Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Tannahill Weavers tour Canada

Last night I had the good fortune to see the Tannahill Weavers live at the deCoste Center in Pictou, Nova Scotia. This band has been bringing traditional Scottish music to audiences around the world for several decades.

I was a little concerned when Colin Melville came on stage with bagpipes, and more so when he stepped up to a pair of microphones as I have always been of the opinion that the last thing the bagpipes need is amplification. But I really shouldn't have worried since Colin is an extremeley talented musician who makes beautiful music on this much maligned instrument. Colin also plays whistles, including one huge beast the likes of which I had never seen before, a low whistle which is an octave lower than normal pipes.

The Tannahill Weavers take their name from Robert Tannahill, a weaver and poet from the band's original home town of Paisley.

Roy Gullane is the lead vocalist, guitarist and story-teller. On flute, bodhran and whistles, Phil Smillie and John Martin on fiddle. Les Wilson played bouzouki, guitar and keyboards and sang lead vocals on Lassie wi’ the lintwhite locks. This is a beautiful love song written by Robbie Burns, who according to Roy, had a way with the women and could talk the underpants off any lassie.

My only disappointment was with the audience. Considering the Scottish heritage that Pictou is so proud of, it was disappointing that the audience was so small and so quiet.

The Tannahill Weavers tour of Canada continues this month in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Ontario. They will be back in November at venues in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. If you get the the opportunity to see them, I don't think you will be disappointed. CDs and downloads are available from

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