Backstage At Crofters Music: What Does Live Music Mean To You?

What was it like to begin playing live music, and what does playing live mean to you?

Some of the most inspirational people I started playing with when I came to Arran were Maggie and Iain Frame. Iain, who is sadly no longer with us, was quite motivated to make a sideline business out of it, and they invited me to join them as a trio. That was my introduction to playing live. We started off playing in the pubs while I was 15 or 16, and still at school. It was my first time learning to accompany people live and getting paid to play music. I thought, this beats washing cars or mowing grass! This is a hell of a lot more fun.

At the same time I started sailing, and the opportunity of playing music on boats presented itself to me, and it was just such a fabulous combination. It really took off from there. I got completely immersed in the music scene on the island, and created a lot of social relationships and professional connections that are still strong today and crucial to the musical side of Crofters.

As to what it means to be able to play live, I wouldn’t be breaking ground here to say that playing music and practising any form of creativity in the arts is a form of therapy. It’s a way of processing all sorts of mental stuff that comes out through the music. Looking at the situation in 2020, I think that removing that outlet is a strongly exacerbating factor in people’s deteriorating mental health.

Likewise, people need to hear music. Music is soothing and emotive. It creates an atmosphere in a room, and we are energetic beings - we need that interaction.

I would have to refer here to The Twa Dugs in Ayr. They have a bigger venue than Crofters, and a longer established community of patrons. The cross-section of the community there is phenomenal. A lot of the older guys and ladies sit with a half pint or a little whisky, take their time over it, soak it all up and love it. They would maybe sing the odd song towards the end of the session and I would have, along with others, the privilege of accompanying them or providing harmonies to their songs.

It’s not just a whimsical thing to be creating. It is absolutely intrinsic to who a certain section of the community are. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in a pub or somebody’s kitchen or living room - there’s so much essential value in shared music.

Over on our youtube channel friend and band colleague of Dónal, JP Gourlay, discusses what playing means to him.

Missing live music too? Join Crofters Music to see what we’re doing to bring live music into your living room, and check out MyPlayer for upcoming online gigs.

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