ANGUS MCPHEE - Weaver of Grass

ANGUS MCPHEE or MACPHEE was a crofter from Uist who spent almost 50 years in a Highland psychiatric hospital. During this time he chose not to speak - instead he wove a series of incredible costumes out of grass. These he hung on trees in the hospital grounds.

This blog follows the progress of HORSE + BAMBOO THEATRE as they develop and tour a show about Angus....

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Memories - the Scots Trad Awards

Seeing the highlights of the Scots Trad Awards 2012 on BBC Alba last night brought the past year back to me in a big way. 

When I visited Berneray in 2011 friends were raving about an album that had been released a few years earlier and which they recommended as a great introduction to a singer from South Uist - Òg-Mhadainn Shamhraidh (Summer Dawn), by Kathleen MacInnes. Thinking about the way that I would use music from Uist in the show about Angus MacPhee was very much on my mind at that time and I promptly drove down to Benbecula to buy a copy. After that it remained on my car CD player for most of the next year, and Kathleen's voice and music was an inspiration throughout the period of devising 'Angus - Weaver of Grass'. So last night I was delighted to see that Kathleen's latest album Cille Bhride (Kilbride) had won the Album of the Year Award. 

Another connection that brought that period when the Angus production was in its preparatory stages back to me was seeing, at the Awards, Linda Macleod who helped me during our auditions for a Gaelic singer at the CCA in Glasgow. 

Linda was one of the co-hosts of the Alba broadcast, and she interviewed Kathleen after winning the album award. Linda was a great support for me and the Horse + Bamboo team during our audition process; helping by explaining the nuances of local Gaelic and very much at ease with all the brilliant and talented musicians we had the privilege to meet. Of course it was here that we were fortunate to meet Mairi Morrison who ultimately became such an important part in making our production a success, as well as becoming a key member of the Horse + Bamboo touring company. 

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