" ... man to man, the world ower,
Shall brothers be, for a' that."
January and it's that time of year when we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of our national bard. A very special concert in Ayr on the 23rd January - I'll be playing the fiddle which once was Niel Gow's favourite, and Alastair McCulloch will be using an instrument once played on by Robert Burns!
December, and a reluctant farewell to two old friends, Jock Thommeny and Sebastian Thewes.
Jock was a Fifer, a Pars supporter, moothie player and regular listener to Radio Scotland's Scottish music programme "Take the Floor".
Sebastian - "Bas" - once lived at Strathgarry House, Perthshire. He was an antiques expert and a keen angler, but most of all enjoyed a dram and a good blether.
They will both be sadly missed, by me and many others.
A century has passed since the signing of the armistice to end the First World War. How tragic that, with that act, the seeds were sewn for the next global conflict, just twenty years later. And even now, in the 21st Century, global harmony seems as distant dream as it was for Robert Burns when he wrote "A Man's a Man".
August and "our" swifts departed for Africa right on schedule (last year they were gone by the 4th).
A fine summer evening of music in the very bonnie village of Kirkmichael, Ayrshire, with my good friend and fellow fiddler Alastair Savage. We of course chose repertoire with Burns connections. (The church in which we played was built in 1787, the year of the meeting between Messrs Gow and Burns.)
Tunes in June .... made video-recording last month, playing beneath Niel Gow's Oak. Director/producer/camera man was John P. Martin.
You can find the FILM CLIPS by clicking the links on my "Recordings", "Tune of the Month" and "Teaching & Fiddle Weeks" pages.
May and The Orkney Folk Festival was blessed with blue skies and brilliant sunshine. "Auld Hat, New Heids" had a weekend of great craic!
Played a special concert in the Scottish Parliament with Muriel Johnstone (profile-raising for the initiative to create a Niel Gow memorial in Dunkeld. Thank you to Perthshire's MSP John Swinney for sponsoring the event.
Very sad news of the passing of Douglas Smith earlier in May. Douglas did an enormous amount for the Dunkeld & District Strathspey & Reel Society. Thoughts are with his friends and family.
May and most of our migrant birds have arrived for the Scottish summer. Great to see Sandpipers and Sand Martins skimming the water. Saw my first swifts of the year over Birnam on Wednesday 9th May.
Spotted this fine sculpture in Belfast when the bus from the airport into the city stopped at traffic lights. The position of the sun was pure luck!
I later found out that it's by Andy Scott (yes, the "Kelpies" man) and is called "Beacon of Hope" (or as some wags would have it, "Nuala with the Hula"!) Fabulous!
March, (Niel Gow's birthday on the 22nd) and Winter reminded us that it was still here! The sunshine and blue skies finally arrived on the Monday following the festival. However, the cold and snowy weather of the weekend didn't deter 25 brave walkers from the Niel Gow walk! And another great weekend of music!
February and Spring is in the air. Snowdrops blooming, ducks head-bobbing and dippers singing!