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Sabhal MOr Ostaig 40th Celebration, City Halls, Glasgow


If there was a palpable sense of achievement in this concert to mark the transition of a college established in a Skye farmsteading into an internationally regarded seat of learning, then there was also a feeling of triumphs still to come through the skills being passed on by tutors whose performances confirmed them as masters of their craft.

Leading the way in a programme that included former pupils, singers Julie Fowlis and James Graham, and presented music both ancient and freshly minted, the soul of Sabhal Mor, Christine Primrose delivered an unimpeachable singing performance and button box master Fergie MacDonald demonstrated western swing, Highland-style.

Many riches followed, not least Allan MacDonald's sublime solo Highland pipes set, Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas's grooving fiddle and cello rapport, a beautiful pibroch-love song duet from Margaret Stewart and piper Angus Nicholson and Daihm's inventive accompaniment to singer Alasdair Codona, before pianist, composer and folklorist Micheal O Suilleabhain, from Sabhal Mor's cousin college in Limerick, produced some trad-classical-jazz magic, including the lovely, specially composed Templum for soprano saxophone and orchestra and a reprise of his irresistibly rhythmical Must Be More Crispy.

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