Congratulations to The Islay Sessioners who have been nominated in Album of the Year sponsored by Birnam CD in the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2017. Vote now!
We asked Greig Shaw of The Islay Sessioners the following questions.
Tell us about yourself
The Fraser Shaw Trust was set up in memory of a much loved guy and wonderful musician who passed away in May 2015 after battling with MS and eventually PML. The trust raises funds for MS charities through a range of projects celebrating Fraser and his music including festivals, concerts, recordings, whisky tastings, the release of his tunebook, and more.
Originally from Glasgow, Fraser studied in Sabhail Mór Ostaig, Skye before settling down on the Isle of Islay, where he worked in the Port Charlotte Hotel. He worked and lived in Glasgow for a time until returning to Islay when his MS symptoms increased.
The Islay Sessioners are a group of Fraser's friends who formed at the Islay Sessions festival in November 2015, playing at a memorial concert for him in Bruichladdich Hall. From there, they performed at Celtic Connections, recorded Mac Ìle, and performed at its two album launches on Islay and in Glasgow in the summer of 2017.
Why are you involved in Scottish music?
Fraser was a fine musician, composer and generally fun person to be around, and his spirit lives on in his wonderful music. The trust aims to promote Fraser's music through his newly released album and tune book to raise money for the relief of multiple sclerosis, particularly in Argyll, Scotland. Proceeds are also used for the advancement of education, arts and culture in Scotland, particularly on the Isle of Islay.
Any particular career highlights?
It's been pretty special hearing Fraser's music played by such fine musicians. It's always a pleasure for the band going to perform on Islay – for the Islay Sessions and also the launch of Mac Ìle last June. It was really amazing to hear his music played at Celtic Connections at "Islay Night" in the Royal Concert Hall, and to hear the crowd sing along to the tunes later on when the band played in the festival club.
This has been an immense project with so much effort put in from a large number of people, so a massive highlight has been seeing all the hard work come to fruition with a beautifully made CD, and also hearing it played live at the launches!
What are your plans for the future?
The Trust are absolutely thrilled that Fraser's much anticipated tune book is to be released this month with a launch at the Islay Sessions festival which takes place 17-19th November. Fraser had intended on releasing a book of tunes before his health took a turn for the worse, so it's amazing to see this idea come to life. The proceeds of the book go directly towards the MS Therapy Centre, Lochgilphead which is what he intended.
In the future we hope to continue raising money for the care and well-being of MS patients in Argyll, while at the same time promoting Fraser's wonderful music, and help to nurture the music and culture of Islay
If you would like to come along to the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards in Paisley’s Lagoon Centre call 0300 300 1210 or to buy online visit www.paisley2021.co.uk/events/the-mg-alba-scots-trad-music-awards. Tickets can also be purchased via Paisley Arts Centre. Bands performing on Saturday 2nd December include Elephant Sessions, The Shee Big Band, Siobhan Miller, Tidelines, Paisley Fèis, Snuffbox, The Seamus O’Sullivan Experience, Lori Watson, Jenna Reid and Harris Playfair, Songs of Bàrd Phàislig (featuring Gillebrìde MacIlleMhaoil, Sìneag MacIntyre, Màiri NicAonghais, Seonaidh MacIntyre, Ewan MacPherson, Mhairi Hall, Màiri Nic a Mhaoilein and more to be announced. There will also be a late night ceilidh after the Awards till 1am.