Back in February of this year, we held our first off-island Harris Cèilidh, inviting distillery friends in Glasgow to join us at the Ubiquitous Chip for a few drinks and stories, and a traditional tune or two.
Little did we know that it would be one of the last times such an informal gathering could be held, as the COVID crisis loomed and lockdown life swept across the UK just a few weeks later.
The Harris Cèilidh was always going to be about taking the life-affirming warmth and welcome of our island with the wider world, sharing our spirit through such gatherings filled with friendship, music, and more.
But, in a new, socially-distanced world, could the cèilidh continue online and would it capture the sort of connection which was always enjoyed when we find ourselves face to face?
We’re very pleased to confirm that, thanks to 21st Century technology and the chemistry of our two brand ambassadors, it certainly can.
With Christmas on the horizon, this Saturday evening we celebrate our third online gathering with some very fine Highland and Islands musicians, and a rather special local guest to help the night along too.
Your hosts for the evening will once again be Iona Cairns and Calum Barker our brilliant brand ambassadors, as they welcome you into our virtual cèilidh house and keep the craic flowing.
Joining them will be the award-winning Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes from South Uist, whose voice on solo albums and film soundtracks have been described by The Guardian as “like peat smoke and good whisky, as robust, sassy and soulful as it is supple and expressive.”
We’re delighted too to have Seonaidh MacIntyre, also from South Uist, along for a session. Seonaidh is a multi-instrumentalist and singer, perhaps best known for his performances in the band Trail West, who have just released their new album “Countless Isles and Endless Miles”.
Staying on the music front we round things off with fabulous young fiddler and folk musician Charlie Grey, part of the band Westward the Light whose debut album is also out this year.
It’s been a tough year for musicians in the absence of live, paying performances so please do check out their websites and, if you like what you hear, buy their albums to help show support.
Finally, we have a special guest in the inimitable form of Marie ‘MM’ Morrison from Scalpay. MM will be a familiar face to anyone who has visited our distillery and taken a tour, and her dulcet island tones will be well remembered too.
So, we invite you to "thigibh a chèilidh!” tomorrow evening along with many others like you from across the world. There’s no fuss or formality, just bring yourself and perhaps something to drink.
It promises to be a great way to celebrate the joys of community and connection to each other in the run up to Christmas, no matter how far apart we may find ourselves in these unusual times.
We hope to see you there!
HOW TO JOIN US
To take part you will need to use the video conferencing website known as Zoom at www.zoom.us