Thursday, 4 October 2012

Mull Fiddlers Rally

No we have not gone funny on the island and do not meet up to fiddle with things! The Mull Fiddlers Rally is a once a year meeting at Aros Hall, Tobermory, of amateur and professional fiddle and accordion players from the island supported by like minded people from all over Scotland with even one or two travelling up from England. The players form themselves into an orchestra complete with piano, double bass and a conductor who also plays an accordion and sings. A couple of folk singers and junior bagpipers and a chairman complete the set up. With the audience in place the evening begins with a stirring, swirling of the bagpipers, almost too much for the small hall! The pipers leave and then the fiddlers are let loose with a program of marches, hornpipes, waltzes, Irish Jigs and Scottish dances. These are interspersed with renditions from a female Irish folk singer now living on Mull and a male Gaelic folk singer. The chairman not only introduces each set but also fitted in some hilarious jokes. The evening finished very late after many encores with everyone standing to sing the Mull National Anthem, An t-Eilian Muileach and Auld Lang Syne both much appreciated by visitors from mainland and overseas who were attending. A good craich!

On an other evening this time in front of a sell out audience at our Mull Theatre we listened to the English comedian Mark Steel give his impression of life on Mull and in particular, Tobermory. The show, being recorded for BBC Radio 4, is one in Mark’s series of programmes, “Mark Steel’s in Town”. He visits small towns writing his script highlighting the quirkiness and interesting aspects of the area after talking to many local people. His superb presentation is delivered through his eyes as a London city dweller that acts surprised at things that locals take for granted. With the audience well involved in the repartee the show proceeds. Did you know for instance that you cannot buy underwear or towels on Mull? So where do you get them – the metropolis of Oban “quite near - only a 45 minute drive from the theatre and a 45 minute ferry crossing” (not quite like popping into Brent Cross shopping centre!). The regular refrain from the audience was, “get it in Oban!” So that is the flavour of the show, it is scheduled for BBC Radio Four at the end of November and will be well worth listening to.