Lochgoilhead Fiddle Workshop

Concert. From the Lochgoilhead Fiddle Workshop website:

“The Whistlebinkies have been justly celebrated for a long time, their versalitility being such that they are equally at home playing for Loch Goil as they are at Stella McCartney’s wedding.

Last Sunday was the turn of the Loch Goil communities, in a big day for Loch Goil, with a talk by Children’s Laureate, Michael Morpurgo, followed by the Whistlebinkies’ concert. The concert was by way of marking the Workshop’s first birthday, and inaugurating its exciting 2004 concert series.

To mark Michael’s visit to Loch Goil, the Workshop had commissioned a special piece by composer Eddie McGuire. “We asked him to compose a wee tune for us, and he came up with an entire set”, said a spokesman. For this performance The Whistlebinkies were joined by cellist….. The set opened with a ravishing slow air and progressed through other forms to a rousing finale, with a particularly striking and effective cello part. As it was the World Premier of the music (ahem) the Whistlebinkies resumed the piece in the concert’s second half, to the evident delight of the enthralled audience. Michael was then invited to give the piece a name, and decided to call it “The Day of the Unicorn”, to mark the publication that same day in The Sunday Times of his short story, “I believe in Unicorns”. We understand that the audience’s reaction persuaded the Whistlebinkies that the piece should be recorded on their next cd. If this happens, it will add to the growing collection of music which, in one short year, has been collected or composed with specific Loch Goil connections.

Eddie Maguire has composed many beautiful pieces, but none more haunting than this one.

Summing up the concert, MC, Derek Prescott, observed that he had tried for twenty years to capture the soul of Scotland on camera. In the concert The Whistlebinkies had evoked the same soul in the music. The Whistlebinkies are an erudite bunch, and have been collecting music from all over Scotland for years. Their aim is to end up with a repertoire including every single Scottish island. Added to this traditional material are the modern compositions of Eddie McGuire, all of which makes them a delightful band to listen to. The fact that they re a seven piece ensemble (eight on Sunday, including….) means that they can create a range of musical effects. Their performances are like watching a particularly good session, where all the musicians are masters of their instruments and have an easy familiarity with each other.

The Loch Goil weekend again demonstrated the central importance of the arts in making a community feel good about itself, and expressing its central values. (Apropos of which, Dunoon residents might remember last seeing Eddie McGuire demonstrating in protest against the planned closure of Castle Toward -but that’s another story already covered by this newspaper.)”