…Tobermory… a wee town with a huge musical heart…

…the distance in time of almost fifty years makes the mem’ries no less bright… some of yeez know already I’ve shared that prob’ly the six best years of my life were spent as a young Trainee Master of the Financial Universe as a junior officer in the Clydesdale & North of Scotland Bank Limited in Tobermory on the beautiful isle of Mull in the Scottish Hebrides… the population of the town was less than 900… but the musical talent per capita must have been one of the highest anywhere on the planet… entertainment in the form of television was passe… we folks made our own social evenings buzz… I recall vividly one of the many ceilidhs in the Mishnish Hotel bar… around nine p.m., the owner of the hotel, Bobby MacLeod appeared with his accordion…

Bobby was one of the finest musicians, not just in Scotland, but globally… his famed Scottish Dance Band included Pibroch MacKenzie, the most talented fiddle player of his day, who lived two doors or so away on the Main Street…

Pibroch’s three lovely daughters, Anne, Joanie, and Fiona were superb vocal harmonists… Janet Tandy (now MacDonald), a future Gaelic Mod Gold Medallist in solo singing… and yer own blogger here, who, with no false modesty, also went on to collect a fair haul of Gaelic Mod solo singing medals… we all congregated in the Mishnish… unplanned, as the best ceilidhs always are… and away it started…  it took all of around twenty seconds for the spontaneity to infect everybody in the place and others arrived in before closing time an hour later at ten o’clock… but ‘closing’ was in name only… the doors were closed, merely to conform with local licensing regulations, but the party carried on… and on… and on… of course, liberal sprinklings of the ‘electric soup’ were gargled during the night, which fatigued out somewhere around 5 or 6 in the morning… we all had WURK to go to!… there was never a schedule of songs or tunes, but in true ceilidh style, someone would call out, for example, ‘Janet, give us ‘Mo Mhathair’ (‘My Mother’), or, ‘Seumas, how about ‘Loch Leven?’… or Bobby and Pibroch would immerse us in soulful laments, stirring jigs and reels, or dance tunes, the MacKenzie girls would deliver fabulously melodic ‘Puirt a beul’ (fast, intricate, unaccompanied Gaelic ‘mouth music’)… other people in the bar would jump in with a song or poem… seemingly from nowhere, a bagpiper would materialize… and we were all in Music Heaven… to Tobermory, a wee town with a huge musical heart… thanks for the true ‘time of my life’… see yeez later, LUV YEEZ!...



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

7 responses to “…Tobermory… a wee town with a huge musical heart…

  1. What incredible memories! Thank you Seumas for sharing them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a lovely wee memory Seumas, thank you for sharing with us. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing your fabulous memories, Seumas. 🙂 — Suzanne


  4. That’s the village they chose to film a TV’s kids programme.


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