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Caithness musicians taking steps to revive interest in ceilidh dancing

By Gordon Calder

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A WICK fiddler, with the help of other Caithness musicians, is taking steps to try and revive interest in "good old-fashioned nights of ceilidh dancing in village halls."

Gordon Gunn, Neil MacGregor and Grant Lyall will be getting the venture underway with an event at Scotscalder Hall next Friday, which it is hoped, will be the first of many.

Gordon, a well-known and respected performer who plays with the popular Scottish band Session A9, explained how the idea came about. He said: "Over the past few winter months, a number of people have mentioned to us that they wish there were more options for a good old fashioned night of ceilidh dancing in the village halls. So with the help of Scotscalder Hall Committee, Friday, March 1 will be the start of an evening of ceilidh dancing that we are looking at bringing to village halls around Caithness and Sutherland. We're speaking to other village hall committees for further dancing nights in the coming months."

Gordon Gunn, and other Caithness musicians, are hoping to revive ceilidh dancing in village halls
Gordon Gunn, and other Caithness musicians, are hoping to revive ceilidh dancing in village halls

He added: "Obviously, Covid certainly put a stop to community dancing but, hopefully, we're now progressing to more normal community gatherings and certainly dancing is great for our health and mental health and we are looking forward to providing the music in Scotscalder.

"The band for the evening is myself on fiddle, Neil MacGregor on accordion and Grant Lyall on drums and the event will feature fun dances such as Strip the Willow, the Circassian circle, the Virginia reel along with others. The evening is open to all ages and there will be instruction for anyone new to ceilidh dancing. The ceilidh will run from 8pm to 11pm."

Ticket prices are £14 for adults, £10 for concessions and those aged between 12 and 16 years olds. Under 12's are free.

A limited number of tickets will be available from the Scotscalder Hall Committee but online ticket sales will be available on www.eventbrite.co.uk

Gordon said: "Refreshments, tea and coffee are included in the ticket price and you're welcome to bring your own bottle."

Session A9 released their latest CD when they played at the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow last month.

The CD, called The Magic Roundabout features eight tracks, with the bulk of the material penned by the group as well as friends and associates although it also includes a couple of songs by such well known musicians as Tom Waits and Robbie Robertson.

Two of Gordon's compositions – The Tenor Reel and The Opinionated Gents – are on the release.

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