On Monday 15th we had an old friend of the station Christian Allard the adopted Frenchman who has contributed so much to Scotland. We looked at the current Sunak v Truss debacle and Christian was quick to tell us to ignore it. ‘We cannot affect the outcome so the best thing to do is to knock on doors and tell the good news of Scotland to the people. Always enthusiastic and positive the discussion moved on to immigration and the disgrace of Rwanda. We have to put ourselves in the shoes of those seeking asylum to realise the real horrors facing those who arrive here only to be moved on again. This would never happen in Scotland if we were independent. We only had a half an hour but what an interesting man to catch up with. The show was full of brand new music sent to us from new and established bands. Marcus Mac an Tuairneir has just released his new album Speactrum which is a Gaelic infused pop driven style. Bringing Gaelic into a new sphere the album is full of uplifting grooves
Tuesday 16th was a discussion with Ross Ainslie who was on air to promote the new album LAS which he involved with. The album is a collaboration with Brighde Chaimbeul and Steven Byrnes a self-penned instrumental album is the first album of double C smallpipies to be released in the world. Ross Ainslie is one of Scotland’s finest traditional musicians and composers, dubbed as “ridiculously talented” by The Herald for his playing of pipes, whistles and cittern. He is renowned for his highly acclaimed solo material, which was praised by Songlines as being “simply outstanding” and as a skilled performer and prolific collaborator who performs regularly with Treacherous Orchestra – of which he is a founding member – as well as artists that include Salsa Celtica, Dougie Maclean and Ali Hutton. We were delighted to get him on air. Ross explained that they were recorded playing live in the studio to get a real feel to the album. No click tracks or any other studio gismos just the music. The album contains new music and is naturally influenced by Scottish music with Strathspeys and Reels on track 7 but Irish and Bulgarian as well. Ross explained the they rehearsed in his flat ensuring the recording happened quite quickly. The album is a pipers album I feel but the arrangements on some tracks with the pipes in harmony with the guitar of Steven brings a joyous foot tapping sensation. The album grew on me the more I listened and you can appreciate the skill of the musicians the more you listen. To purchase go to www.rossainsliebandcamp.com.
Wednesday 17th Was one of those days you have no idea how the interview will go. Today I had top Scottish author Lin Anderson on for a chat primarily about her new book ‘ The Party House ( A place to die for) a deeply atmospheric psychological thriller set in the Scottish Highlands. As it was a new release I was conscience of not letting any spoilers take place so no one listening would be disappointed. Lin was fantastic at summarising the story line saving my blushes. I have to say this book is a page turner with plot and sub plot leading the reader to wonder who is the real baddy. All characters have been accused of something in their past but who are the real culprits. You will have to buy the book. Lin is also involved with the Bloody Scotland festival and regularly showcase Scottish talent. I was surprised to hear they have to travel to London for a get together. Its where the money is! Covid has changed this slightly with more emphasis on zoom chats are now preferred. Now in their 10th anniversary this year’s programme will be the biggest ever, with events across four days (15th-18th September 2022), and will be a combination of both the normal Stirling-based events, plus the additional online element that was first introduced in 2020. Tickets are now on sale via the BLOODY SCOTLAND website ( http://bloodyscotland.com/events ), so please book now and join us in September.
Thursday 18th and the tracks downloaded mysteriously disappeared of my screen. Allison Graham from Common Weal was joining me today and she requested Patti Smith: The people have the Power but alas it could not be found. Never mind we ran a bit over schedule as I examined Anus Sarwar proposals to alleviate the cost of living crisis and rubbished his ideas as they didn’t make sense. Allison is a great speaker and can really get the message out so it was important for me not to butt in with questions she was arriving at herself. Many folks think this is ignorant but during a telephone discussion Allison can’t read my body language. Besides she really does talk sense. We started with the crisis in our health service with staff on the brink of collapse. Allison witnessed this as her mum was in hospital. ‘We really have to look after those who look after us’. We discussed how politics was broken and how political parties are hamstrung by power and thus limited. The people at a grassroots level need to know they have the power to change things. We must set new precedents such as the example of rewarding our NHS staff with a week away in a Government owned time share to relax and recharge their batteries. Just because it hasn’t been done or sounds utopian doesn’t mean it cant happen. If we don’t look for solutions we will lose our health service. Hard hitting stuff but I would not have it any other way with Allison.
Friday 19th and a first at Caledon Radio we had three guests on the show. First on was Gavin Chittocks who was organising the Millport Country Festival. Gavin had to contend with high winds while speaking about the real issues putting on the festival. Train strikes, lack of accommodation on the Island did not keep Gavin down who was delighted to announce some great acts and how 5 stages had been constructed for the event. A man driven by his passion it was a delight to speak to him. Gavin also had a wee bit of rivalry with me about fitbaw. A listener to the sports show he chided me for my Aberdeen bias. Me? Biased ?
As the tunes played it was time for me to face message Paul Mooney from County Sligo over in Ireland to chat about the new ska single his band Elevator had released. There was a one second delay on the line so we had to wait for the other to finish but we scrambled a decent interview. Paul explained that there was no Irish radio stations doing what we were doing and he was very appreciative of Caledon Radio playing their new single The Rainbow Song. The song has been recorded in 7 languages in an attempt to get more people to listen to a song in their own language. Paul was reminded of a Glasgow story involving Bing and Walt. Bing sings but Walt disnae. I chipped in with the Glaswegian going into a bakers and asks is that a cake or a meringue baker replies naw your quite correct. Great laugh with a nice bloke
Sandy Brechin was my last impromptu guest after a message on Facebook alerted me to him being on tour with his band MBO who have just released their new album. Having been in glorious Ullapool they were heading to Invergordon where I caught up with Sandy. Unknown to anyone but himself the accordionist had booked himself on an ice skating course in Inverness to coincide with the tour. Because the lessons started so early he slept in his car and had to endure painful ankles after a stint on the ice. Charlie MacKeron the fiddler had to fly back from France after a concert with Capercaillie. The mini tour was funded by Scotland on Tour a new organisation to help musicians get out on the road without incurring losses.
Written by: Norrie Hunter
14th Nov Andrew Wilson was talking about the politicisation of poppy day. It seems you may be persecuted for not wearing a poppy in the UK. Other symbols of respect are available so why the loyalty to the red poppy. Of course the British establishment love nothing more than talking […]
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