I was really excited when I heard that the Tannahill Weavers were coming to my little town. I’ve been a fan of theirs for many years.

Before they started playing, I was invited round the back to meet them by Graham Pope, who had organised their appearance here. They were all feeling a bit tired as they’d had a long drive.

LYN Where did you get the name from?

Roy It’s from the town of Paisley, Scotland’s historic weaving industry, and local poet laureate Robert Tannahill. He’s not as well-known as Robert Burns, and he doesn’t have a Supper named after him!

LYN How long have you been together?

ROY The group is 50 years old next year.  We’re trying to get an album out to celebrate it, plus a tour organised.

LYN How did you get your style?

ROY It started as a bit of fun and just grew.

LYN What would you call your style?

ROY Traditional Scottish but the rhythms are different.

LYN And how did you get your style?

ROY It just grew and developed.

Lyn Do you improvise much?

PHIL Not on purpose!

LYN Do you go abroad much?

ROY Most of our tours are abroad, mainly in America.

LYN Where was the most exotic place you’ve played?

EVERYONE Definitely Mexico.

ROY We were the first Western band to play in Yugoslavia after Tito died.

LYN Why are you here in our little town?!

EVERYONE We know Graham.

I left them to get organised and went to sit down.

John Martin

John Martin was one of the original members. He plays the fiddle and sings harmony vocals.

Phil Smillie

Phil Smillie is the New Boy. He joined in 1974. He plays the flute, whistles, and the bodhran, which is a Celtic drum.

Roy Gullane

Roy Gulland is the main founder member. He plays the guitar, sings all the lead vocals, and also cracks the jokes and explains the words of the songs, which is very necessary.

You can chat to a Scotsman OK, but as soon as he starts singing, the language turns into a sort of distilled English (which is what it often is. Have you ever been in Edinburgh late on a Saturday night?!)

For instance, the Weavers sang a song called When the Kye come Hame. If Roy hadn’t told us, we wouldn’t have known that meant When the Cows come Home.

There was another song about the Battle of Culloden, which was a terrible battle.

Hundreds of Scottish fighters were taken prisoner and shipped to Australia.

Said Roy, it was the biggest movement of Scottish until the ad Drink Canada Dry came out!

Roy has a lovely distinctive voice. It didn’t matter that we couldn’t understand what he was singing as his voice is a musical instrument.

Lorne MacDougall

And then there’s Lorne MacDougall. He plays the Highland bagpipes, the Scottish small pipes, and various whistles. He joined the group 3-4 years ago.

Lorne walked onto the stage, dumped his sports bag on the ground beside him and slumped onto a seat.

Every time a tune started, he would reach into his sports bag and I half-expected him to take out a Haggis sandwich or a deep-fried Mars Bar.

But he produced different whistles of varied sizes and colours.

His bagpipes lay on the ground in front of him and sometimes he’d look at them as though they were unfinished homework that he had to hand in the next morning. Then he’d slowly stand up and pick them up, tucking the bag under his arm and blowing into the mouthpiece – and he’d start to play.

Suddenly, he’d grow in front of our eyes. He wasn’t just a young lad in his 30s; he was a tall, proud descendant of Scottish warriors. Everyone stared at him, mesmerised.

No exaggeration, Lorne’s the Eric Clapton of the bagpipes.

Watch Ray’s video of the evening and just look at the speed that his fingers move!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlSwVpynOt4&list=PLEGy8kINYVhlMYeemGbPASGoA3BRovU4N

Maggie Smillie is married to Phil.  She sells the CDs, t-shirts, etc and also shares the driving.

Maggie Smillie

LYN Maggie, where did you and Phil meet?

MAGGIE We met in Minnesota in 1984 when the guys were touring in the USA; Just met in a bar after the gig, basically 🙂 Standard story I guess! Boy meets girl. It was February in very cold Minnesota and I gave him my mittens to wear.

LYN Why don’t the guys wear kilts when they’re playing?

MAGGIE  Kilts weigh a ton! There’s a lot of material in them and they take a lot of looking after. And then there’s the accessories; it’s impossible to take them on tours.

It’s a shame as they’d look really good wearing kilts. And I couldn’t help wondering how many thousands of miles their own clothes had travelled!

The Tannahill Weavers are magnificent musicians and great entertainers. I do hope they’ll come here and play for us again.

One thing though; it was a mild Winter’s evening and there’s a free car park right outside the building, but the room was half-empty.

Literally thousands of people live here within a few miles and a lot of them claim to be music lovers.

So I just want to say to them, Shame on you for your apathy. You missed a memorable evening!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0ZIvGELVHk

Thanks to Ray Whiteway-Roberts for the use of his videos from the evening.

And thanks to Graham Pope for his organisation of great local events.

gpevents@hotmail.com Keep up your good work!

The Tannahill Weavers

www.tannahillweavers.com

tannahillweavers@aol.com

 

About Lyn

LYN FUNNELL CV (well, sort of!) Lyn had very successful careers as an Air Hostess, Sales Rep, (she was one of only a couple of women. She beat all the men regularly, becoming the Top Rep in the UK, and 2nd in the world.) And then Catering took over. She did everything from the washing-up, to Silver Service Waitress, and Chef. A few times, she had to cook the meal, dash round the other side and Silver Serve it! In between all this, she wrote as often as she could, building up a reputation as a published short story writer, (Horror and a twist in the tale,) and a Poet. She has appeared as a Performing Poet, and a Demo Chef. Then she discovered the world of the Food & Travel Writer. And that’s what she has continued doing to this day. Her main hobbies are Cookery and entering Competitions. She has won many prizes, including holidays and a moped. She enjoys entering Competitions, submitting her original recipes. She was first in many Competitions, including the Good Housekeeping Millenium Menu, Fruits of France, Bernard Matthews Turkey Recipe, and appeared on BBC’s The One Show Spag Bol contest. She was one of three Finalists, coming 2nd, which makes her Britain’s Spag Bol Queen! Now she runs B-C-ing-U! and loves it! After several years of being messed around by Editors, and having loads of contacts, Lyn formed her own online Magazine, vowing to treat her writers fairly, and to do everything possible to further their careers, publicise their books, etc. She now has a band of excellent regular writers, and the Magazine’s going from strength to strength! Lyn’s online published books; Adverse Camber A collection of my published poems. The First Book of Short Stories The Second Book of Short Stories The Third Book of Short Stories. Many of these stories have been previously published. St Anthony of Padua. The Patron St of the Old. A story of one woman’s terrible ordeal in a Home, and her family’s rescue of her. The Girl Who Watched. A Cuban girl is attacked by an English journalist & what follows! Willy the Whizz & the Wormhole. Suitable for Young Adults, aged 15-95! Get Out Of Debt And Stay Out – Forever! Unsympathetic, hard-hitting, realistic solutions to your problems. All these books are published by Andrews UK Ltd www.andrewsuk.com No, I didn’t pay them to Vanity Publish! They’re all available from Amazon, and many other online publishers. LYN FUNNELL.