We were out on the beautiful Scottish island of Islay this weekend playing at a fantastic folk music festival called The Islay Sessions. We headed out on the boat from Kennacraig on Friday lunchtime with all the other artists who were also performing over the weekend. We landed into Port Askaig around 3pm and we headed up to the Port Charlotte Hotel which was the central base for the weekend. After a lovely dinner provided by the hotel we headed off to Laphroaig where we joined pupils from Islay High School for a wee concert and ceilidh which was lovely. What fantastic young musicians and singers Islay has! After the ceilidh it was back to the Port Charlotte where there was a fired up music session in play.
Saturday morning saw an early start for a number of us who were leading workshops at Islay High School. Gráinne was teaching fiddle and Tina was teaching piano. We had a great time with the young students there and they all came together at the end to perform a song and some tunes that they had learned that day.
We then headed along to the hall at Bruichladdich for sound checks ahead of the evening’s Grand Concert. After another good feed from the hotel we were back at the hall for the concert. We opened the concert with a set which we really enjoyed. It was then on to some beautiful Gaelic songs and piano accompaniment from Fiona Dunn & Shona Masson. Then there was some fantastic tunes on pipes, whistle, fiddle and guitar from the Ali Levack Trio. A short interval and then we heard the Rebecca Brown Trio with fiddle, guitar, banjo and song, some more songs from Fiona & Shona then followed and the concert ended with the brilliant Tyde on accordion, fiddle and guitar. It was then back to the hotel where there were more fantastic tunes happening. Here’s a pic of us from the concert.
Sunday was a day for more sessions and enjoying a bit of sun. We got a few photos done outside, taken by our friend Emma Tomlinson, which we’re really looking forward to seeing and sharing with you soon. A final good feed and another session saw the end to a fantastic festival. We were all very tired on the journey home on Monday but we had had a fantastic weekend. A big thanks to Fraser Shaw for organising the musicians and getting us along to play and thanks to Graham at the hotel who made sure we were very well looked after. Hooray for the Islay Sessions!