Cowal and Argyll Events

Item Posted: Wednesday 4th April, 2007

April is to be a particularly active month around the whole area. For this month we go beyond Cowal to share with you some other events arranged by groups getting together to help different communities. Many of these events have been sponsored by ScoittishPower Renewables, Loch Fyne Trust in conjunction with Lochgoilhead Fiddle Workshop.

Winner of the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award 2004, Lauren MacColl is now a regular on radio and TV - including Radio Scotland’s Travelling Folk, Radio nan Gaidheal, BBC 2 Alba, and as part of Donald Shaw’s Harvest commission on 2004’s BBC Hogmanay Live Show. When she won the award the BBC review said ‘Taking the stage to announce the winner, John McCusker pronounced he was ‘feeling very old and gonna go home and practice’. As a judge as well as presenter, he was well placed to reiterate the difficulty of the decision. In the end, it was the pure passion of her musicality which won the day for Lauren MacColl. Proving that traditional music doesn't have to be played full-tilt to display virtuosity, she had conjured up the magical heart of Scotland with her beautifully controlled and intensely beautiful fiddling. Her sets displayed a maturity and understanding that won pin-drop attention from the audience and brought her the award. Now we can all hope to see this talented young musician emerge from her native Scotland and reach a wider audience south of the border.’ This has certainly happened. In her relatively short career her playing has taken her to Montana, Italy, France, Bulgaria, Norway, Galway, Co. Mayo and across Britain. Mike Harding on his Radio 2 programme eulogised: ‘The most beautiful playing of a slow air I have ever heard...’
Her trio performing at Strachur Memorial Hall include pianist James Ross. His career has blossomed since he was seen locally with fiddler Anna-Wendy Stevenson, having composed and performed a New Voice work for Celtic Connections, and launched a greatly admired solo cd. Brian McNeil head of RSAMD and the producer of James’ cd commented: "Once in a while, a truly unique artist arrives on the traditional music scene, someone who creates a fundamental shift in the way we perceive an instrument. James Ross is just such an artist"
On guitar is Barry Reid, a founding member of high energy band Croft No. Five, who also performs with the Lori Watson Trio. Barry tours and performs extensively throughout Europe and the USA. With the independent recording and release of Croft’s critically acclaimed second album, Barry turned his hand to recording, mixing and mastering at their Planet Five Studios. He was involved in the opening piece at Celtic Connections in 2006.The versatility of Barry's guitar playing spans the spectrum from traditional through classical to jazz, blues and rock. He has a lovely touch as an acoustic guitarist whether solo or accompanying tune and song.

The area is fortunate to have managed to get access to this trio before they get too famous, and beyond the means of local groups. They will also be holding fiddle and guitar workshops on the day.


A welcome return from the ever-popular multi- instrumentalist and singer Bruce Molsky. Bruce holds a stage as few roots musicians can: with skill, a varied and deep repertoire, a reverence for the past, a healthy curiosity about music outside old-time, and a relaxed, conversational wit that draws listeners in as if they were sitting in his living room, so the intimate atmosphere of the club and small hall is ideal.

’One of the most influential fiddlers of his generation, Bruce Molsky is also a remarkable guitarist, banjoist and singer. His art is weaving these strands into a beautifully compelling and individual style of American and world traditional music. His high-spirited performance melds the archaic mountain sounds of Appalachia, the power of blues and the rhythmic intricacies of traditional African music.’ (Living Tradition Magazine). His cds are mega sellers and his ‘Poor Man’s Troubles’ album won America’s Association for Independent Music award in the Traditional Folk section.


Shake off the winter blues at Scotland's unique Springtime Festival featuring Spring blossom, guided walks of woods, hills, heritage and architecture, gardens and garden tours, art exhibitions and workshops, craft fairs and speciality shopping, all types of live music, environmental marquee, mini Highland Games, farmer's market, food and drink tastings plus a wee touch of Japanese culture!
Rounding off the festival will be ‘Back of the Moon’, who have a raft of awards to their name including Best Folk Band (Scottish Trad Music Awards 2005), Best Up and Coming Act (Scottish Trad Music Awards 2003) and Best Celtic Group (Lorient Interceltic Festival 2003)

Since forming in 2000, the band has rapidly gained a reputation for their dynamic live performances, touring annually throughout the UK, Canada, USA and Europe. Back of the Moon create their giant acoustic sound through a tightly woven frontline of Scottish border pipes and fiddle, an intimate pairing of low whistle and flute, the distinctive rhythmic force of their guitar/piano rhythm combo, at times augmented by bodhran and Cape Breton step dancing, and awesome three-part vocal harmonies in their Scottish songs - in which each singer takes the lead.

There is a chance for all readers to help a wonderful local charity, and to have a ball! Funds raised at a ball and charity auction on May 5th will help Robin House in Balloch continue. You can dance will be to the big band sound of the Royal MarineBand Scotland, and the evening will include a three course meal.
Over 50 teenagers with life limiting conditions use the facilities at Robin House.. The palliative and respite care offered to children and their families by this unit are essential to them.
The Children's Hospice Association Scotland was founded in 1992 by a small group of parents and professionals who understood the needs of children with life limiting conditions and their families. At that time Scotland had no children's hospice. Families who wanted and needed hospice services had to make long journeys to England with their sick children to receive the support and practical help that only a children's hospice can offer.
In 1993 with the support of the Scottish Office, CHAS embarked on a programme of public, corporate and professional awareness raising to secure the funds to create Scotland's first children's hospice. At that point the charity was entirely dependent on the voluntary efforts of board members and volunteer support. Volunteers remain a key component of CHAS and are involved in all areas of the organisation
This mixed event has become an important part of the local calendar in recent years. Six different walks of varying difficulty, performances by the theatre group Walking Theatre Company, pigeon shoot, come and try your hand at painting, craft fair, massage, shinty are the days events, all rounded off with a ceilidh with Canned Haggis. There should be something for everyone during this enjoyable community event.

Strachur Memorial Hall. 14th April 2.00 to 4.00 Fiddle and Guitar Workshops 01301 703504
Strachur Memorial Hall 14th April 8.00 Lauren MacColl Trio Concert 01301 703504
Ardrishaig Halls 22nd April 8.00 Bruce Molsky Concert Tickets at door
Helensburgh Victoria Hall 28th April 8.00 Back of the Moon Concert 01436 672642
Helensburgh 28th April to 4th May Lomond and Clyde Spring Festival 01436 672642
Glendaruel 5th May Cowal Way Open Day

Dunbarton Abbotsford Hotel 5th May CHAS Charity Ball and Auction 01369 720779


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