Royal National Mod News

Mod 2010 - Music Memory Store

Published: 28 May 2010

Music Memory Store - Billy Miller.pdf

Music Memory Store Billy Miller

My history is Thursa boygie from Shore Street, Fisherbiggins. I was born in 1956, schooled in Thurso and trained in Dounreay as a mechanical technician. Then going on to work for BP as a Mechanical Supervisor offshore and then as a Mechanical Engineer in the Middle and Far East before returning home to work on the Thurso Lifeboat as the station mechanic in 1996.

My Celtic connection comes from my wife Carol whose family originate from Kinlochbervie, we have 2 children Donna and Michael aged 28 and 26 who both live in Thurso.

An Ataireachd Ard (The surge of the sea) sung by Karen Matheson and Capercaillie is my choice for this clever project, but, it is the complete album of songs which evokes many memories for me. The first being the TV programme from which we get its title,‘The Blood is Strong’ screened some time ago in the late 80’s about the Highland Clearances, a fantastic insight into our culture and history directed by Ted Brocklebank. In my opinion the masterstroke was the accompanying music played by Capercaillie and sung by their lead singer Karen Matheson who has to be one of the finest singers of our times. Sean Connery says in Highlander “her throat has surely been touched by God”. This was my wakeup introduction to Gaeldom and Gaelic music and although I personally don’t speak our native tongue I love the music. A few years back now my wife Carol and I were over west at her family home in Kinlochbervie visiting her uncle Billy Mackay Polin and his late wife Sarah who both talked Gaelic as a first language. I brought with me my favourite Gaelic CD ‘The Blood is Strong’ and popped it on their CD player thinking this would impress them but, to my surprise and delight Aunt Sarah sat and sang every tune with lyrics, word for word, and there was me thinking I was bringing something new to the party! An Ataireachd Ard is my favourite track because it relates to the sea and reminds me of the many times we sailed around the beautiful Highlands and Islands of Scotland in the Royal National Lifeboard service and the many friends and hospitality we encountered along the way, in places such as Barra, Oban, Tobermory, Kyle, Portree, Lochinver, Orkney and Shetland.
Is e An Ataireachd Àrd air a sheinn le Karen Nic Mhathain a thagh mi airson a’ phròiseact innleachdach seo, ach tha an clàr gu lèir a’ cuimhneachadh iomadh rud dhomh.Is e fear dhiubh am prògram TV, ‘The Blood is Strong’, deasaichte lè Ted Brocklebank, mu na Fuadhdaichean Gàidhealach, a chaidh a chraoladh sna 80an a chuir sealladh àraid air ar n-eachdraidh is cultar. Nam mo bheachd-sa, b’ e an ceòl aig Capercaille a bha aig crìdhe a’ phrogram agus a chuir dreach shònraichte air. Is e Karen Nic Mhathain a bha na prìomh sheinneadar, mar a thuirt Sean Connery an Highlander “tha làmh Dhè sa ghuth aice”B’ e seo a dhùisg mi gu ceòl Gàidhlig agus a’ Ghàidhealtachd. Ged nach bruidhinn mi ar cànan, tha ùidh agam sa cheòl. Bliadhna neo dhà air ais bha mi fhèin is mo bhean Carol air a’ chost an ìar aig dachaigh a cuideachd an Cean Loch Biorbhaidh, Uilleam Mac Aoidh Polin agus a bhean nach maireann, Sara. Bha Gàidhlig aca lè chèile mar an ciad cànan. Thug mi leam CD mo mhiann, ‘The Blood is Strong’ agus chluich mi sin an dùil gun glacadh e an inntinn gu mòr. Ach ’s e a thachair gun do thòisich Sara a’ seinn gach òran, facal air an fhacal, agus mise an dùil gun tug mi rud neo-àbhaisteach thun na cuirm!An Ataireachd Àrd, ceòl mo mhiann. Carson? Tha gu bheil e ag innseadh mun mhuir a sheòl mi iomadach uair, timcheall Eileanan Alba agus tìr àlainn na Gàidhealtachd, nam obair còmhla ris an Royal National Lifeboat Service. Choinnich mi ri mòran dhaoine coibhneil agus fhuair mi aoigheachd am Barraigh, an t-Òban, Tobar Mhoire, An Caol, Port Rìgh, Loch an Inbhir, Arcaibh agus Sealtainn..
An Ataireachd Ard (Surge of the Sea) by Capercaille, The Blood is Strong by Survival Records, SURCD 014 (library details) Copies of the CD are available to borrow, at no cost, from the collection of CD’s selected as Music Memory Store choices from the Wick and Thurso Libraries, as a partnership between the Mòd Ghallaibh Fringe and the Highland Libraries. It can be heard on Caithness FM as a part of the Hughie Manson Show on Monday evenings and on Radio nan Gàidheal.
Copies of this CD are available to borrow, at no cost, from the collection of CD’s selected as MusicMemory Store, from Wick and Thurso Libraries. It can be heard on Mondays 7-8pm on Caithness FM as a part of the Scottish Show with Hughie Manson and on Radio nan Gàidheal. MusicMemory Store is a partnership between the Mòd Ghallaibh Fringe and the Highland Libraries – Caithness branches, Wick & Thurso.Contact The Mòd Ghallaibh Fringe: northtuath@yahoo.co.uk

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