Pebbles on the Edge

Pebbles on the Edge
Lake McDonald, 2014

Friday, January 28, 2011

Runrig. The first songs I heard them sing were all in Gaelic: beautiful, powerfully moving songs, with rock sensibilities but firmly rooted in Scottish Gaelic culture and musical practice, a seamless blending of rock and tradition in soaring tunes, sweet melodies, and poignant words. The geniuses behind this band, brothers Rory and Calum Macdonald, grew up on North Uist and then Skye, and formed the band in 1973 as a dance band. They were joined later by guitarist par excellence Malcolm Jones; drummer Iain Bayne; and young keyboardist, Brian Hurrin, with lead singer, Bruce Guthro, both of whom are more recent additions to the group replacing Donnie, and former keyboardist Peter Wishart, who is now an MP in the Scottish Parliament representing the Scottish National Party.

One can read more about the long history of this fantastic group of lads on Wickipedia. They've been together nearly forty years!

Runrig is my favorite group, bar none, forever. Their music made me love music again. After hearing all the Gaelic stuff, I was a bit leery about listening to their songs composed in English. After all I am trying to learn the Gaelic language.

But I broke down in the spring of 2010 and purchased three of their newest recordings, all with their new lead singer, Bruce Guthro, a Canadian. And it was love, all over again. Since then I've purchased around ten recordings, including one while we were visiting Culloden Moor in Scotland, site of the last battle between government troops and Jacobite Highlanders. The vengeful and savage aftermath of that battle is well known to those whose interests include Scottish history.

I have plenty of equally favorite Runrig tunes, but edging out the rest by a hair is "Big Sky". I recall exactly where I was when I first heard the song. I missed my exit, so intently was I listening, and I had to laugh at myself. Since then, there aren't many days that I don't listen to Runrig. They make me happy, in Gaelic and in English. Someday I hope to be able to see them live in Scotland, after a year of rest in 2011(they're old guys now, like us!).

Check them out on You-tube.

...So, how does this connect with Montana? In ways, Montana is like Scotland. I'll leave it to whomever reads this to figure that one out... If anyone at all ever reads this blog. Then there's Norman Maclean, A.B. Guthrie, Ivan Doig--all of Scottish descent, all Montana writers.

Here's a hint: cianalas: it means homesickness and longing in Gaelic.

"Arise soul
Soar above the singing river
Go lying down
Into the ground
Quickened by the stream
When all is said and done
The race moves on..."

Runrig: Running to the Light, from The Stamping Ground

Ceol na mara...

1 comment:

The World of the Blue Bells Trilogy said...

Hi, Eidlidh,

Thanks for adding me to your blogroll! I've been in both Montana and Scotland, and I do remember thinking, in Scotland, of the strong resemblance. Both are places I would love to live.

I've enjoyed reading your blog. It seems we have a lot in common, with our love of Scotland, Gaelic, music, and writing!