IT’S no slight to Bruce Guthro, Runrig’s Canadian frontman for two decades, to note the roar that met the appearance of Donnie Munro at their farewell concerts in Stirling last August.

A key member since brothers Calum and Rory Macdonald formed Runrig in the early 1970s, Munro’s resonant pipes remain synonymous with this most Scottish of bands.

Having quit the band in 1997 – originally to pursue a career in politics – Munro was performing a solo show in Denmark when he first heard the news.

“Calum called and told me the band had decided to finish,” says Munro. “I wasn’t shocked - there’s an inevitability of something like that – but it made me stop and think.”

Munro continues: “In the late 1990s when I was departing he band and the band was continuing, I still carried Runrig in my head and heart all these years in between.”

“The difference between my last concerts when I had finished with the band and the shows just last summer was that there was a finality there that wasn’t before,” he says. “It was reflecting on the journey of people of people there, from those who had never been to a Runrig show before to people who had followed us from the early days touring out in the Outer Hebrides, playing village halls. In some cases, there were three generations of a family at those Stirling concerts. That’s a very powerful thing to share, this human journey.”

Munro’s live shows often feature themes of travel and movement, echoing An Taras, an album recorded live at 2008’s Celtic Connections with a 40-piece live band.

“The primary context with An Taras was what happened in Scotland at various points in our history, but since then I’ve enjoyed placing the songs in a wider context and looking at it much more universally as the story of what people are confronted with when they travel, something that hasn’t really stopped being relevant,” Munro says.

Speaking from Skye, where he works at Sabhal Mor Ostaig as “development director” (“It basically means getting money to do things,” he explains), Munro says his music set-up alternates between a seven-piece band and a smaller acoustic ensemble.

For this headline appearance at Gig In The Goil, he’ll be backed by Ian Smith, a mandolin-player from Lewis, guitarist Eric Coughley – also Munro’s producer and engineer – and Maggie Adamson, a young fiddle-player from Shetland.

“I really enjoy the acoustic line-up,” Munro says. “It’s given me the opportunity to revisit older material that people haven’t heard for a long time and even older material from before Runrig. When you strip things back down to voice and acoustic instruments, it is a different way of being on stage. I’ve certainly enjoyed the opportunity to have more communication about songs than you might have with a bigger production.”

He adds: “That said, we still cover a lot of the big songs. Although it’s acoustic there’s a lot of power in the delivery.”

Though Munro says the Gaelic music scene is “a million light years away from where we were 20, 25 years ago”, he suggests there’s a lack of original, contemporary songwriting the likes of which the Macdonald brothers were pioneers of in the 1970s and 1980s.

Runrig’s key position at the forefront of the Gaelic renaissance was only something he has appreciated in retrospect, Munro explains.

“I’ve sat in rooms amazed at people discussing Runrig in terms of Gaelic language and culture,” he says. “But the band didn’t set out to be the flagship band of the Gaelic revival.

“We just set out to play contemporary music in our first language. It all seemed perfectly natural to us.”