Seall celebrate 1000th event with stellar line-up of musicians

Spirits were not the least bit dampened last weekend, despite the elements, for the happy  crowd that gathered at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Saturday evening to eat, drink and be merry in celebration of Seall’s 1000th event.

The programme for the weekend, facilitated by the organisation’s stellar group of volunteers, was characteristically diverse.

The Tarskavaig Blues Band opened the show with tunes from Donald Livingstone and Brendan Martin and a trio of beautiful Gaelic songs from Anne Martin in the courtyard amidst the smells of a delicious barbecue and the heat of the brazier.

Scots singer and cellist Fiona Hunter stirred emotions with a set of storytelling songs supported by Mike Vass on guitar, Euan Burton on string bass and Jack Smedley on fiddle before the floor was cleared for dancing, music courtesy of the students of Sabhal Mòr.

The night’s headliners were Edinburgh-based techno-ceilidh specialists Shooglenifty. Described by the ‘Chicago Tribune’ as “a bit like a jam between the Tannahill Weavers, Phish and The Chemical Brothers”, the band pulled the strings of a bouncing crowd, teasing them with their characteristic crescendos and infectious rhythms.

A jumping, time-warping set from DJ Porridge rounded off proceedings for the first of the two nights of celebration.

Then on the Sunday evening, by way of an antidote, all ticket-holders for Saturday were invited back again to the Talla Mhòr. The hall had been transformed for one night only into the South Skye Jazz Collective, with intimate lighting and café-style seating for an evening of warm, witty hospitality wrapped up with the finest jazz standards hosted by trombone maestro Rick Taylor and his band — young and exciting drummer Finlay Adam Jamieson, cool and cultivated string and acoustic bassist Mario Caribe and funky jazz guitarist Malcolm MacFarlane.

From Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock to Charlie Parker and a magnificent final number by Abdullah Ibrahim, it was a lovely night shared with a warm and receptive audience and four of the best in the business. Seall’s 1001st event and the group is embarking upon its new millennium on the back of a truly memorable weekend!

Seall, with Duncan MacInnes at the helm, certainly has set many feet tapping over the years, an observation which prompted the group to launch its charitable giving idea — the “Seall Shoe Share Challenge”, the proceeds of which were displayed for all to see around the venue.

Shoes continue to arrive in astonishing numbers, via generous donations from all over Scotland — as far and wide as Edinburgh and Eigg — and will shortly be distributed by the group to charities across Scotland and the north-east of England.

(Photo by Sean Purser)