The Camanachd Association (the sport of shinty’s governing body) commissioned Gary to write “The Homecoming March” for the 2009 Homecoming Camanachd Cup Final in Oban. On the day, the Oban Pipe Band piped the teams onto the pitch playing the tune.
“Dili o Iidilum” is a piece of traditional Gaelic puirt à beul or ‘mouth music’. It bemoans the lack of a “drop” in the singer’s pig or pitcher. “Thoir a-nall Ailein “is another piece of puirt and sings about Allan, who would set for the dance; Finlay, who won’t go to Eigg though he’s not married; and Handsome Niall, the son of the Bailiff from Uist.
“Tamhasg” was composed by Robbie MacLeod, a talented young songwriter from Edinburgh. Norrie first heard this song while he was working with Robbie as part of a Gaelic songwriting workshop at Watercolour Studios, Aryhoulan.
“Dhèanainn Sùgradh” is a traditional Gaelic Òran Luaidh or Waulking Song. This type of song was formerly used to ‘waulk’ or soften new cloth by beating it rhythmically against a table. The dark-haired girl mentioned in the song is in fact a boat and the song tells of all the place the skipper would take her and all he would do with her.
The “10k Tattie” refers to an amusing story Ryan told us of an uncommonly valuable potato he once saw in his local paper in Ireland.
“Fechin Inn” was composed by the brilliant Irish whistle player, Brian Finnegan, once of Flook and now playing with Kan.
“The Road to Appeldoorn” was composed by Ryan after a 24hr round-trip to play in Appeldoorn, the Netherlands, with a dance show.
This set starts with a slow air written by Ross following a coffee date with Maria, a girl from the valley of Aosta in North West Italy. Forced to be patient due to the physical distance between them, the melody conveys both the feelings of attraction and admiration towards Maria, as well as the hardships of missing her during the beginnings of their long distance relationship.
“Maria” is followed by “Kerlou” (or “Schottische Kerlou”, to give the full title), which was composed by the former uilleann piper and flautist with Mànran, Calum Stewart. Calum composed it for his beautiful home in Kerlou, Brittany and Ewen added the Gaelic lyrics.
Scott composed this song was written in late 2012. It’s about the struggle to keep a relationship together and the decision of whether or not that is the best thing to do.
Andy MacKinnon has been a great friend and supporter of the band since Mànran first began. Gary and Ewen first met Andy through playing for a Burns Supper in Kazakhstan but he now resides in Inverness.
Ewen composed “The Rutland Jig” while round at Gary’s flat in Glasgow during one of many ‘tune section’ rehearsals and named the tune after the surrounding area.
“Trip to Aviles” was composed by the fantastic piper, Lorne MacDougall, who also happens to be Gary’s flatmate. Lorne gained fame for playing pipes for the Disney/Pixar animation, “Brave”.
“I Have it Somewhere” is yet another composition by Allan MacDonald, one of the three legendary piping brothers from Glenuig.
“Tillidh Mi” first appeared on Runrig’s first album “Play Gaelic” in 1978 and was written by the band’s songwriting brothers, Calum and Rory Macdonald. It tells of a desire to return home to the islands from the city.
The Fishing Boat
The Fishing Boat comes from a short story in George Mackay Brown’s “A Time to Keep” collection of short stories, written in 1968/9. Lise Sinclair, a fine songwriter from Fair Isle, was inspired to write a collection of songs based on these stories after she felt she could hear the songs on first reading the short stories. The song collection – a collaboration with Icelandic jazz musician Ástvaldur Traustasson – is called “A Time to Keep” and is a wonderful evocation of George Mackay Brown’s works.
Ewen wrote the first tune as a tribute to the New York Giants kicker, Lawrence Tynes, who made history as the first American Football player to kick the winning overtime field goal in two separate play-offs and originally came from Greenock.
“Ward Allen’s” was composed by the great Cape Breton fiddler, Kinnon Beaton, for the legendary Ontario fiddler, Ward Allen. Gary and Ewen co-wrote “John Smeaton’s” in honour of the unlikely hero of the Glasgow Airport terrorist attack in 2007 who, whilst on a cigarette-break, commenced to ‘set-aboot’ the would-be attackers. “Smelling Fresh” was written by Norrie’s fellow Leodhasach, James MacKenzie, who is a superb piper and plays in the band Breabach.