The late John Bellany was born and brought up in Port Seton, East Lothian, Scotland, and went on to become an artist of international renown.
His father was a boat builder in Port Seton and many of John’s paintings reflect his connection with fishing and the sea. John also had a great love of music and in fact had a ceilidh band named The Blue Bonnets in his early years.
This collection of music and songs is released as a tribute to the great man and many were John’s favourites, chosen by his wife Helen and other family members. Some items were specially written for the album in honour of John Bellany.
The front cover is Port Seton Harbour and a fine example of the artist’s work. The album royalty will go to The John Bellany Day Centre, Port Seton, which cares for the elderly in the community on a daily basis.
19 tracks: Moon River (Siobhan Miller) * His Brush Across The Canvas (Simon Kempston) * Bonaparte’s Retreat (Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham) * Farewell Tae The Haven (Davy Steele with Ceolbeg) * The Road and The Miles to Dundee (The Corries) * John Bellany of Port Seton (Hamish Moore) * Aberlady Bay (The McCalmans) * The Boatie Rows (The John Bellany Day Centre Folk and Alex Hodgson) * Blue Bonnets Over The Border (GiveWay) * Ae Fond Kiss (Gill Bowman) * Hazard Yet Forward (The Harbour Lights Plus The Boatie Blest Folk) * Puirt Seton / Bellany’s Brush (Stuart Eydmann & Eddie McGuire) * The Reel John Bellany (Alex Hodgson) * Wha’ll Dreg a Buckie (Davy Steele with Drinker’s Drouth) * Le Campane di Barga (The Bells o’ Barga) (Hamish Moore and The Choirs of Barga and Sangstreem) * Dark Lochnagar (Calum Kennedy) * Shoals of Herring (Rod Paterson) * Rage Against The Dying of The Light (Paul Bellany). Bonus track: Will Your Anchor Hold (The Fisher Folk Choir).
Included on the CD are two tracks from Hamish Moore. During 2008-2009 he was artist-in-residence in Barga. His residency proved a great success and he staged a sell-out concert (article here) involving Scottish and local musicians which included a composition of his own for pipes, choir and other musicians based around the bell chimes of the town’s Duomo.
The pealing bells of the medieval town’s duomo will mell with the strains of Scots and Italian choirs to introduce a line-up of visiting singers and players, including singer and piper Ken Campbell, pipes and fiddle duo Fin Moore and Sarah Hoy, The Cast (Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis, who found themselves unexpectedly in the limelight when the Sex and the City film featured their beautiful rendition of Auld Lang Syne), traditional singers Scott Gardiner and Loreen Merman, fiddler and pianist Fiona Moore and the “folk choir” Sangstream.
The event, which may well become an annual event in the town’s 17th-century theatre, has been organised by Hamish Moore, the Dunkeld pipemaker and piper (and father of Fin and Fiona), who has been Barga’s musician-in-residence since the beginning of the year.
He first visited the place in May last year, having heard the Scottish painter John Bellany, who now lives there, extolling its merits on a radio show. “Barga is full of artists and musicians and creative people of all sorts,” says Moore. “One of the local bars, Aristo’s, is the unofficial cultural centre (site here), and I got involved with music sessions there with my small pipes.”