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TITLE
MusicMemory Store - Robert Mackay chooses "Down in the River to Pray"
EXTERNAL ID
PC_ACG_MMS_09
PLACENAME
N/A
DATE OF IMAGE
2010
PERIOD
2010s
SOURCE
An Comunn Gàidhealach
ASSET ID
21671
KEYWORDS
music
songs
MusicMemory Store - Robert Mackay chooses "Down in the River to Pray"

Robert has been active in traditional music in Caithness since the 90's, his show Knockfin Heights aired on Caithness FM and he provided impetus for the Wildcat TMA which ran until 2006. Robert Angus, his father is a native Gaelic speaker from Melness, his mother Myra is from Stemster. Catherine his wife has been influential in maintaining health care services in Caithness for over 30 years and their two children were educated in Thurso. Robert became an apprentice with Dounreay and has had a career which has taken him round the world. Now home, he is refocusing 'oilfield' experience into 'sustainable energy'.

"The song I have chosen for my Music Memory is "Sios Dhan an Abhainn", a Gaelic rendition of "Down in the River to Pray" as performed by Mary Ann Kennedy and Na Seoid. When I was young, my parents house parties always consisted of Jim Reeves licentious croonings, millimetres from the microphone and "Distant Drums" would later mingle with Calum Kennedy or Kenneth MacKellar. Dads singing in tandem to "Westering Home" and "He'll have to go" never occurred early enough for me to get to sleep or resulted in anyone taking the hint and leaving. Of course, the older I got the more I hated it, and yet there was something beguiling in the tunes.
Two years ago at Glasgow's Celtic Connections and feeling very stressed I went to see a Portuguese fado singer who I had admired for some time. Mariza's opening act was, Na Seoid (The Heroes) consisting of Mary Ann Kennedy and a group of male singers most of whom were Mòd gold medal winners.

It's understood that I appreciate a Guinness and this analogy best explains this memory and just how important our Gaelic culture is to me. After downing a large Islay malt at Opera House prices, I was for the first time in that Hindu state of karma. "I was a pint of Guinness"...but had not yet reached Nirvana. The opening cadence of, Na Seoid, began to empty me of blackness. Like the creamy head a pleasurable and steady draught of physical bitterness ebbed through my body, the buzzing light filament in my head lost its crackle and into the auditorium a tribal exodus of two thousand pairs of tapping feet slipped anchor. To be immersed in Na Seoid's harmony was like being presented with opium's golden share of tranquillity."

This is one of the contributions to the MusicMemory Store project which is being run as part of the build-up to the National Mòd 2010 in Caithness. A variety of local people have been asked to select a favourite traditional or Gaelic music track which has a personal meaning for them, and to share the music and the story with the public.

The project seeks to raise the profile of the value of traditional and Gaelic music within the community and its relationship to the National Mòd 2010 which is being hosted in Caithness for the very first time, from 8 to 16 October.

Copies of the albums containing their chosen track are available to borrow from Wick and Thurso libraries. A new contribution will be published each week from May until the start of the Mòd.

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MusicMemory Store - Robert Mackay chooses "Down in the River to Pray"

2010s

music; songs

An Comunn Gàidhealach

MusicMemory Store

Robert has been active in traditional music in Caithness since the 90's, his show Knockfin Heights aired on Caithness FM and he provided impetus for the Wildcat TMA which ran until 2006. Robert Angus, his father is a native Gaelic speaker from Melness, his mother Myra is from Stemster. Catherine his wife has been influential in maintaining health care services in Caithness for over 30 years and their two children were educated in Thurso. Robert became an apprentice with Dounreay and has had a career which has taken him round the world. Now home, he is refocusing 'oilfield' experience into 'sustainable energy'.<br /> <br /> "The song I have chosen for my Music Memory is "Sios Dhan an Abhainn", a Gaelic rendition of "Down in the River to Pray" as performed by Mary Ann Kennedy and Na Seoid. When I was young, my parents house parties always consisted of Jim Reeves licentious croonings, millimetres from the microphone and "Distant Drums" would later mingle with Calum Kennedy or Kenneth MacKellar. Dads singing in tandem to "Westering Home" and "He'll have to go" never occurred early enough for me to get to sleep or resulted in anyone taking the hint and leaving. Of course, the older I got the more I hated it, and yet there was something beguiling in the tunes.<br /> Two years ago at Glasgow's Celtic Connections and feeling very stressed I went to see a Portuguese fado singer who I had admired for some time. Mariza's opening act was, Na Seoid (The Heroes) consisting of Mary Ann Kennedy and a group of male singers most of whom were Mòd gold medal winners. <br /> <br /> It's understood that I appreciate a Guinness and this analogy best explains this memory and just how important our Gaelic culture is to me. After downing a large Islay malt at Opera House prices, I was for the first time in that Hindu state of karma. "I was a pint of Guinness"...but had not yet reached Nirvana. The opening cadence of, Na Seoid, began to empty me of blackness. Like the creamy head a pleasurable and steady draught of physical bitterness ebbed through my body, the buzzing light filament in my head lost its crackle and into the auditorium a tribal exodus of two thousand pairs of tapping feet slipped anchor. To be immersed in Na Seoid's harmony was like being presented with opium's golden share of tranquillity."<br /> <br /> This is one of the contributions to the MusicMemory Store project which is being run as part of the build-up to the National Mòd 2010 in Caithness. A variety of local people have been asked to select a favourite traditional or Gaelic music track which has a personal meaning for them, and to share the music and the story with the public.<br /> <br /> The project seeks to raise the profile of the value of traditional and Gaelic music within the community and its relationship to the National Mòd 2010 which is being hosted in Caithness for the very first time, from 8 to 16 October. <br /> <br /> Copies of the albums containing their chosen track are available to borrow from Wick and Thurso libraries. A new contribution will be published each week from May until the start of the Mòd.