Taransay CD Notes Calum Watt.
Taransay Live 2007 is a recording from this years Taransay Fiddle Camp
final concert which takes place in July each year in Harris Community
Each year Fidhlearein Eilean an Fhraoich (Fiddlers of the Heather
Isles) run the seven day long fiddle based music camp each year on the
wonderfully relaxed and beautifully stunning island of Taransay. The
uninhabited six thousand acre island which was the setting for BBC
Castaway project is home normally to only Red Deer and Sheep.
Taransay hugs the bay on the coast line of the larger island of Harris
in the Outer Hebrides.
Fidlearein Eilean an Fhraoich have been using this unique location
since 2001 as the setting for this innovative traditional music based
project. In 2007 a total of fifty fiddlers of all levels and
abilities came together for a fully music packed week – under the
tuition of some of Scotland’s best fiddlers and musicians Patsy Reid,
Alistair White, Charlie Mackerrion, Alan Henderson,Ian Macfarlane,
Andy Thorbourn and Bridgette Law from USA.
No holiday this – with fiddles blazing each and every day from the
first lessons at 9am – and on into the small wee hours until some
particularly difficult Reel Jig or Strathspey is finally mastered and
sits neatly under the fingers. Accommodation is bring your own tent
or sleep in the bunk houses last inhabited by Ben Fogel and his other
Castaways cronies. The food and hospitality is second to none with
local celebrity cooks Catherine and Isobel dishing out the plentiful
This CD represents the fruits of the Fiddle Camp labours and is a must
for anyone who likes down to earth honest music – presented and
performed in the format of fun, friendship and great “crack”. The CD
captures the moment and gives us, the jealous listener an insight into
the great time the performers must have had during there special week
The piping of Andy Macyntyre heralds the concert opening, followed by
the MaKerrons Class, Session M8, Alistair White and Patsy Reid,
Bridgette’s Class – Traditional song from Catriona Watt, Duet by Ian
Macfarlane and Charlie Mackerron, Patsy Reid’s Class followed by the
stunning singing of the newly formed Taransay Gaelic Choir!! New
song from Bridgett Law. Closing with the now standard Taransay
1Andy Macyntre – Dr Ross’s 50 Welcome to the Argyllshire Gathering
2Charlie Mackerrons Class – Patsy Reid’s Trip to Alvie Bothy –
3Session M8 – Da Stockit Licht, Harvest Home, Mrs MacLeod of Rassay
4Alistair White and Patsy Reid – Christie Campbell, Traditional
Strathspey, Munlochy Bridge In and out of the Harbour, Dan Breens
Reel, Roddy Macdonalds fancy
5Bridgette Laws Class – Arkansas Traveller
6Bridgette Law’s Class – Tennesse Waltz
7Catriona Watt – Mo Bhean Coman
8Alistair Whites Class -= J.Gows Hornpipe
9Ian Macfarlane and Charlie Mackerron- Togail curs ar Leodhas, Braes
of Castle Grant, Iron man, Contradiction.
10Patsy Reid – Ferrit on the shore.
11Patsy Reid’s Class – Jacksons Fancy, Come Awa in
12Taransay Gaelic Choir – Mo llann Down Boyach
13Taransay Gaelic Choir – Mile Marabhaisg Air Ghaol
14 Bridgette Law – Land called Taransay
15Taransay Fiddlers – Barroburn Reel, Banshee, Tongadale Reel, Jenny
Dang the Weaver
16Taransay Fiddlers – Kesh Jig, Kenny Gilles of Portnalong
As if there was not enough feel good factor surrounding this CD then
the fact that it was made and produced totally in the Western Isles
and the fact that all proceeds from sales go to funding of next years
camp – is good enough reason for it to be a must for any CD
(David Attenborough 2 – Taransay 2007)
So here we are again on the remote island of Taransay with the Tar-an-say Fidhlers.
This year we have observed some of their secret ceremonies.
A-lek is the elder of the stove ceremony. Here he tries to capture the elusive “fire” and does the “ray-king” of the stove, using a long ceremonial dagger.
The regular annual ceremony of the mar-a-kee involves many of the male fidhlers. They link four totem poles with yards of canvas using long ropes. This mar-a-kee is growing each year – showing the flourishing of the tribe.
Interestingly the roof ceremony involves one of the female fidhlers. First a disc is thrown onto the rook of the stee-ding building. A female fidhler then climbs on the roof and adopts a ceremonial fidhler pose.
The fidhlers try every year to harness the magical power of the “e-lek-treek” but so far their rituals don’t impress this deity who shows his anger by withdrawing his energy at the most awkward times.
The fidhlers have developed an initiation ceremony. This elaborate ritual involves a fidhler entering a darkened room (please see the previous ceremony) removing all of their clothes and spraying themselves with freezing water.
We must pay tribute to one elder called Day-vee who was not on the island this year. He had volunteered to begin a new generation of fidhlers and was too busy with the ceremonies of the na-pee and the fee-ding to come.
It has seemed for the first time that the fidhlers use human sacrifice. Two female ca-no-ists arrived in the week and have not been seen since. We fear this may be the beginning of a very worrying trend.
An finally the most important ceremony of all. The tribal elders build a huge effigy of the Do-lan (the “Man of the Chair”) and carry it to the beach where they have lit a ceremonial fire. After chanting mystical prayers, they throw the effigy onto the fire and then cheer loudly. We believe that this ceremony is undertaken to purge “bad tunes” from their “sesh-uns”.
SCOTS TRAD MUSIC AWARDS 2007 NOMINATIONS
Taransay Fiddle Camp
The annual Taransay Fiddle Camp is gaining in popularity and is definitely now one of the annual fiddle schools that fiddlers worldwide wish to attend . Top tuition from great tutors plus ceilidhs, concerts, stepdancing, keyboards, Gaelic singing, golf, hill walking, swimming, historic walks and beautiful deserted beaches. This most beautiful island lies just off the coast of the Island of Harris in the Outer Hebrides.
Hands Up for Trad
We are an organisation dedicated to increasing the profile and visibility of Scottish traditional music through information, education and advocacy. Please check out our various events and come along to any of them that you can.