The familiar Islay song 'Westering Home' tells of the pleasure an Ileach feels when returning from overseas to his beloved island. In this year of Homecoming, one wonders what the people who farmed Smaull in the past would make of it now, particularly if they came home during the first week of August. Perhaps they would be a bit sad to find that there were no longer farm animals, feedstuff and implements in the byres, and maybe they would wonder at the changes which had taken place on Islay in their absence. On the other hand, they might enjoy the sound of the singing which pours out of every building and fills the air during that week, and be glad that there are people who so love Islay and Smaull Song that they come back year after year. Continue reading.....
This year, Smaull Song is running a five-day course for local singers in parallel with the main course. This starts on August 1st when Mary Hill, Chief Coach at the Royal Academy of Music, and Iseabail Mactaggart will run a workshop for Coisir Ghaidhlig Ile. On the same evening, Islayâ€™s Marion Ramsay and Rebecca Johnstone will each have a singing masterclass with Richard Jackson, who teaches at the Royal College of Music. Marion has just graduated with a Diploma in Opera Studies from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, and Rebecca will be auditioning this autumn for London music colleges.
These masterclasses are open to the public, so if you would like to sit in on them, come along to the Columba Centre in Bowmore at 6.00pm on Saturday August 1st, admission is free. You will also hear Coisir Ghaidhlig Ile singing the songs they have been working on with Iseabail and Mary, in preparation for the National Mod in October. The local course has been made possible by generous financial support from the Schroder Foundation and Argyll & Bute Council.
The main Smaull Song concert will be held at on Friday 7th August at 8.00 pm at the Columba Centre, Bowmore. This evening will bring together participants in both the local and Smaull courses, and will feature a four-part arrangement of 'Westering Home'. Tickets will be available at the door.
This story was published with kind permission of the Ileach local newspaper.