THE CATRIONA MacDonald band came to Fair Isle last Thursday night for the first gig of a tour with Catriona’s new album Over the Moon.
The tour is sponsored by Tune-Up – a Scottish organisation set up to fund bands towards making the sometimes difficult and costly trips to Scotland’s remotest audiences: in this case, Fair Isle, Lerwick, Inverness, Drumnadrochit, Mull, Ullapool, Lossiemouth, Stirling, Edinburgh and Hawick.
Bringing a November concert programme to Scotland’s wild places doesn’t come without risks but Catriona and company started as they meant to go on and flew into the isle for Thursday’s concert.
And what an event, a full concert in two halves: three musicians filling the hall with a seamless world of sound, plenty of space for all their sensitive virtuosity and jumping tunes, jazz and harmony.
Catriona’s fiddle playing starts with the groove from an old Shetland style and soars into her new compositions. David Milligan on piano and Conrad Ivitsky on double bass pushed the boundaries of the word “accompaniment”, bringing the accomplished Over The Moon to life.
Four days of gales ensued, making it impossible for the band to get back to Lerwick for Friday’s concert, the weather too severe for a plane or the Good Shepherd to take them out.
Saturday’s and Sunday’s concerts had to be cancelled too and all fingers crossed that they could get from Fair Isle to Mull by Tuesday night.
In the end, after a weekend of much music, Direct Flight managed to get in on a calmer Tuesday morning and after a plane, car and ferry journey they made it to Mull in time to play their set again at last – without some of their luggage, but back on tour, undaunted.
The Fair Isle audience hugely appreciate their effort to play in the isle at this time of year – Shetland is an inspiring sort of place to live but there’s nothing to be done about the weather.