Well, its not long since i was reporting the triumph that was a wee ceilidh band from the west coast filling the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow – 2,800 plus folk took their seats to enjoy the boys at their very best when along with a few friends they rocked Celtic Connections.
Little did we know that the band had a secret to tell – that being it was time for Big Angus MacPhail and his co-founder Andrew Stevenson – to make an announcement:
‘Today, with very mixed emotions, we’d like to announce a new change in personnel.
‘We are, first of all, very sad to say goodbye to our singer, Robert Robertson and our keyboard player, Ross Wilson’ – was the word on Facebook.
Robert and Ross have been key players [pun intended in Ross’s case] – and have been instrumental [stop it Campbell] in getting the band to its present musical heights. The co- writing team that has been Angus, his Mum and Robert has seen some great tunes and songs for the last two albums.
The press release goes on:
‘Robert and Ross are also keen to get moving with their new musical venture and we’ve all agreed that April is the month that they will play their …….. last ‘official’ gig with Skipinnish – the charity fundraising event, We’ll Walk This Road Together in the Corran Halls in Oban, on the 9th April’.
This is a fascinating development as the charity do in Oban has Skipinnish and Manran headlining. So no better day to debut the new front man – none other than former Manran front man and singer Norrie MacIver.
Norrie has just had great acclaim for his solo album, Danns an Rathaid – the Road dance.
‘We are thrilled to welcome our new singer/guitarist, Norrie MacIver, with whom we have played countless gigs and have been great friends for many years.
‘Joining us in the back line will be Glasgow’s keyboard-player extraordinaire, Jonathan Gillespie.
‘We’re incredibly excited to start working with those top-quality musicians. We’ll still be performing all our songs and they are sounding fab with the new boys’ – says the big news release from Skipinnish.
But the boys’ news was not complete. Yesterday – the next announcement became public.
‘We are delighted to announce that we have another new member joining the band.
‘Rory Grindlay, an absolutely brilliant young player from West Calder, is joining us on the drums. Present drummer Alasdair ‘Swally’ Murray will now be joining Kyle and Manbeast on the pipes.
‘We hope young Rory knows what he has let himself in for…’
And what the audiences at Oban Live and We will walk this road together are in for as a wall of sound from the various pipes storms out from the stage. That will be a sight to behold.
So from two – Manran and Skipinnish – we now have three, as we await news of Robert Robertson and Ross Wilson’s new project as the evolution of Scottish Traditional Music takes another turn.
The Scottish scene has never been in better health as our folk take the tunes and tradition around the world to new and confirmed audiences spreading the magic dust that make our we country so special.
Campbell Cameron, Music Editor
Note: the photograph above snows the current Skipinnish line up, soon to be augmented.