WEEKEND: Scottish band sings auld classics in Port Angeles tonight (Friday)
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The Tannahill Weavers of Scotland will arrive in Port Angeles tonight, Friday. The band is, from left, John Martin, Roy Gullane, Phil Smillie and Colin Melville.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

Today and tonight refer to Friday, Feb. 28.


PORT ANGELES — When Roy Gullane was 15, he received the gifts that would send him far from his Glasgow, Scotland, home.

A guitar, accompanied by a book, arrived in his hands — and that coincided with “my scholastic decline,” Gullane said in his brick-thick burr.

Off he went on the path toward founding what is now one of his homeland's best-known traditional bands.

The Tannahill Weavers got together in 1968 and have spread their Scots melodies across the planet since. They even came to Port Angeles about 10 years ago — and the Tannahill Weavers will return to the Little Theater at Peninsula College, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., for another Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts series concert at 7:30 tonight.

Tickets are $20, or if music lovers choose to also attend the foundation's other concert this weekend — folk singer Ruth Moody and her band in the Little Theater — the package is $35. For details, see www.JFFA.org or phone 360-457-5411.

[See home page for an interview with Ruth Moody.]

These concerts come close together since foundation executive director Dan Maguire found that the Tannahill Weavers were headed for the Pacific Northwest — at just the right time — so he could add them to his season lineup without paying too steep a price.

After announcing the 2013-2014 series of once-a-month shows, Maguire decided to tack on several such extras; another latecomer to the series is “Rhythm of the Dance,” the National Dance Company of Ireland's show, in Port Angeles on March 23.

The Tannahills, whose namesake is Scottish writer Robert Tannahill, aka the “Weaver Poet,” are inductees into the Scotland Traditional Music Hall of Fame, but they're not terribly serious all the time, Gullane noted.

“We like to get feet tapping with dance tunes, and some of the more robust songs,” he said in an interview from Bandon, Ore., where the group was working its way up the Pacific coast.

“We like to get a little bit of a laugh as well. We treat the music lightheartedly . . . not as something to be lectured about,” Gullane added.

The tunes are hundreds of years old, though. There's “Atholl Gathering,” “The Geese in the Bog” and “The Jig of Slurs,” played on Highland bagpipes, Scottish smallpipes, flute, fiddle, bodhran drum and guitar.

Gullane and Phil Smillie, founding members of the Tannahill Weavers, sing and play several instruments while John Martin handles the fiddle, cello and viola and Colin Melville plays pipes and tin whistles.

They still live in Scotland, and will fly home next Tuesday, Gullane said.

Together, he added, they capture the admiration of “the young keds,” aka kids, who come up after a show to chat.

Traditional music “has got a rhythm akin to rock 'n' roll,” Gullane believes, so youngsters and the young at heart can relate to it.

“Don't let this pass you by,” he said. “This is not a music you're going to happen upon every day.”

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Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 27. 2014 6:33PM
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