THE ILEACH :: THE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER FOR ISLAY + JURA

Excerpts from issue 48/10 27 February 2021

bridge over the sorn

Partially demolished in an accident involving a works van last November, work was recently carried out to repair the stonework on the bridge over the Sorn at Bridgend. The repairs are being paid for by Argyll and Bute Council, with costs expected to be recovered from the vanÕs insurers.

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In this week's issue:

Bridge repaired at Bridgend, Islay Gathering goes onlne for 2021, A& B Rural Growth deal, Ferry Committee rejects service reduction proposals, Islay Development Initiative's plans for Kilarrow House, Tidal power questions, Catriona Bell on Land reform, Port Mòr Cafe's community spirit, An Islay newcomer's first year in lockdown, Thought from the Manse, Fèis Òigridh online, MuseumÕ of Islay Life's new information boards, My favourite bike ride, Perry Green visits a chambered cairn, Those new ferry questions, Islay's and Jura's defibrillator locations. WHHA commences work on ten new houses on Jura, Prime Trio jazz review.

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ISLAY & THE COVID-19 VIRUS: IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Last updated Monday 15 February 2021

Prepared for the benefit of Islay residents, this downloadable PDF file offers general information along with details of the Islay Volunteer Network and the state of play with regard to local businesses and services. Please check this page regularly.

DOWNLOAD HERE

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The 2021 online Gathering

The Glasgow Islay, like all other island Associations, find themselves unable to hold their Annual Gathering in person due to the ongoing lockdown and Covid 19 restrictions.
So the 159th Gathering, hosted over two days of 12 and 13 March, will be the first virtual, online and pre-recorded event the Association has ever held. Following on from the success of their online Burns night event in January, the committee decided to host the Annual Gathering Concert on the dedicated Glasgow Islay Association Facebook page. Chairman of this year's event will be former Ileach editor, and Islay High School English teacher, Mr Calum Murray.
All artists taking part in the concert, including Ella Edgar's Highland Dancers and Islay Community Pipe Band, have pre-recorded their performances. Mhairi Orr has pulled the online event together and people wishing to view the event can do so on the Association Facebook page on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 March.
The committee is encouraging the youth of Islay to become involved in the Association, to ensure the long established links between Islay and Glasgow continue for many more years. They are actively seeking new members from both Islay and the greater Glasgow area to join the current small group of committee members.
Next year will see the 160th Annual Gathering, which the Association President, Dawn MacEachern told the Ileach, "Is a momentous event I very much hope we will be able to host in person. Meanwhile, I hope all enjoy this year's online event."
Chairperson for the event, Calum Murray told the Ileach, "I felt honoured when Dawn asked me to be her guest at this year's Islay Gathering. She has asked me to say a few words and introduce the artistes providing the entertainment.
"She and her committee are striving to keep the tradition going despite the difficulties Covid presents, so it's a Virtual Gathering this year. They deserve our support. I'm sure it'll be a great success."

Ella Edgar said, "The Highland Dancers are delighted to be part of the GIA Virtual Concert. Sixteen dancers aged seven to 18 years have performed five dances."
Ella asked us to point out that, during 'lockdown', dancers cannot 'give hands' to any other dancer, restricting the type of dances which can be performed.

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This is Islay
this is islay podcast

A new monthly podcast featuring individuals, personalities and features of Islay and Jura. Listen now at https://anchor.fm/thisisislay

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Fèis Òigridh Zoomed across Scotland
ciara mactaggart

Ciara MacTaggart writes:
The word 'Zoom' was once a word we used as a sound effect when playing with toy cars. Now, it's truly cemented into our everyday vocabulary - however, now without the toy cars - from Zoom board meetings to Zoom yoga classes.
The annual school February holidays, in recent years, offered local youngsters the opportunity to take part in a traditional music and Gaelic extravaganza - known locally as Fèis Òigridh Ìle agus Dhùira. Many events over the past twelve months, whether they be cultural, educational or other, have had to be cancelled or 're-designed'. This year, Fèis Òigridh was, as you probably would have guessed by now, re-designed to be delivered over Zoom.
Islay isn't the only location to have their annual fèisean during the February holidays; Mull and Edinburgh do too. This year, Fèisean nan Ghàidheal organised tutors as they would normally for a fèisean, but instead of sending out tutors to each location to teach in person, decided to open it up to anyone aged 8 - 18 years old to participate in virtually.
Classes were offered in guitar, accordion, whistle, clarsach, fiddle and Gaelic Song. I had the joy of tutoring the whistle class, meeting new faces from Edinburgh, Inverness and the far reaches of Caithness. While the virtual Fèisean could not offer alternatives to all parts of a conventional fèis, with events such as evening concerts to showcase to the parents how much their children can learn in a short amount of time, the eagerness of learning Scotland's music and language was encouraging over the week long festival, with some of the students then requesting weekly online lessons in the future. While there do not appear to be many limits to what can take place over Zoom (or equivalent platform), it will be lovely to have a fèis once again in person - similar to how lovely it will be to play music with fellow musicians again. But until then, rest assured the love of learning in the young is still strong for those future ceilidhs.

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Prime Trio - 'Prime'

It is the nature of jazz that any musician you care to mention is probably a member of several different groups at any given time. Unlike pop or rock music, jazz seems far less concerned with fixed format groupings, happier to take on the mantle of a moving target.
The three members of Prime Trio are guitarist Kevin MacKenzie, Organist Pete Johnstone and drummer Doug Hough, the latter being the only musician not a regular at the Islay Jazz Festival. Kevin MacKenzie also features in duos, trios and quartets with other Islay luminaries, and began his career alongside drummer John Rae. Pete Johnstone is an integral member of saxophonist, Tommy Smith's, quartet and recently masterminded a Scottish Conservatoire tribute to drummer Art Blakey.
The most common form of jazz trios tend to be piano based; piano, bass and drums recordings are highly conspicuous in the catalogue. Substituting a Hammond organ for both piano and bass, alongside guitar and drums, in this particular case, is one that's, musically, very welcome.
Of the five compositions on this recording, two are by guitarist MacKenzie, two by Pete Johnstone, and a group interpretation of Polish film composer, Branislaw Kaper's, 'Invitation.
Ostensibly a recently formed trio, you'd never know it from this recording. The playful 'Woo Choo Woo Choo' easily gives America's Bernstein, Golding and Stewart organ trio a run for its money, while the opening, 'Bounce', does exactly what it says on the tin.
Though pretentiousness is an accusation more accurately levelled at progressive rock, there are more than a few jazz recordings that at least skirt with such notions. Prime Trio, by virtue of their musicality and prodgious skills, avoid that entirely.
While Johnstone is a highly accomplished pianist, his ability as an organist on this recording is quite stunning, sharing the lead alongside MacKenzie's superb guitar playing. Doug Hough's accompaniment is exemplary throughout.
I'm none too sure whether jazz of this standard can simply be referred to as 'feel good music', but under the current state of the nation (so to speak), this is food for the soul.

bp

Prime Trio's self-titled recording is released on 5 March on CD and download. On release, you can purchase a copy at kevinmackenzie.bandcamp.com

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Still here

The Ileach, now in its 48th year, has weathered more than just a few economic downturns in its time, local, national and global. However, the current situation is unprecedented in our lifetimes.
We have every intention of continue to produce the newspaper for as long as is practical and possible. And just as in previous times of difficulty, we would appreciate your support in making this happen.
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Stay safe.

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NEXT ISSUE ON SALE, Saturday 13 March 2021

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