Pulsating Islay Sessions show island spirit

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The 2017 Islay Sessions are done and dusted, bringing an end to an eventful weekend of music, whisky and the release of the late island musician Fraser Shaw’s tune book.

One first-time attendee, Cathy Pidsley, described the sessions as ‘an annual event not to be missed’, with an opening performance by Scots Trad Award Composer of the Year nominee Adam Sutherland and Mark Clement.

Tannara gig
Tannara gig

Saturday gave visitors a hands-on experience during the day with a musical workshop  run by Scots Trad Award Tutor of the Year nominee Emma Tomlinson, followed by a tour of various distilleries including Bruichladdich, Caol Ila and Bunnahabhain. The evening performances featured artists such as Joy Dunlop, Mhairi Marwick, Ron Jappy, Jen Butterworth and Laura-Beth Salter.

Finally, the moment arrived for Fraser’s tune book to be introduced: Fraser’s brother Greig gave a beautiful speech about him and his dream to release a book, after which the first few copies were presented to a few people who were key to getting this immense project off the ground.

The band Tannara then took to the stage with a pulsating set of contemporary and traditional tunes and songs, before all musicians in the room got up to finish the night off with a favourite composition of Fraser’s, The C-Side.

The final day of the festival ended quietly with music by Innes Watson, setting to music his poems of ordinary daily life – namely of a robin and a chicken who were walking in the woods. Each night ended with a late night session at the Port Charlotte Hotel bar.