McNally and Blakey of Orchestra Macaroon
From an article first published in Easdale People magazine, Issue No 20, Autumn 2004.
The evening started with Ribbon Road
playing to a packed hall and creating
a relaxed and thoughtful mood which
suited the candlelit soiree atmosphere
in the hall. The line up is two guitars and electric bass with a duet of vocals
weaving a web over the instruments.
Brenda Heslop's songwriting has reached
a maturity which should be recognised
as she tackles subjects such as love
and poverty with an honesty which is
refreshing and heartfelt. Once again there
were few in the audience who did not feel
touched by her simple yet cleverly crafted
songs. The stage prescence of the three
musicians was also strong with Brenda
shimmering on centre stage, flnked by Geoff Heslop and Wee.
After a set of fifty minutes the stage was
cleared to make room for the second act
of the night, Orchestra Macaroon. This
group has been put together by Colin
Blakey and Phil Bull to perform a complete
set of Colin's own tunes. They have pulled
together nine excellent musicians from
Scotland, Ireland and China who cover
a vast range of instruments including
Yang Qin, Clarinet and Flugelhorn. Four different breeds of bagpipes also
feature heavily in almost every track
and rhythms stretch from solid reggae to latin american jazz.
The stage had to be extended to
accommodate the band and the
feeling created by their music was
one of relaxed danceability and the
audience in the hall found it difficult
to resist the temptation to star t
moving to the music. As the event
was, in part, the launch of their new
CD "Breakfast in Balquidder", there
were a number of invited guests in
the audience including a publicist,
photographer and one of Celtic Connections programmers.
I can sum up simply by saying that I hope that no-one missed the fact that ALL the music performed was original and created on
Easdale Island, as it is a special thing
to have such excellent talent in our community.
review: Fiona Blakey
photographs: Marc Marnie