Banter and quality music power tour opener
Mairearad Green and Anna Massie
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THERE were worse ways to enjoy the first night of Mairearad Green and Anna Massie’s tour than being gently becalmed in the OneTouch Theatre with a muted but receptive crowd.
With much of the set coming from latest album Farran – which means ‘starboard’ in Gaelic – there was a sea theme sailing through the set.
The engine of the show is the banter between longtime musical compadres Mairearad and Anna, and it plays an equal part alongside the effortlessly entertaining quality Green & Massie sounds.
Having encountered the dancers of the Strictly Come Dancing show performing next door, Anna was quick to alert the crowd at the start to the ‘elephant in the room’.
OK, so no dancing from Mairearad and Anna, maybe.
But a night of slow airs, jigs, marches, reels and some great hand-picked songs, was ample compensation.
And they had new tops for the first night of the tour, the musicians told us – Mairearad doubtful about her pink one.
“It might be a mistake. I wore pink trousers at Celtic Connections and people thought I didn’t have any on!”
“We sold so many CDs…”Anna added wryly.
Favourite moments of the night included Anna singing one of Farran’s most powerful tracks, Cape Breton musician JP Cormier’s touching Molly May, about one man and his boat and, as Anna commented, “the story of time passing”.
Swapping on to fiddle, Anna and Mairearad, on accordion, tapped into the emotional pull of Ullapool fisherman Hector Mackenzie’s tune Mo Chailin – Dileas Donn which is the final moving track of the album.
But there were also plenty of sets and tunes to set your pulses racing – including the reel with Norman Gillies’s Willie Macrae Of Ullapool pipe march, spritely Emma And Ali’s Wedding by Mairearad and jigs that pulled at your muscles to get you up dancing.
And there was work for us, the audience, to do – singing along, though we were a little overawed – or maybe just wanted to hear Mairearad and Anna play and sing O My Captain about a woman who was waiting patiently (two years already) for her seafarer to return. And we sang quite enthusiastically on funny/not really depressing country number My Life Is Over Again.
We were possibly even verging on being audible on encore Hermless, the Michael Marra song which emphasises the humble not the raging, warlike Scot in us.
Many of the night’s tunes started life as birthday or baby gifts.
“We’re of that age,” Anna explained, as reel Wee McGhee’s was introduced with Liz Carroll’s Lizzy In The Lowground.
“And it’s a long winter in Achiltibuie!” laughed Mairearad.
Mairearad and Anna will play the Ceilidh Place, Ullapool, on Saturday, April 20; and Lyth Arts Centre, on Sunday, April 21. Details: https://www.mairearadandanna.com/tour