From his early days right through to his current work, find out more details about Donnie Munro here on the BackStage section.
2016 END OF THE YEAR MESSAGE
A Chàirdean/Dear Friends,
I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support over the year and for again honouring me by your attendance at all the various shows which I have performed throughout the year both with the full band and with the acoustic line up. I am always deeply moved by the great kindness and support which you have shown over many years and there is simply no greater pleasure for a musician than to share music with an audience and live performance has always been at the very centre of everything I have ever done as a musician, writer and performer. I would especially like to thank the entire band, amazing players one and all, who have contributed so much to the shows throughout the year and also a special thanks to Eric Cloughley and Maggie Adamson for their contribution to all the various acoustic shows which we have done also.
It is fair to say that it has been a very strange year on many fronts with Brexit, the Trump Presidential election and the continuing and long running travesty that is Syria. What has been happening there and in many other trouble torn areas of the world is an utter travesty and a tragic reflection on our collective failure to resolve conflict peacefully- so much of what is at the heart of international politics is based on insecurity and mistrust and sadly so much of these covert operations take place in our name and without either our knowledge or consent. Like all of you, I am sure, I continue to hope and pray for resolution of these conflicts and for the emergence of a new world politics that places humanity, compassion and decency at its very heart not the greed, power ,insecurity, mistrust and inhumanity we all too often witness.
I recently read an excellent book by Tim Marshall called ‘Prisoners of Geography’ which I would highly recommend. It is an excellent and incisive look at the history and context of the geopolitical tensions which continually erupt and threaten the stability of our world. Many and most of these conflicts are not new and have their origins in the power struggles of our past and the development of what we now recognise as the developed world- however, sadly, so many of them remain as far from resolution as they have ever been- only through the collective power of decent men and women the world over, will we see an end to conflict and we each share a personal responsibility, particularly to the innocent victims of these unnecessary conflicts, to do what we can, in our own way, to influence change.
I have had a hugely busy year on a whole range of fronts and projects and my work with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig continues to be deeply challenging, creative and rewarding in equal measure and, like the music, I feel hugely privileged to be involved with such an inspiring and hopeful institution.
I have been deeply honoured this year to have been made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects Scotland, (Hon FRIAS) in this, their centenary year and I thank them greatly for this great compliment, to the work and to the people with whom I have been engaged over the years, in the fields of the Arts, Cultural Heritage, Development and Education.I may be the named recipient of this honour but it reflects very much on all of them also.
I would like to end this message by wishing you all a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and fulfilling New Year when it arrives. In closing, I would also take this opportunity to thank Richard Edgar who has been such a special friend over the years and for his help both in the running of this website and in many other ways. He is an extremely talented an able individual and I am extremely grateful to him for his input and his friendship.
I look forward to meeting up with you all at some of the exciting shows already planned for 2017 including the major outdoor show at the Lorely in Germany on the 4th of August
Leis gach durachd dhuibh uile
With best wishes to you all
2014 END OF YEAR MESSAGE
It seems quite unreal that another whole year has passed but as always, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy and Prosperous New Year.
Sadly what has been a momentous year in Scotland, on so many fronts, has ended with such sadness, following the tragic accident in Glasgow last week. The families and friends of those so tragically killed are very much in our hearts and thoughts at this difficult and sad time. It also seems such a cruel reminder of the sad events of just one year ago from which the people of the City were just beginning to recover.
This time, as we stand at the threshold of another year, is always a time of reflection and of course, for each and every one of us, a time to reflect on all the things, good and bad, which have populated our life experiences for 2014.
It has been a challenging year, demanding but very interesting year and I have been extremely busy on a number of fronts both musical and developmental.
At Sabhal Mor Ostaig we have seen the start of work to begin the iconic Kilbeg Village Development, the first new village to be created in Skye in more than 100 years, something which has ultimately been achieved in an amazingly short time frame. From the standing start, we were challenged with having to raise the funds to buy the actual land for the development, and then to the raising of full £6.2m capital funding required for the First Phase of the development. This was all achieved within a remarkably short 18 month time frame and Phase 1 is now nearing completion. We will shortly begin working on developing the subsequent phases which will include, Housing, Sports and Recreation Facilities and a Conferencing and Events Centre all related to the ongoing development of Sabhal Mor Ostaig as the National Centre for the Gaelic Language Culture and the Arts.
Sabhal Mor is such a dynamic and inspirational place and I feel immensely privileged to have been able to play a part in its continuing development and ongoing success in strengthening the position of the language, culture and the community, at local, national and international level. This new development represents one of the most important developments in Sabhal Mor’s history and this year has also witnessed the highest student intake in its 40 year history. In addition this small national institution has also had a series of excellent Academic reviews and, in the most recent Research Assessment nationally, Sabhal Mor Academic Research Fellows scored some of the highest assessment classifications achieved by any of the major universities with a high percentage of the work being classified as ‘World Leading’. This is really hugely exciting and a great credit to all the participating academics.
On the music front I have enjoyed a fantastic year of performance both with the acoustic line up and with the full band line up. Hebcelt Festival in Lewis was of course a great highlight as it brought both together, which worked fantastically well. I was also delighted when the Festival itself won so many awards, a great credit to Caroline and her team who do a fantastic job.
Another great highlight for me personally was being invited to perform a live TV performance of a version of Loch Lomond as the finale of the opening concert for The Ryder Cup along with the full Scottish National Orchestra at the Glasgow Hydro, an amazing sound in an amazing venue. I had always dreamt of performing with a full orchestra so this was something really special and I thank Geoff Ellis of DF Concerts for the invite. I also noted that the ‘House Band’ who performed with me on the night, were one and the same as provided backing for Gary Barlow and Take That on their recent Strictly Come Dancing appearance, (which I saw quite by accident of course).
The acoustic work however really dominated the year and it was a great privilege to work with both Maggie and Eric on a range of great shows both here and in Germany. Eric is a very tasteful and experienced musician and Maggie is just one of the rising stars of the Scottish music scene.
The German tour, the first for almost a decade was an important aspect of the year’s programme and, quite apart from the pleasure of performing to a very loyal and extremely patient German audience, it also afforded me the opportunity to record the shows for a live acoustic album ‘Sweet Surrender’ which is due for release in Feb 14th, 2015. I would particularly like to thank Eric for all his input, for his performances and also for engineering/mixing/production skills and also a big thanks to Irene and Christian and all at Hypertension Music for making this all possible, and for putting the tour together. We played some amazing venues and the audience reaction was fantastic and a wonderful welcome back to Germany.
For me the acoustic shows have offered a wonderful opportunity to revisit some great songs and to have the opportunity to perform them differently and very directly. Having Eric and Maggie work on these shows has been wonderfully rewarding and I thank them both for their great work throughout the year. For me it has always been about the songs and these shows have really given me the opportunity to deliver, very directly the narrative sense of some great material and of some of my own personal favourites drawn from across a wide musical landscape. I have always said that good songs really ‘sing themselves’ and that so much felt the case on the tour. I very much hope that people will enjoy the ‘Sweet Surrender’ album when released early next year. The title came from the sense I have always had about live performance where at best you become the conduit through which the songs come to life and you really have the sense that you ‘give yourself up to the songs’ – it is a real ‘sweet surrender’.
I would also like to thank Ian Green at Greentrax for his support and interest over these last few years, Thomas at the Buks Agency in Denmark for some great live shows and his enduring sense of humour, Lisa and all at Active Agency here in Scotland, Northbeat, Helen Thomson, Elaine and Sandy for their help with the merchandise and a special thanks to Catriona Tawse for her support and her willingness to collect in support of the Charities supported by the Joseph McGoff Foundation. I reserve a particularly big thank you to Richard Edgar for all his fantastic work on the Website and his general support over the last ten years.
I would also like to offer huge thanks to you all for your support at all the shows throughout the year and especially to those of you who have committed so much time and energy to travelling to many shows in Scotland and in Europe. I look forward very much to the release of the album and to sharing the music with you all at whatever live shows we are able to undertake in the year to come. I deeply appreciate your ongoing interest and support.
Finally huge thanks to all the guys in the band, and to Eric and Maggie.
Have a Happy New Year.