We all have people in our lives that have great stories and memories to share and during this time in particular we are reminded just how precious these people and their voices are to us. So next month I am launching a new project where I will be offering people the chance to capture their very own unique package of memories that will include me interviewing their loved one to find out more about the story of their life and those golden memories and experiences of the older generation that so often go unsaid and unshared. The final package will include their stories recorded in their own voices alongside the music that has inspired them and possibly even been the soundtrack to their life weaved throughout. So if you have a family member or someone special that you think you would like to have this treasured recording of then drop me an email to email@example.com
As I approach the big 4~0 next month I thought it would be nice to mark the milestone with a book release of tunes, pictures, stories and songs that I have composed over The First Forty Years. The book has been a pleasure to put together and has brought back and sparked so many great memories of different people, trips and times in my life.
It is now available for pre-order and will officially be released worldwide on November 29th.
Hope you enjoy x
Earlier this year we recorded a two-part documentary on suicide with BBC Radio Scotland which will air this coming Wednesday 9th and Thursday 10th September to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day.
‘SIX MEN’ is titled after the six men and friends at Fort William Shinty Club that I played alongside over two decades that have taken their own lives. As part of the documentary we talk with some of the families, friends and professionals to find out what can be done to try and help with this horrendous illness.
‘SIX MEN’ will broadcast at 11.30am each day and will be available for a further 30days on BBC Sounds.
If you yourself are struggling in anyway then please, please consider talking to a family member, confidant or professional. It may not feel like it to you just now but you can be sure the world is a far better place with you in it. x
I am delighted to be a judge for this prestigious composition competition especially at this very difficult time for musicians. Please find below a press release I have taken from the Royal Celtic Society website with all info/terms and conditions at the bottom.
Very best of luck to all composers and musicians alike.
Three of Scotland’s most significant sporting and cultural bodies are coming together to offer a major set of prizes for an original musical composition marking the absence of shinty from this summer’s sporting calendar and looking forward to the return of play.
Led by the Royal Celtic Society, which is this year celebrating its 200th anniversary, and in partnership with the Glasgow Celtic Society and the Camanachd Association, supported by Tulloch Homes, the competition is offering three prizes totalling £1500 for an individual to compose an original composition.
The Royal Celtic Society had originally intended that the winnter of the competition could have been performed at this year’s Camanachd Cup Final at the post-match Final Fling. That game has been postponed until next year, but the intention now is to have a musical shoot-out on that very date in September 2020, between the three best entrants, who will then share the prizes. The winner will get £750, the second place £500 and third place £250.
Speaking on behalf of the Royal Celtic Society, Chairman Alan Hay said: “We are all very keen to find a way of answering the challenge of the postponement of this year’s show-piece shinty event and the society did not want to ose the opportunit of marking our 200th year as we would have wished. We have come up with a unique collaboration when we will offer the country’s leading musicians a significant challenge with a major prize and using all the technology at our disposal, we believe we have come up with a format which will appeal to everyone and have a dramatic conclusion.”
Individual musicians are being asked to submit their composition, by recording them on their phones or camera, to a selection panel led by award winning musician Gary Innes of Manran, the BBC Scotland Take the Floor presenter, and former shinty captain of Scotland (pictured right). Gary said: “This competition, with such substantial prizes, comes at a hugely important time for musicians. Most are effectively redundant with public events having been cancelled for the foreseeable future. They will be very interested in entering a prestigious competition which ahs originality and a final performance at its core. We want the entrants to mark the fact that there will be no shinty season this year, but that, as it has done in the past, shinty will rise to the challenge and be at the front of our minds in the not too distant future.”
Gary will be joined on the panel by representatives of the Royal Celtic Society, the Glasgow Celtic Society and the Camanachd Association, who will be represented byClaire Delaney of Lochaber Camanachd.
Glasgow Celtic Society (whose cup is pictured right) President Donald Fletcher waid: “The Glasgow Celtic Society is delighted to play a part in such a prestigious and important competition in celebration of our culture. While the society in modern timeshas concentrated on the promotion of the game f shinty, its origins lie in the preservation and promotion of the language, literature, music, poetry, antiquities and athletic games of the Highlanders. It is fitting in this year when we cannot host what would be the 116th Scottish Sea Farms Challenge Cup Final, we are able to support this instead.
The Camanachd Association, which has re-scheduled the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final for Kingussie in 2021, has also welcomed this competition. President Keith Loades said: “The tree bodies involved in thishave been cumulatively supporting cultural and sporting events throughout Scotland for nine years less than 500. Music and sport and the Gaelic language have been intertwined in our work over all these years and we are sure this will bereflected in the quality of entry we will see and hear. We may not be getting the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final we wanted on September 19, but we will at least now have a musical final to look forward to and we wish all the entrants all the best in their endeavours.”
Guidance and rules for entrants
1. The competition will be for a solo artist to compose an original piece of music which marks the current situation of no shinty being played for this season; the fact that this has only happened twice before, during WW1 and WW2; and reflects a sense of optimism for renewal of the game in the coming year(s).
2. Your composition can be of any length and entrants should offer a description of the piece in no more than 100 words.
3. Entrants will have eight weeks to compose the tune and submit a phone recording on vide to the Royal Celtic Society for assessment.
4. The three best tunes will be chosen by the judging panel, and the composer invited to a live play-off (online unless circumstances change) to decide on the winner and the runners up.
5. The selection of finalists would be made by a panel comprising a Royal Celtic Society representative, Gary Innes (Chair), Claire Delaney, Lochaber Camanachd Club and a representative of the Glasgow Celtic Society.
6. The winner will undertake to perform the piece live in the future at an event in circumstances to be agreed with the Royal Celtic Society, such as a shinty related dance/event or some other traditional music event.
Wednesday 10 June: competition launched
Wednesday 5 August: all entries submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 26 August: selection of entries completed by the judges
Friday 28 August: Finalists announced
Saturday 29 September: Final shoot-out (arrangements to be confirmed) and prizes awarded
We’re delighted through these tough times to bring you a little nice news. Take the Floor will have a brand new live request show starting on BBC Radio Scotland from 5th April 2020 called, Take the Floor, Your Requests. This will fill the usual TTF repeat show that is programmed between 5-7pm and all tracks played on the show will be requested by our listeners. You can get in touch with your special requests and dedications by emailing email@example.com or by telephone on 08 085 92 95 00. Look forward to you joining us
Delighted to announce that Take the Floor has won the 2019, ‘Trad Music in the Media’ Award. Both producer Jennifer Cruickshank (pictured centre below) myself and all the TTF team are over the moon with this accolade and want to thank each and everyone of you that took the time to vote for us. Pictured on the far right is Hands up for Trad director, Simon Thoumire who joined us at our BBC studios at Pacific Quay in Glasgow to present the award. Many thanks once again 🙂
I am delighted to be once again heading back onto An Aird Shinty field albeit in a very different capacity next April 10th and 11th 2020. Mànran are holding a two day music festival on Fort William’s Shinty pitch to mark our 10th anniversary and what better setting could be on offer than at the foot of Ben Nevis in Lochaber where we will be joined alongside our great musical friends that we have met along the road. Hope you can join us for what is sure to be a party to remember. CLICK HERE for tickets.
I am very honoured to have been asked by the Camanachd Association to be their first ever Ambassador of Shinty’s most coveted trophy, The Camanachd Cup. A trophy that as a child I literally dreamed of winning. Many years later and I feel very privileged to hold five winner medals of this iconic cup with my teammates at Fort William Shinty Club. A huge thanks once again to everyone at the Camanachd Association for this honour.
This year’s Broadwood ‘Live By The Loch’ Festival was launched today at Cumbernauld’s Stadium and it gives me great pleasure to once again be this year’s musical director of the festival. Last year’s inaugural festival was a huge success and we are very excited about bringing such a strong line up to this year’s festival. Doors opens at 3pm with local Pipeband champions, North Lanarkshire Schools Pipe Band.