Dougie’s musical experiment pays off at Loch Fyne Oysters

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Colin Cameron

Music and food blended beautifully at Loch Fyne Oysters in an evening to remember.

Acclaimed Scottish singer songwriter Dougie Maclean gave an intimate solo concert in what organisers described as the ‘perfect combination’ – Loch Fyne oysters on arrival, live music by an extraordinary performer and a seafood buffet during the interval.

The talented Dougie MacLean OBE has built an international reputation as songwriter, composer and performer.

His songs have been covered by hosts of top artists and his music has been used in Hollywood films including Last of the Mohicans and in various television productions.

He has graced the stage at Carnegie Hall, New York, London’s Festival Theatre and the Sydney Opera House.

So a converted byre at the head of Loch Fyne was a bit of a first for this performer with five decades of experience. Converted to a top-class restaurant, but a former cowshed nonetheless.

‘It was great; a bit of an experiment, but I enjoyed it,’ he confessed after the concert.

He added: ‘The sound was surprisingly good in that space.’

An audience of around 150 people packed the restaurant dining area on Saturday October 21 to take advantage of the rare appearance of a world class musician in combination with sublime food.

Perched on a small stage, MacLean was quickly at ease, launching into self-penned songs full of humanity and intimacy.

He plays the guitar with crystal clarity and exquisite precision – a perfect complement to his soft, expressive vocal tones.

Shining through his work is an obvious love for his home country and people. And this means his Perthshire backyard growing up, but also refers to a passion revealed in song for Scotland’s west coast islands and for old Caledonia herself.

And on that subject – there’s no avoiding it – MacLean is, without a doubt, best known for his 1977 song ‘Caledonia’ – often described as Scotland’s unofficial national anthem. That particular gem he saved for the second half, but there was variety throughout.

With the skill of an old pro, he got the audience involved, cajoling choruses and hand-clapping enthusiasm from the assembled rows.

Regaling them with tales of his life and travels, the evening was punctuated with laughter, a nice counterpoint to the rain battering off the slate roof.

And although he is well-known as a multi-instrumentalist, the appearance of a telescopic didgeridoo on stage raised a few eyebrows. Unsurprisingly he proved a master of the instrument, circular breathing and all, as he sang ‘Singing Land’ in tribute to the aboriginal people of Australia.

Now for the food.

The seafood buffet served during the interval was, quite simply, fantastic. Beautifully-prepared nibbles of seafood curry, mini fish cakes, prawn tails and many more delicious bites tantalised the taste buds.

The experiment by Dougie MacLean and Loch Fyne Oysters was not an unqualified success, it must be said. The seating had legroom on the tight side for some, while people in the back rows found themselves surprisingly far away from the stage, even for such an intimate space.

But a success it was, without question. The sound quality was great, Dougie MacLean is a master and the food (did I mention the food?) was stunningly good.

A highly enjoyable evening and the combination was perfect.

PICS:

Dougie MacLean with Loch Fyne Oysters’ deputy managing director Martyn Paterson, who set up the event. no_a43DougieMacLean01

In his natural environment, on stage at Loch Fyne Oysters. no_a43DougieMacLean02

Sharing a joke with the audience. no_a43DougieMacLean04