionate trademark ‘take no prisoners’ approach keeping up the pace for the whole hour and a half. Now paired down to a four-piece fronted by the charismatic (and comedic) Roy Gullane on lead vocal and guitar this sparse though driving rhythmic force was buoyed by the fiery instrumental artillery of Phil Smillie (flute & whistle), John Martin (fiddle) and Colin Melville on Highland/Small pipes and whistle. Moving onto the stirring “The Final Trawl” the Tannies soon had the audience joining in with the chorus setting the pattern for the evening’s performance. Now, I know that many of the younger generation of ‘folk’ musicians would be pretenders to the crown but when watching a master-class in the art of how to introduce a song/tune you could do no better than observe Mr Gullane in full flow. With a glint in his eye and a sincerity that could see him become Prime Minister we discover that the band were due to provide the soundtrack for a Scottish version of the film “Silence Of The Lambs” titled “Shut Up Ewes”…now how’s that for a punch-line? All too soon it was the end of the evening and with an inspired set of tunes lead by the glorious pipe tune “Pipe Major George Allan” and an unusual setting of “Auld Lang Syne” the audience left the club disappointed that it had all come to end but with a huge smile on each of their faces!
Artist Website: www.tannahillweavers.com
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