Na h-Òganaich

Saturday 11 February 2017, CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow

 

Ceòl ‘s Craic in association with An Lòchran were proud to present the return of Na h-Òganaich.

Ten years on from their last appearance at Ceòl ’s Craic, the group reconvened to celebrate the classic songs they created in the 1970s in collaboration with Murdo MacFarlane, the ‘Melbost Bard’.

MC Catriona Campbell opened proceedings by introducing an eight piece vocal group from Glasgow’s Gaelic School, where Margaret MacLeod from Na h-Òganaich had held a series of workshops with the pupils, introducing a new generation to the legacy of Murdo MacFarlane. The students were accompanied on piano and fiddle by An Lòchran’s Shona Masson.

Next on the bill was Mod gold medal winner Carrie MacNeil who delivered a haunting version of the Na h-Òganaich classic ‘Màl na Mara’.

The first half of the evening’s entertainment was completed by Mischa MacPherson. This award winning Gaelic singer was backed by two dazzling young musicians; Anna Massie provided inventive and imaginative guitar accompaniment while Ali Levack’s virtuoso whistle and piping skills were astonishing. Included in Mischa’s set was a beautiful interpretation of MacFarlane’s ‘Mi Le M’Uilinn’.

Na h-Òganaich took to the stage to the cheers of an enthusiastic, capacity crowd. Margaret MacLeod, her brother Donnie and Noel Eadie were joined by new recruit Andy Yearley on keyboards. Their setlist, which included many an old favourite, reflected the group’s illustrious career stretching back to 1971.

The band were always equally at home with poignant songs of heartbreak and homesickness (‘Fear a’ Bhàta’, ‘Faili, Faili, Faili Hò Ro’) as with more up-tempo numbers (‘Ibh Ada’, ‘A Chorraghritheach Dhonn’). Their obvious enjoyment at being re-united onstage proved infectious and by the time they came to the end of their performance with the anthemic ‘Cànan nan Gàidheal’ the delighted audience were reluctant to let them go. The band bade farewell with a rousing ‘Hiurabho Puirt’ as an encore.

Na h-Òganaich have often been cited as a major influence by bands like Runrig and Capercaillie. Throughout the years the group have inspired countless musicians and have been great ambassadors for Gaelic music and culture. The success of this event reflects the resurgence in interest for the work of their great friend and mentor Murdo MacFarlane.