The village hall of Bruichladdich opened its doors to friends and soon-to-be friends of Fraser Shaw’s music, for it was the night of the Mac Ìle album launch. The first launch that is, which took place on June 27th on the Isle of Islay. A second launch is scheduled to take place in Glasgow in August. The fact that it was a Tuesday night did not hinder the audience attendance, with a buzz of excited chitter chatter encompassing the hall awaiting an evening on enthralling music. It was an evening of two halves; of drams and gin provided kindly by Bruichladdich Distillery, of incredible music and musicianship and of a term you are likely to hear frequently regarding Fraser, that term being friendship.
The evening was kicked off to an enrapturing start by pipers Calum MacCrimmon and Angus MacKenzie, a traditional start to any concert or ceilidh. This was followed by a different blend of musicians for each set, all delivering snippets of their tales and time with the man in title and offering heartfelt performances. Local singer Alasdair Currie also delighted the crowd with a beautiful collection of gaelic songs, setting the equilibrium number of songs to tunes. After a short interlude allowing both listeners and musicians to refresh their glasses it was on to the second half, during which sentiment grew with every set.
The emotion emanating from the stage, I’m sure could be felt by each person in the crowd familiar with Fraser’s story or not. Music has an inconceivable way to convey emotions, perhaps emotions that wouldn’t be visible to a passing stranger but in this context they can be felt very nearly first hand. The busy audience was filled with friends of Fraser’s and also many people that wouldn’t have had the pleasure of knowing him. It is most likely the latter were visitors to the island discovering this little pocket of first class traditional music unexpectedly. As the musicians closed the concert it was the end of an incredible nights music, but to these perfect strangers who happened upon ‘A night for Fraser’, it is just the start of a new journey discovering his music, introducing it to friends alike and being almost ‘passengers’ of his legacy.
The Islay Sessioners hosted an evening Fraser would have reveled in – an evening of music, friends (old and new), drams and these fine things in life continuing into the night at the much cherished Port Charlotte Hotel. I think it is safe to say the Fraser Shaw Trust is doing exactly what it set out to do, if not more.
– Ciara MacTaggart