Hebridean musicians entertain in the Balkans.

slovenia
slovenia

Hebridean musicians entertain in the Balkans

Our photo shows (left to right) Dolan and Catriona, along with British Ambassador to Slovenia, Tim Simmons and the Irish Ambassador to Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia, Patrick McCabe, and the two other members of the band, Iain Macleod and Iain Macinnes.

Published Date: 23 February 2007

FOUR Hebridean musicians have just returned from the Balkans where they entertained at many functions during their week-long visit.

The musicians were Catriona Watt of Stornoway (fiddle and whistle), who recently won BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year; Dolan Morrison, well know Stornoway fiddler and joint organiser of the world famous Taransay Fiddle Camp; Iain Macinnes of Coll, Back (accordion, guitar and piano) who is a fourth-year student at Aberdeen University; and well-known Uist piper Iain Macleod of Lochmaddy (pipes and whistle).

As well as performing at various functions in the Balkans, the party also entertained the handicapped children in the Christine Willcutt centre in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Dolan tells the story of the group’s eventful week in the Balkans:

“We arrive on the Saturday at Ljubljana airport in Slovenia after a two-hour flight from Stanstead Airport. Ljubljana has a beautiful blend of architectural styles with clean, wide streets. We are treated to the local fare which is all home grown and extremely tasty. We head to the mountains where there is a shortage of snow this year and play some ceilidh music for the locals.

The scenery is just spectacular and we dine on local Strudle and hot wine to keep warm. Iain Macleod plays his bagpipes and the tourists flock around him.

Monday

On Monday, we visit the Postojnska jama caves, the most visited caves in Europe. This is a two-hour journey underground on a train and we admire the size and splendour of the different rooms underground.

In the largest cave, Catriona sang a Gaelic song to an international audience where the sound was reverberating around the cave.

On then to Predjama Castle, perched halfway up a 123-metre cliff. This castle is 700 years old and was the home of the rebellious knight, Erazem Predjamski. We travel to the Adriatic coast to a town Piran on the Italian border. Piran is a historic-walled town on the Istrian coast of Slovenia. We dine on the most tasty sea bass and various other succulent fish.

The group then play music to the locals before heading back to Ljubjiana. A long day…..

Tuesday

We have breakfast from our hosts, starting with Rakija, a traditional spirit in Croatia. It can be distilled from plums or pears, among other fruits.

Slivovica, distilled from plums, is the most popular and is valued even outside Croatia. It is a strong spirit with 40% abv or higher. Rakija is the only spirit produced at home in hand-made distilleries. It certainly wakes you up! This is followed by local porridge, Kasa which is very tasty.

In the evening, we play our first official event for the British Embassy. Eighty guests from the Embassy and also international Embassies attend and the event is a huge success. A gift is presented to the British Ambassador, Tim Simmons on behalf of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. We also meet and have a wonderful conversation with the Irish Ambassador, Patrick McCabe.

Wednesday

We leave Slovenia and head for Split in Croatia.This is a 450km drive and it begins to rain heavily, but thankfully there is a new toll highway built by the Americans from Zagreb to Split, and the roads are very quiet. The scenery is just incredible and there are many tunnels through the mountains. We arrive in Split which is a busy port with an international airport and regular ferry services with the nearby islands, the north and south Adriatic, Italy and Greece.

We pass the Hajduk Split football stadium which is very unusual in appearance. We appear and perform on Croatian television in our kilts which we enjoy. Then it’s on to perform at the Luxor hotel to entertain the Ambassador and crew of a visiting Royal Navy frigate.

Thursday

We depart Split and start the long eight-hour journey to Sarajevo, our ultimate destination. We head south down the Croatian coastline and witness the numerous islands off the Croatian coast. We stop for some local food which is the local lamb cooked on a spit. This is really tasty. On crossing the border in Bosnia, the world changes. The roads are not so good and the drivers are even worse. This is Volkswagen Polo country. No MOT’s – nothing.

We arrive in Mostar (named after its old bridge) for another break. On November 9, 1993, HVO troops destroyed the city’s most recognisable landmark, an Ottoman-era bridge built in 1566, which is the city’s namesake.

Today, the city is slowly recovering from divisions created by the conflict. Some of the scars of that division still remain today. There are many graveyards in the town and many buildings are still badly damaged as a result of the war. The famous bridge has been rebuilt thankfully. There is snow on the surrounding mountains and old women sell oranges by the roadside. Still we head south. Two hours from Sarajevo and the roads are deteriorating and it is raining heavily. This is a very humbling place. There are shell and bullet marks on the buildings and the destruction is very visible.

We arrive in Sarajevo late afternoon and drive down Sniper Alley past Tito’s large TV station and the Holiday Inn. The story goes that during the war there were only two rates for rooms. Cheapest facing the snipers in the mountains, more expensive facing away from the mountains.

‘Sniper Alley’ is the informal name for the main boulevard in Sarajevo which, during the Bosnian War, was lined with snipers’ posts, and became infamous as a dangerous place for civilians to traverse. The road was home to the only source of clean water in the city and connects the industrial part of the city to the Old Town’s cultural and historic sites. The boulevard itself has many high-rise buildings, giving sniper shooters extensive fields of fire.

We then rush to our next venue, which is a public event and is sold out. We enjoy the evening and meet many expats. I meet a gentleman whose mother lived next door to me in Stornoway. Small world. We are entertained by two excellent pipers from the Argylls – a Scottish night to remember. We end the evening with a massive pizza. Only £1.00. Food is very cheap. An extremely long day…

Friday

Looking out our window where we stay is the large local hospital. Unfortunately, there is nothing in the building. There is no money to equip the hospital. The noise of cars blowing their horns is extremely loud. Eleven am and we finally get to meet the children at the Christine Willcutt Centre. Christine Willcutt was killed by a sniper in the first aid convoy when the fighting ended. The centre for the children is supported by international charities, but has severe difficulties sourcing funding. The children are in red tartan kilts and do a Highland dance. We do a 45-minute set for the children who are dancing away and going crazy. We gave the children gifts and also a donation to the centre from Stornoway businesses and individuals. They were very grateful.

We make an appearance live on Bosnian television at six o’clock and Iain Macleod explains the mechanics of the bagpipes to the puzzled presenters. Catriona sings a Gaelic song. This must be the first time a Gaelic song has been sung live on Bosnian TV.

Our final event is a Burns Supper in the Bosnian Army hall, organised by the British Embassy with proceeds going to the Christine Willcutt centre. The hall is a really nice ornate building which survived the war. The supper has 200 guests of all nationalities and the speeches and toasts were entertaining. Iain Macinnes is amazed to find a beautiful Steinway grand piano on the stage. Getting tired now…

Saturday

A day off. We decide to explore. Get a taxi to the old town and are immediately accosted by young gypsy children begging. Catriona is nervous. This is not Byres Road. We visit the library building which was burnt by the Serbs in 1993. As the locals tried to save the books, they were shot from the mountains by snipers as they ran from the building.

The library is boarded up and has not been repaired. There is much evidence of the war and many graveyards by the side of the roads.The day is spent exploring the centre of Sarajevo. This city is in bad shape.

In the evening, all the men and women walk the streets dressed up in their best outfits. The streets are thronging with people just walking the street. There is no money for them to do anything else. But the people are friendly. We have Cevapi, beef sausage in pita bread. Cevapi are grilled and served in pita bread, previously dressed by gravy with chopped onion aside. Walk past the war memorial and the town hall. It represents the most beautiful and the most representative building from Austro-Hungarian period, built in pseudo-Moorish style. It’s late and we head for home.

Sunday

Time to go home.

Get up at 2.30 am for a five hour drive north to Zagreb. It is raining heavily and the road is in bad shape. No lighting, cat’s eyes, white lines and it is difficult to see where you are going. Only one headlamp working does not help. There are more potholes than road, and the suspension is taking a hammering. Five of us and all our baggage in a small car.

We are restless. At least Anja, our driver, knows where we are. Eventually at 5am we cross the border into Croatia and all of a sudden the road improves and we stop at a service station for a hearty breakfast. The sun comes up and all is well in the world.

Catriona takes over the driving. Although the road is straight and wide, there is muttering in the back of the car. We arrive Zagreb 10am and board flight for Luton.

Thanks to our hosts, Ian Macleod (ex Tong), Sarajevo, and Anja and Anja’s parents and grandparents, Ljubjanja. Thanks also to the British Embassies at Ljubjiana, Zagreb and Sarajevo.”

Hebridean musicians entertain in the Balkans
Our photo shows (left to right) Dolan and Catriona, along with British Ambassador to Slovenia, Tim Simmons and the Irish Ambassador to Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia, Patrick McCabe, and the two other members of the band, Iain Macleod and Iain Macinnes.
Published Date: 23 February 2007
FOUR Hebridean musicians have just returned from the Balkans where they entertained at many functions during their week-long visit.
The musicians were Catriona Watt of Stornoway (fiddle and whistle), who recently won BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year; Dolan Morrison, well know Stornoway fiddler and joint organiser of the world famous Taransay Fiddle Camp; Iain Macinnes of Coll, Back (accordion, guitar and piano) who is a fourth-year student at Aberdeen University; and well-known Uist piper Iain Macleod of Lochmaddy (pipes and whistle).
As well as performing at various functions in the Balkans, the party also entertained the handicapped children in the Christine Willcutt centre in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Hercegovina.
Dolan tells the story of the group’s eventful week in the Balkans:
“We arrive on the Saturday at Ljubljana airport in Slovenia after a two-hour flight from Stanstead Airport. Ljubljana has a beautiful blend of architectural styles with clean, wide streets. We are treated to the local fare which is all home grown and extremely tasty. We head to the mountains where there is a shortage of snow this year and play some ceilidh music for the locals.
The scenery is just spectacular and we dine on local Strudle and hot wine to keep warm. Iain Macleod plays his bagpipes and the tourists flock around him.
Monday
On Monday, we visit the Postojnska jama caves, the most visited caves in Europe. This is a two-hour journey underground on a train and we admire the size and splendour of the different rooms underground.
In the largest cave, Catriona sang a Gaelic song to an international audience where the sound was reverberating around the cave.
On then to Predjama Castle, perched halfway up a 123-metre cliff. This castle is 700 years old and was the home of the rebellious knight, Erazem Predjamski. We travel to the Adriatic coast to a town Piran on the Italian border. Piran is a historic-walled town on the Istrian coast of Slovenia. We dine on the most tasty sea bass and various other succulent fish.
The group then play music to the locals before heading back to Ljubjiana. A long day…..
Tuesday
We have breakfast from our hosts, starting with Rakija, a traditional spirit in Croatia. It can be distilled from plums or pears, among other fruits.
Slivovica, distilled from plums, is the most popular and is valued even outside Croatia. It is a strong spirit with 40% abv or higher. Rakija is the only spirit produced at home in hand-made distilleries. It certainly wakes you up! This is followed by local porridge, Kasa which is very tasty.
In the evening, we play our first official event for the British Embassy. Eighty guests from the Embassy and also international Embassies attend and the event is a huge success. A gift is presented to the British Ambassador, Tim Simmons on behalf of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. We also meet and have a wonderful conversation with the Irish Ambassador, Patrick McCabe.
Wednesday
We leave Slovenia and head for Split in Croatia.This is a 450km drive and it begins to rain heavily, but thankfully there is a new toll highway built by the Americans from Zagreb to Split, and the roads are very quiet. The scenery is just incredible and there are many tunnels through the mountains. We arrive in Split which is a busy port with an international airport and regular ferry services with the nearby islands, the north and south Adriatic, Italy and Greece.
We pass the Hajduk Split football stadium which is very unusual in appearance. We appear and perform on Croatian television in our kilts which we enjoy. Then it’s on to perform at the Luxor hotel to entertain the Ambassador and crew of a visiting Royal Navy frigate.
Thursday
We depart Split and start the long eight-hour journey to Sarajevo, our ultimate destination. We head south down the Croatian coastline and witness the numerous islands off the Croatian coast. We stop for some local food which is the local lamb cooked on a spit. This is really tasty. On crossing the border in Bosnia, the world changes. The roads are not so good and the drivers are even worse. This is Volkswagen Polo country. No MOT’s – nothing.
We arrive in Mostar (named after its old bridge) for another break. On November 9, 1993, HVO troops destroyed the city’s most recognisable landmark, an Ottoman-era bridge built in 1566, which is the city’s namesake.
Today, the city is slowly recovering from divisions created by the conflict. Some of the scars of that division still remain today. There are many graveyards in the town and many buildings are still badly damaged as a result of the war. The famous bridge has been rebuilt thankfully. There is snow on the surrounding mountains and old women sell oranges by the roadside. Still we head south. Two hours from Sarajevo and the roads are deteriorating and it is raining heavily. This is a very humbling place. There are shell and bullet marks on the buildings and the destruction is very visible.
We arrive in Sarajevo late afternoon and drive down Sniper Alley past Tito’s large TV station and the Holiday Inn. The story goes that during the war there were only two rates for rooms. Cheapest facing the snipers in the mountains, more expensive facing away from the mountains.
‘Sniper Alley’ is the informal name for the main boulevard in Sarajevo which, during the Bosnian War, was lined with snipers’ posts, and became infamous as a dangerous place for civilians to traverse. The road was home to the only source of clean water in the city and connects the industrial part of the city to the Old Town’s cultural and historic sites. The boulevard itself has many high-rise buildings, giving sniper shooters extensive fields of fire.
We then rush to our next venue, which is a public event and is sold out. We enjoy the evening and meet many expats. I meet a gentleman whose mother lived next door to me in Stornoway. Small world. We are entertained by two excellent pipers from the Argylls – a Scottish night to remember. We end the evening with a massive pizza. Only £1.00. Food is very cheap. An extremely long day…
Friday
Looking out our window where we stay is the large local hospital. Unfortunately, there is nothing in the building. There is no money to equip the hospital. The noise of cars blowing their horns is extremely loud. Eleven am and we finally get to meet the children at the Christine Willcutt Centre. Christine Willcutt was killed by a sniper in the first aid convoy when the fighting ended. The centre for the children is supported by international charities, but has severe difficulties sourcing funding. The children are in red tartan kilts and do a Highland dance. We do a 45-minute set for the children who are dancing away and going crazy. We gave the children gifts and also a donation to the centre from Stornoway businesses and individuals. They were very grateful.
We make an appearance live on Bosnian television at six o’clock and Iain Macleod explains the mechanics of the bagpipes to the puzzled presenters. Catriona sings a Gaelic song. This must be the first time a Gaelic song has been sung live on Bosnian TV.
Our final event is a Burns Supper in the Bosnian Army hall, organised by the British Embassy with proceeds going to the Christine Willcutt centre. The hall is a really nice ornate building which survived the war. The supper has 200 guests of all nationalities and the speeches and toasts were entertaining. Iain Macinnes is amazed to find a beautiful Steinway grand piano on the stage. Getting tired now…
Saturday
A day off. We decide to explore. Get a taxi to the old town and are immediately accosted by young gypsy children begging. Catriona is nervous. This is not Byres Road. We visit the library building which was burnt by the Serbs in 1993. As the locals tried to save the books, they were shot from the mountains by snipers as they ran from the building.
The library is boarded up and has not been repaired. There is much evidence of the war and many graveyards by the side of the roads.The day is spent exploring the centre of Sarajevo. This city is in bad shape.
In the evening, all the men and women walk the streets dressed up in their best outfits. The streets are thronging with people just walking the street. There is no money for them to do anything else. But the people are friendly. We have Cevapi, beef sausage in pita bread. Cevapi are grilled and served in pita bread, previously dressed by gravy with chopped onion aside. Walk past the war memorial and the town hall. It represents the most beautiful and the most representative building from Austro-Hungarian period, built in pseudo-Moorish style. It’s late and we head for home.
Sunday
Time to go home.
Get up at 2.30 am for a five hour drive north to Zagreb. It is raining heavily and the road is in bad shape. No lighting, cat’s eyes, white lines and it is difficult to see where you are going. Only one headlamp working does not help. There are more potholes than road, and the suspension is taking a hammering. Five of us and all our baggage in a small car.
We are restless. At least Anja, our driver, knows where we are. Eventually at 5am we cross the border into Croatia and all of a sudden the road improves and we stop at a service station for a hearty breakfast. The sun comes up and all is well in the world.
Catriona takes over the driving. Although the road is straight and wide, there is muttering in the back of the car. We arrive Zagreb 10am and board flight for Luton.
Thanks to our hosts, Ian Macleod (ex Tong), Sarajevo, and Anja and Anja’s parents and grandparents, Ljubjanja. Thanks also to the British Embassies at Ljubjiana, Zagreb and Sarajevo.Hebridean musicians entertain in the Balkans
Our photo shows (left to right) Dolan and Catriona, along with British Ambassador to Slovenia, Tim Simmons and the Irish Ambassador to Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia, Patrick McCabe, and the two other members of the band, Iain Macleod and Iain Macinnes.
Published Date: 23 February 2007
FOUR Hebridean musicians have just returned from the Balkans where they entertained at many functions during their week-long visit.
The musicians were Catriona Watt of Stornoway (fiddle and whistle), who recently won BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year; Dolan Morrison, well know Stornoway fiddler and joint organiser of the world famous Taransay Fiddle Camp; Iain Macinnes of Coll, Back (accordion, guitar and piano) who is a fourth-year student at Aberdeen University; and well-known Uist piper Iain Macleod of Lochmaddy (pipes and whistle).
As well as performing at various functions in the Balkans, the party also entertained the handicapped children in the Christine Willcutt centre in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Hercegovina.
Dolan tells the story of the group’s eventful week in the Balkans:
“We arrive on the Saturday at Ljubljana airport in Slovenia after a two-hour flight from Stanstead Airport. Ljubljana has a beautiful blend of architectural styles with clean, wide streets. We are treated to the local fare which is all home grown and extremely tasty. We head to the mountains where there is a shortage of snow this year and play some ceilidh music for the locals.
The scenery is just spectacular and we dine on local Strudle and hot wine to keep warm. Iain Macleod plays his bagpipes and the tourists flock around him.
Monday
On Monday, we visit the Postojnska jama caves, the most visited caves in Europe. This is a two-hour journey underground on a train and we admire the size and splendour of the different rooms underground.
In the largest cave, Catriona sang a Gaelic song to an international audience where the sound was reverberating around the cave.
On then to Predjama Castle, perched halfway up a 123-metre cliff. This castle is 700 years old and was the home of the rebellious knight, Erazem Predjamski. We travel to the Adriatic coast to a town Piran on the Italian border. Piran is a historic-walled town on the Istrian coast of Slovenia. We dine on the most tasty sea bass and various other succulent fish.
The group then play music to the locals before heading back to Ljubjiana. A long day…..
Tuesday
We have breakfast from our hosts, starting with Rakija, a traditional spirit in Croatia. It can be distilled from plums or pears, among other fruits.
Slivovica, distilled from plums, is the most popular and is valued even outside Croatia. It is a strong spirit with 40% abv or higher. Rakija is the only spirit produced at home in hand-made distilleries. It certainly wakes you up! This is followed by local porridge, Kasa which is very tasty.
In the evening, we play our first official event for the British Embassy. Eighty guests from the Embassy and also international Embassies attend and the event is a huge success. A gift is presented to the British Ambassador, Tim Simmons on behalf of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. We also meet and have a wonderful conversation with the Irish Ambassador, Patrick McCabe.
Wednesday
We leave Slovenia and head for Split in Croatia.This is a 450km drive and it begins to rain heavily, but thankfully there is a new toll highway built by the Americans from Zagreb to Split, and the roads are very quiet. The scenery is just incredible and there are many tunnels through the mountains. We arrive in Split which is a busy port with an international airport and regular ferry services with the nearby islands, the north and south Adriatic, Italy and Greece.
We pass the Hajduk Split football stadium which is very unusual in appearance. We appear and perform on Croatian television in our kilts which we enjoy. Then it’s on to perform at the Luxor hotel to entertain the Ambassador and crew of a visiting Royal Navy frigate.
Thursday
We depart Split and start the long eight-hour journey to Sarajevo, our ultimate destination. We head south down the Croatian coastline and witness the numerous islands off the Croatian coast. We stop for some local food which is the local lamb cooked on a spit. This is really tasty. On crossing the border in Bosnia, the world changes. The roads are not so good and the drivers are even worse. This is Volkswagen Polo country. No MOT’s – nothing.
We arrive in Mostar (named after its old bridge) for another break. On November 9, 1993, HVO troops destroyed the city’s most recognisable landmark, an Ottoman-era bridge built in 1566, which is the city’s namesake.
Today, the city is slowly recovering from divisions created by the conflict. Some of the scars of that division still remain today. There are many graveyards in the town and many buildings are still badly damaged as a result of the war. The famous bridge has been rebuilt thankfully. There is snow on the surrounding mountains and old women sell oranges by the roadside. Still we head south. Two hours from Sarajevo and the roads are deteriorating and it is raining heavily. This is a very humbling place. There are shell and bullet marks on the buildings and the destruction is very visible.
We arrive in Sarajevo late afternoon and drive down Sniper Alley past Tito’s large TV station and the Holiday Inn. The story goes that during the war there were only two rates for rooms. Cheapest facing the snipers in the mountains, more expensive facing away from the mountains.
‘Sniper Alley’ is the informal name for the main boulevard in Sarajevo which, during the Bosnian War, was lined with snipers’ posts, and became infamous as a dangerous place for civilians to traverse. The road was home to the only source of clean water in the city and connects the industrial part of the city to the Old Town’s cultural and historic sites. The boulevard itself has many high-rise buildings, giving sniper shooters extensive fields of fire.
We then rush to our next venue, which is a public event and is sold out. We enjoy the evening and meet many expats. I meet a gentleman whose mother lived next door to me in Stornoway. Small world. We are entertained by two excellent pipers from the Argylls – a Scottish night to remember. We end the evening with a massive pizza. Only £1.00. Food is very cheap. An extremely long day…
Friday
Looking out our window where we stay is the large local hospital. Unfortunately, there is nothing in the building. There is no money to equip the hospital. The noise of cars blowing their horns is extremely loud. Eleven am and we finally get to meet the children at the Christine Willcutt Centre. Christine Willcutt was killed by a sniper in the first aid convoy when the fighting ended. The centre for the children is supported by international charities, but has severe difficulties sourcing funding. The children are in red tartan kilts and do a Highland dance. We do a 45-minute set for the children who are dancing away and going crazy. We gave the children gifts and also a donation to the centre from Stornoway businesses and individuals. They were very grateful.
We make an appearance live on Bosnian television at six o’clock and Iain Macleod explains the mechanics of the bagpipes to the puzzled presenters. Catriona sings a Gaelic song. This must be the first time a Gaelic song has been sung live on Bosnian TV.
Our final event is a Burns Supper in the Bosnian Army hall, organised by the British Embassy with proceeds going to the Christine Willcutt centre. The hall is a really nice ornate building which survived the war. The supper has 200 guests of all nationalities and the speeches and toasts were entertaining. Iain Macinnes is amazed to find a beautiful Steinway grand piano on the stage. Getting tired now…
Saturday
A day off. We decide to explore. Get a taxi to the old town and are immediately accosted by young gypsy children begging. Catriona is nervous. This is not Byres Road. We visit the library building which was burnt by the Serbs in 1993. As the locals tried to save the books, they were shot from the mountains by snipers as they ran from the building.
The library is boarded up and has not been repaired. There is much evidence of the war and many graveyards by the side of the roads.The day is spent exploring the centre of Sarajevo. This city is in bad shape.
In the evening, all the men and women walk the streets dressed up in their best outfits. The streets are thronging with people just walking the street. There is no money for them to do anything else. But the people are friendly. We have Cevapi, beef sausage in pita bread. Cevapi are grilled and served in pita bread, previously dressed by gravy with chopped onion aside. Walk past the war memorial and the town hall. It represents the most beautiful and the most representative building from Austro-Hungarian period, built in pseudo-Moorish style. It’s late and we head for home.
Sunday
Time to go home.
Get up at 2.30 am for a five hour drive north to Zagreb. It is raining heavily and the road is in bad shape. No lighting, cat’s eyes, white lines and it is difficult to see where you are going. Only one headlamp working does not help. There are more potholes than road, and the suspension is taking a hammering. Five of us and all our baggage in a small car.
We are restless. At least Anja, our driver, knows where we are. Eventually at 5am we cross the border into Croatia and all of a sudden the road improves and we stop at a service station for a hearty breakfast. The sun comes up and all is well in the world.
Catriona takes over the driving. Although the road is straight and wide, there is muttering in the back of the car. We arrive Zagreb 10am and board flight for Luton.
Thanks to our hosts, Ian Macleod (ex Tong), Sarajevo, and Anja and Anja’s parents and grandparents, Ljubjanja. Thanks also to the British Embassies at Ljubjiana, Zagreb and Sarajevo.”

Fidhleirean Eilean an Fhraoich

Fidhleirean Eilean an Fhraoich (Fiddlers of the Heather Isles) the organisers are a non-profit organisation which is committed to promoting the understanding and learning of traditional fiddle music through the support of fiddle instruction and related activities.
Volunteers organize the Fiddle Camp, concerts, workshops.
Our aim is to revitalise and nurture traditional fiddle playing in the Hebrides.


Fidhleirean Eilean An Fhraoich. Chairman’s Report 2004 AGM.

Fidhleirean Eilean An Fhraoich.
Chairman’s Report 2004 AGM.
Firstly I would like to thank those committee members whom have over the year done lots of work regarding the fiddle group.Taransay two was a resounding success in all respects .
The concerts in the Legion to raise funds for the hall were a disaster on both occasions.
The potatoes and herring night in the golf club was a success with good funds being raised.This well worth repeating.Thanks to Isobel Macritchie and Willie Macrae for help  there.
Appearances in public included the Church of Scotland fete as well as appearances at the Accordion and Fiddle club where the fiddlers get most exposure.This is a great opportunity where any potential fiddlers can sample what we are about.
There is still a problem in attracting new members and more effort is required to attract new members to the club even if players are at an early stage.
Our independence is being threatened.
I have been approached to become affiliated with an umbrella organisation.There is now so  much demand for funding with other organisations after their slice of the action the powers that be are not going to hand out funding to everybody.
Nevertheless the decision will soon have to be taken do we almalgamate,or become affiliated,or stay independent.It is up to you.
Even at this late stage funding for Taransay 3 (CNES) is not forthcoming and even after all this time we are being confused with Accordion and Fiddle club who also apply for funding for tuition.
I would like to thank WIE and CNES for their funding up to this point.Their contribution makes life a bit easier financially.
The hall costs are approx #500-600 per annum.This is a large sun as we never had to pay this kind of money previously.There was a misunderstanding regarding hall access recently.This has now been sorted out and we can use the hall during the week  as long as the keyholder is informed.
Keyholders in the fiddle group are,Dolan,Kenny and Woody.
The tune books and cds have been a success with 20 copies of book 1 ,5 copies of cd 1 been sold.
Tune book 2 is now ready and available to order.
All proceeds to club funds.
It is hoped to get Patsy Reid back for a series of tuition weekends.Hopefully these will be starting soon.
It would be nice to find out numbers to see how many are interested bearing in mind at Patsys` last class there were only five fiddlers.
Taransay 3 is just about organised.Tutors are Charlie mackerron,Chris Stout,Alistair White, and Patsy Reid.
Taransay fiddle club has just been voted No1 fiddle camp in the Uk on the Fiddle on magazine.This is good news for the club and I would like to thank everyone for their contribution.
Slow sessions should be every Monday and I thank my esteemed vice-chairperson for spending time doing slow sessions and teaching new tunes throughout the year.If we publicise the slow sessions I reckon we could get more fiddlers out there interested.
The club is also looking for volunteers.There is plenty to do.
We still have an outstanding problem and it is a shame that I have to report the fact that we still have not received the flight case for our mixer from Fonn after two years.
Mr W ood is still negotiating with Mr Eadie but if we are not successful we will be taking legal action against Fonn Music Shop.The outstanding sum is #120.00
There was a recording made of the concert in Tarbert last year after Taransay.It is an excellent concert but the sound is a bit distorted in some parts .If any members would like a copy let the chairman know and he will make a copy.Price #5.00 each for club funds.
A meeting took place in Tarbert last August with Harris Arts and Leisure,CNES  and myself.Is is hoped to take some youngsters from Harris over to Taransay this year to give them a taste of Taransay.Mr Duncan Macpherson,Harris has organised another meting in a couple of weeks and it is hoped that any funding that he gets we will be invited to the fiddle tuition in Harris.
Finally I would like to thank all Committee members,members and volunteers for making the club so successful throughout the year.
Chairman,Dolan Morrison

Number one Fiddle Camp in the UK

The annual Taransay Fiddle Camp off the Island of Harris,Scotland. has been
voted number one Fiddle Camp in the UK .
A straw poll in Spring 2004 edition of Fiddleon magazine gave Taransay
Fiddle Camp 40% of the vote.
Blazin` in Beauly fiddle school came second in the poll ahead of strong
competition from Edinburgh,Witney,Brigg a six other venues.
Taransay fiddle school is gaining in popularity and is definately now one
of the annual fiddle schools that fiddlers worldwide wish to attend .
Students from as far afield as USA, and Australia attend the fiddle course
which last year had additional lessons in keyboard accompaniment,piping
masterclass,and stepdancing
Past tutors have included Buddy Macmaster,Alan Henderson,Pete Cooper,Patsy
Reid,Aly White,Ronan Martin,Alison Macleod
As well as music workshops there are a golf
championship,football,stepdancing,historic walks,hillwalking,swimming,piano
tuition,fiddle composition classes,fiddle rythym classes,highland piping,as
well as lots of informal sessions,ceilidhs and concerts.
Fidhleirean Eilean an Fhraoich chairman Dolan Morrison paid tribute to all
committee members, local fiddlers,sponsors and volunteers who work extremely
hard every year for free to ensure that the fiddle camp is a success.
Dolan Morrison also confirmed the line up for this years camp which runs
from July19th-23rd,2004
These include Charlie Mackerron of Caperceille,Chris Stout from Shetland who
plays with Fiddlers Bid our very own Alistair White from the Battlefeild
Band and Patsy Reid ex Scottish Fiddle champion from Perth.
This an exceptionally strong line up with the emphasis on traditional
Scottish fiddle music.

Potato and Herring Traditional Music Event. (Bunta`ta angus Sgadan)

Potato and HerringTraditional Music Event. (Bunta`ta angus  Sgadan)

Fiddlers of the Heather Isles on the Island of Lewis held a very traditional evening on the 28th November 2003.
Salted herrings and mackerels were served up during the ceilidh with boiled potatoes(roosters),butter and fresh milk.This was the staple diet on the islands up until not very long ago.Salting was the system of preseving the fish over the winter periods in days gone by before refrigeration.The fish were gutted and then layered in buckets and salted.This could then be eaten within a matter of weeks when boiled.
Fingers were used to eat the fish in the old days but it was noted that most guests used a knife and fork to eat the fish this time.
One of the benefits of eating salted fish of course is the tremendous thirst that develops after a while.
On the musical side of things performing at the ceilidh were Dougie Kane on the pipes,Catriona Watt gaelic singing,Sticks and Drones a local bagpipe and drums group,Heather isle fiddlers the local fiddle organisation,Campbell Maclean on accordion,the Kane brothers and star of the show “Tiene”which translates to Fire,Lynsday Macritchie(Keyboards),Judy Morrison(Clarsadh),and Catriona on low “D”whistle.The highlight of  the Tiene performance was a beautiful version of Phil Cunninghams` Youngest Ancient mariner`.
The finale of the evening was all the fiddlers on stage playing a series of 6/8`s ,Nell Flahertys` Drake,Ness Bochan,Wee tod,Kenny Gilles of Portnalong to an Orcadian Strip the Willow.
Then followed a gaelic waltz to the tunes
MorunGeal Dileas,Cailuin mo Ruansa and Morag of Dunvegan.
It is refreshing to report that the majority of the musicians donating thier talents on the evening were teenagers.Every one of them are serious players in their own disciplines.It bodes well for the future of traditional music in the hebrides.

Dolan Morrison
Chairman
Fiddlers of the Heather Isles.

Fidhleirean an Fhraoich 2000/01

A Sample of Public Performances to 13/10/01

Dunoon Mod October 2000,

Tuesday-Appearance at Argyll Hotel Foyer.
Live appearance at Sinbads hotel.Audience,100
Wednesday-Live appearance with Irish fiddler
Gavin Pennicook
Live appearance at Clansman hotel.
Thursday-Appearance with local fiddlers Carnyx
Appearance for Gaelic choirs.Audience 200
Friday-Live appearance  plus workshop at Glasgow hotel with
fiddle groups from Dunoon,Gourock and Islay.
Evening appearance at Park hotel with Jon Atchinson.
Saturday-Live appearance on M.V.Suilven.Audience 150.

November 2000-Charity benefit performance for local
hospital.Audience approx 150.
Performance for Stornoway Rugby Football Club.
Recording for Tigh Cherseva (Uist) film Passing Places.
June 2001-Concert for Macmillan Cancer fundraising.
July 2001-Live appearance at Lewis and Harris accordion and Fiddle Club.
Live performance at Stornoway Golf club entertaining at
Western   Isles Championship.
Public performance with tutor Ronan Martin (Skye)at
Macneils Stornoway
Performance at rural wedding in Uig,Lewis.
Performance at Inverie,Knoyard .
August 2001-Concert performance at Tidh Donnachaidh,Ness,Lewis
Concert performance at St Marys` Hall Benbecula
Public performance at Orasay Inn,Benbecula
Public performance at Isle of Barra hotel ,Barra.
September 2001-Laxdale Gaelic Choir 50th anniversary concert.
October 2001-Appearance at Royal National Mob Fiddlers Rally.