The season’s series of classical concerts is launched this evening with an evening of horn and harp music.
Horn-player Jennie Lindop and harpist Esther Swift first met while playing with The National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and are playing for the first time at the Big Shed.
It was time to unwind and unravel once again in a yoga workshop held in the Hall on Sunday.
Led by Sue Atkinson, the day focused on taking care of the lower back when practising yoga. Most of us (including myself) have the tendency to over-use our back muscles to compensate for core muscles that don't have much strength, and 13 of us - with not a single unlucky one in our number - benefitted today from our lessons in how to take greater care of our spines.
The workshop began in the morning by Sue taking us through a gentle and thorough warm-up, followed by some slowly and carefully executed sequences.
Following this, we took a break for a lunch of tasty, mostly home-grown and home-made vegetarian food served in the Big Shed's cafe and kitchen area. The day was sunny, warm and dry; perfect for a gentle post-luncheon stroll to the loch and along the beach to allow our food to settle, and relax us into the afternoon session.
This consisted of luxurious stretches, well-supported by comfortable cushions and bolsters; these poses were held for several minutes to allow our bodes to stretch gently without undue effort. It was so nice to have the luxury of time to ease into postures and feel the body gradually stretching without any apparent effort.
The day was rounded off by a guided relaxation led by Sue. Bliss!
Saturday 5th October shall go down in Big Shed memory as the 'Rallion Rave-up'!
Hailing from from Glasgow and Perthshire, Rallion are are renowned for their unique and powerful music which brings together a wide range of influences to create contemporary folk with a big fat twist. Their sound is based around the fiddle powerhouse of Fiona Cuthill, the distinctive voice of Marieke McBean and the virtuoso guitar and bouzouki playing of Stevie Lawrence; each of them is an extremely talented solo performer and multi-instrumentalist.
It has been written about Rallion that "Any head banging, heavy metal musician would envy the driving, chest thumping beat this group can pound out of their traditional instruments. Clapping and foot stomping was irresistible every time they played. They rock!"- Jay Moore, Cambridge Now, Canada. And so it proved on Saturday, when younger members of the audience spilled out into the open air outside the Hall and danced rapturously in full view of the band; the rapport between the audience and the band was unmistakably vibrant.
The band was founded 10 years ago, and their first ever gig was at the Killin folk festival in 2013; since then, the group have travelled widely, performing at Celtic international music festivals in Italy, the Netherlands and Canada, as well as festivals throughout the UK. The band have appeared on BBC Radio Scotland /BBC Radio Nan Gaidheal - 'The Highland Cafe' and Celtic Music Radio, Glasgow, and perform regularly in folk clubs around Scotland.
In 2006 they released their first album For No-one and Everyone to very favourable reviews. Their second album One for Sorrow was released in 2009.
The Big Shed extends its warmest thanks to Rallion for providing a hugely enjoyable evening of the highest quality folk.
Please visit their website www.rallion.co.uk for further information about the band, pictures and lyrics, and where you can also buy their music.
Hah! I thought a big glass of whisky would get your attention - but have you ever wished to know more about how to appreciate our national tipple properly? Of course you have, and a Single Malt Whisky tasting event at the Big Shed is exactly what you need to familiarise yourself with the finer points of the revered Scottish Art of Whisky.
Just such a session was hosted in the Big Hall on June 13th, and was naturally attended by our barman Laurie who wrote this report for the blog:
"A bit it hung over from all the fun last night - a really good evening with a superb speaker and six whiskies to sample. We were able to ruminate on a range of ages, styles, peat levels and both filtered and unfiltered samples from a variety of distilleries.
"Such an event is a good intro to get you from possibly liking it and wondering if are you missing something, to becoming a confident appreciator of good whisky. From a basic understanding of the type of glass used to drink from, through the colour, smell, the effect of a drop of water, the way to savour it and enjoy it, the tasting event was detailed and instructive. Interesting insights into brewery tricks, the effect of barley, ageing, barrels, location when maturing and peat were given along with discussions such as price versus quality and enjoyment increases.
"The points of the suitability of different whiskies to fine dining were discussed in much the same way as fine wines, with considerations of the appropriate whisky to drink with a meal or after a meal - whether it be lunch, dinner or even breakfast. Subjects such as grain versus neat barley affecting the end product, whether the whisky is to be for drinking or storing, and brewery tours were so thought-provoking that there were lots of questions from the floor on most aspects of production - so we overran expected time, and the evening didn't begin to break up until nearly 10pm.
"It was a very successful evening, most in attendance will or already have signed up to coming back for round 2 (or 7 depending on your way of looking at it!)
"Our whisky connoisseur Steve was very good with us, with the attitude that there is no such thing as a stupid question putting everyone at ease and making us all feel we could ask him anything at all we wanted to know on the subject. No one really wanted to finish!"
Thank you Laurie for your great report on a fascinating evening! I hope your hangover is better by now. If you are interested to find out more about future whisky nosing events at the Big Shed, either contact Jane on 07766 566935 or keep an eye on our Newsletters and the Dates for Your Diary section on this page.
The Big Shed acoustics rang in June with the voices of Christine and Barbara, the Scottish folk duo Sinsheen who gave a fantastic performance as expected! The two voices, mostly unaccompanied and completely unaided by amplification, were suited particularly well to the ambience; lovely harmonies filled the hall, which was laid out with candle-lit tables in café style. The atmosphere was informal and intimate with the singers practically in the audience, allowing the opportunity for Katy to collaborate from the front of the audience with embellishments to the harmonies for some of the songs.
The songs themselves were a mixture, including some very funny and irreverent ones: a favourite was Muggy Sha, about a lady banned from all the pubs in Dundee. In spite of the lyrics being in rich Dundee dialect, the meaning was abundantly clear and the audience was in stitches!
There was also some Rabbie Burns and a lovely version of Loch Lomond to an unfamiliar tune, Sinsheen being renowned for their research into traditional music and their ability to bring a unique twist in their approach to the songs.
There was also a guest slot for Andrew Warwick and Katy just after the interval who played and sang charmingly two very fine old songs - To the Begging I Will Go, and Burns' Green Grow the Rushes O.
It was altogether an evening of the finest Scottish folk music. A lovely quote from quote from music.com nicely sums up Sinsheen:
"The songs of Sinsheen are a voice for the irreverent everywhere, with a brash sense of humour, but a healthy respect for the roots of traditional Scottish music. Songs vary from self-penned via trad to the odd genre-swapping version of a dyed-in-the-wool Scottish favourite. Expect fun and seriousness in equal measure, a performance extraordinarily varied and rich, songs about work, struggle, love, getting the bairn tae sleep, politics, the blues, and dreams".
If you missed the concert this time round, keep a lookout for future dates at the Big Shed; in the mean time if you would like to hear more of Sinsheen their debut CD Lift can be purchased from their website at www.sinsheen.com.
"Everywhere the ladies’ singing just oozes Life; the overwhelming feeling you get is that they really enjoy what they’re doing and they mean every word and nuance, and the result, captured in telling detail by the disc’s producer Michael Marra, is unstintingly fresh and invigorating". - www.livingtradition.co.uk