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Dark Island

DigiTrad:
DARK ISLAND 2
THE DARK ISLAND


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Dark Island (Alan Bell) (18)
(DTStudy) DTStudy: The Dark Island (27)
Nationality of songs (104)
Dark Island: Too late to have DigiTrad alteration? (7)
Lyr Req: The Dark Island (Alan Bell) (10)
(origins) Origins/Author: Dark Island (43)
Information on The Dark Island (5)
(origins) Tune Req: The Dark Isle (14)
(origins) Origin: The Dark Island (41)
(origins) Lyr/Tune Add: The Dark Isle (16)
Lyr Req: Eilean Dorcha (3)


GUEST,irbabey 05 Dec 01 - 09:42 PM
Amos 05 Dec 01 - 09:56 PM
Sorcha 05 Dec 01 - 10:01 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 05 Dec 01 - 10:19 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 05 Dec 01 - 10:20 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 05 Dec 01 - 10:30 PM
Jeri 05 Dec 01 - 11:01 PM
Bernard 06 Dec 01 - 07:34 PM
GUEST,former scot 06 Dec 01 - 07:47 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 07 Dec 01 - 12:04 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 07 Dec 01 - 12:40 PM
GUEST 16 Jul 03 - 08:41 AM
Leadfingers 16 Jul 03 - 01:51 PM
Big Tim 16 Jul 03 - 04:15 PM
Strupag 16 Jul 03 - 05:43 PM
GUEST,Homesick scot 12 Dec 06 - 06:03 PM
Big Mick 12 Dec 06 - 11:58 PM
GUEST,Brian Peters 13 Dec 06 - 06:31 AM
The Sandman 13 Dec 06 - 06:56 AM
kendall 13 Dec 06 - 08:32 AM
Rowan 13 Dec 06 - 04:17 PM
Pistachio 13 Dec 06 - 04:35 PM
Big Mick 13 Dec 06 - 04:40 PM
Cluin 13 Dec 06 - 05:23 PM
Effsee 13 Dec 06 - 08:20 PM
Barry T 13 Dec 06 - 09:09 PM
Barry T 13 Dec 06 - 09:22 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 13 Dec 06 - 09:52 PM
Pistachio 14 Dec 06 - 06:12 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 15 Dec 06 - 12:38 AM
GUEST,Julia in Northumberland 15 Dec 06 - 05:40 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 17 Dec 06 - 04:56 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 01 Feb 14 - 06:06 AM
GUEST 01 Feb 14 - 10:47 AM
kendall 02 Feb 14 - 09:31 AM
Vic Smith 02 Feb 14 - 12:48 PM
GUEST,it'smagic 02 Feb 14 - 12:49 PM
PHJim 02 Feb 14 - 02:57 PM
Brian Peters 02 Feb 14 - 03:00 PM
Brian Peters 02 Feb 14 - 03:03 PM
Steve Shaw 02 Feb 14 - 06:25 PM
PHJim 02 Feb 14 - 07:33 PM
GUEST,leeneia 03 Feb 14 - 11:00 AM
GUEST 04 Feb 14 - 05:32 AM
GUEST,Vin2 06 Feb 14 - 04:23 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 07 Feb 14 - 06:28 AM
Irene M 07 Feb 14 - 04:11 PM
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Subject: Dark Island
From: GUEST,irbabey
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 09:42 PM

My Mum had a beautiful, haunting version of Dark Island (Last line: "That lovely Dark Island where memories stray"). This was on a 78 rpm record and sung by a lass with a beautiful voice accompanied by the pipes. This recording has to be quite old, so does anyone have any thoughts of who could have sung this years ago?

Search for "dark island" threads


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Amos
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 09:56 PM

Couldn't have been Caroline Paton, could it? Maybe not that far back. The "current version" of the trad Hebrides song can be found here as Caroline and Sandy did it but I susp[ect there is a more ancient version with different words out there somewhere.

A


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Sorcha
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 10:01 PM

It was written by Iain McLachlan, (1927-1995) so the dates ought to narrow the search some. (anyway, that is what GoogleGod said.....)


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 10:19 PM

Melody written by Iain McLaclan "for BBC thriller" in 1963 (not trad.) The Caroline Paton version follows the words in the DT but in different order.
Found midi on www.cromarty.freeserve.co.uk/dark_1.wav
I have visited the Dark Isle of Cromarty and the weather was beautiful, but I understand it can be bad for long stretches.
Now- Some sites refer to a trad. Hebridean melody, which may have nothing to do with the McLachlain melody, or he may have revised it.


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 10:20 PM

The Dark Island song isn't old enough to have been on a '78. It's only around 40 years old. The song we traditionally know is from about 65.

There are several threads about the song in the Forum, as well as a couple of versions in the DT database.


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 10:30 PM

Dark Island #1
Dark Island #2
 
Dark Isle
The Dark Island?
Dark Island - New Information


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Jeri
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 11:01 PM

The lyrics irbabey refers to were written by Stewart Ross in 1963. They were posted by Mr Ross's son, in the last thread George linked to above - "Dark Island - New Information."

When did they stop making 78's? I swear my mom was still buying them in '63. In any case, irbabey heard someone sing it. Mr Ross's son ("GUEST,rossey" in that thread) said that over 40 recordings had been made of his father's lyrics to the MacLachlan tune, written in 1958, and originally titled "'Dr. Mackay's Farewell to Creagorry."


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Bernard
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 07:34 PM

Dicho - that isn't a MIDI on my website, it's a recording of me playing it (that's why it's a .WAV file)! It's also the reason why Alan Ross posted to Mudcat - after contacting me by email. My full name is Bernard Cromarty, BTW...

78's definitely carried on into the early '60's, but it's unlikely that Dark Island was released on one...


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: GUEST,former scot
Date: 06 Dec 01 - 07:47 PM

always thought Benbecula was the dark island.


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 12:04 AM

IT was. Check out my page:

Eilean Dorcha - Gaelic version of Dark Island


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Dec 01 - 12:40 PM

Bernard, that's the ultimate insult to confuse your playing with a midi. Please forgive. I saw that little gray bar on a white background and immediately thought midi. I was tootling through google, and didn't give it a listen until today. Google went directly to the Dark Island page, so I didn't see your home page. The location on my server said www.cromarty... so I said ha! the dark isle of Cromarty, as I was told it was called. Of course, I knew about Dark Island beer. Again, please forgive.


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jul 03 - 08:41 AM

In reply to all this old correspondence, I have just newly discovered that the version of the Dark Island which the writer is referring to was indeed written by Stewart Ross in 1963.

Calum Kennedy recorded it on an LP and single in 1967. The female version was recorded by his 15-year-old daughter Fiona Kennedy in 1969 and issued on vinyl LPs as well as being used in a TV series (Round at Calum's) and theatre performance. This is the lovely voiced singer the writer is referring to. Otherwise memories are becoming fuddled. It has never in UK terms been on 78's as it was only written in 1963, and taken up by the Kennedy family. The first recording was made in 1965 by a singer called Argo Cameron. After this a dispute over the origin of the tune caused both versions to get mixed up. Sheet music with the words properly credited to Ross was first issued in 1963. Alasdair Gillies, Fiona Kennedy's uncle through marriage recorded both the Ross lyrics "In the years long gone by..." after first recording the David Silver lyrics "Away to the west...".


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Leadfingers
Date: 16 Jul 03 - 01:51 PM

The Hell with the song I will stick to the beer IF I can gt hold of it
Hebridean Breweries - a VERY dark bitter beer and well worth trying if
you can find a Hostelry that stocks it.


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Big Tim
Date: 16 Jul 03 - 04:15 PM

One of the lovliest melodies that I have ever heard.


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Strupag
Date: 16 Jul 03 - 05:43 PM

Dorcha,
Cromarty (the place)is on the Black Isle which is not an island.
Confusing eh!


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: GUEST,Homesick scot
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 06:03 PM

any one figured out chords?


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Big Mick
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 11:58 PM

This is how I do it.

ADm way to theAmwestward I'm Flonging to C be,
Cwhere the beauties of Amheaven unCfold by the Gsea (hammer on)
GWhere the Dmsweet purpleAm heather blooms Ffragrant and Cfree,
on a hillside high aG7bove the Dark CIsland

CHORUS:
C
Oh, isle of my childhood, FI'm dreaming of C thee,
as the steamer leaves AmOban,andCpasses TirGee
GSoon I'll Dmcapture theAmmagic that Flingers for C me,
when I'm back once more upG7 on the Dark C IsFlaCnd.


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 06:31 AM

About fifteen years ago I had the pleasure of hearing Ian McLachlan playing his accordion in the lounge of the Castlebay Hotel, Isle of Barra (next-but-one island down from his native Benbecula). He had an eclectic repertoire including a stirring version of "Ghost Riders in the Sky", and played "Dark Island" several times in response to proferred fivers. He was very gracious in encouraging me to play a couple of tunes on my concertina, as well.


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 06:56 AM

its on my next recording.


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: kendall
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 08:32 AM

I always thought the lyrics were somewhat Chamber of Commerce, but Caroline Paton makes it a real jewel with that Nightingale voice of hers.


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Rowan
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 04:17 PM

I knew nothing about its origin in '75, having only ever heard it as an instrumental and only once or twice at that, it was the second or third tune I learned to play on the Anglo. I thank you all for the info above.

Cheers Rowan


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Pistachio
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 04:35 PM

Hi, my sister sent me the words she uses for the version Big Mick offered :

The Dark Island.

Away to the Westward I'm longing to be
Where the beauties of heaven unfold by the sea
Where the sweet purple heather runs fragrant and free
On a hill top high above the Dark Island.

Chorus:
Oh Isle of my childhood I'm dreaming of thee
As the steamer leaves Oban and passes Tiree
Soon I'll capture the magic that lingers for me
When I'm back once more upon the Dark Island
Chorus

So gentle the sea breeze that ripples the bay
Where the stream joins the ocean, and young children play
On the strand of pure silver, I'll welcome each day
And I'll roam forever more the Dark Island
Chorus

True gem of the Hebrides bathed in the light
Of the midsummer dawning that follows the night
How I yearn for the cries of the seagulls in flight
As they circle high above the dark island
Chorus

When I'm back once more upon the Dark Island.

x x x x x x x

(and this is the song that I have always sung - which I suspect is nearer to the 'last line' requested by GUEST irbabey back in 2001!)

The Dark Island - Variation

In the years long gone by when I first left my home
I was young and I wanted the wide world to roam
But now I am older and wiser you'll see
That lovely Dark Island is calling to me

Tho' I've wandered away from the land of my birth
And been roamin' around to the ends of the earth
Still my heart is at home in that land far away
That lovely Dark Island where memories stray

One day I'll return to that far distant shore
And from that dear island I'll wander no more
'til the day that I die I will no longer roam
That lovely Dark Island will be my last home.

I don't know how I'd get the tune to you but I'll try if 'you' need/want me to.
Hazel (nee McGregor)


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Big Mick
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 04:40 PM

Birdseye, its been on many people's versions. I am with Kendall. Caroline Paton is the Gold Standard on this one.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Cluin
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 05:23 PM

My band, Blarney, recorded it a few years ago.

This is the chording we used.


(Dm arpeggios for 4 bars)

Dm         Em            C          G
away to the westward, I'm longing to be
                                           D
where the beauties of Heaven unfold by the sea
                      C                         G   
where the sweet purple heather grows fragrant and free
                   D             C G
on a hilltop, high above the Dark Is-land


    G                         C          G
oh, Isle of my childhood, I'm dreaming of thee
                                        D
as the steamer leaves Oban and passes Tiree
                      C                      G
soon I'll capture the magic that lingers for me
                     D            C G
when I'm home again upon the Dark Is-land

(Dm apeggios 4 bars before next verse)

There are a few bass runs on the in there in spots too on the C chord mainly and some Dsus4 hammer-ons. An oft-requested perennial favourite of ours.


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Effsee
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 08:20 PM

Can we get one thing straight, teh "dark island" has nothing to do with the "Black Isle".


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Barry T
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 09:09 PM

Here's a question about the melody I hope someone can answer...

In the most popular pipe setting of the tune, the melody for the notes underlined below goes down to the first note of the scale... the same note that starts the first and third lines. Most accordion and fiddle players I've heard play the second note of the scale at those points.

Away to the Westward I'm longing to be
Where the beauties of heaven unfold by the sea
Where the sweet purple heather runs fragrant and free
On a hill top high above the Dark Island.

Which is the original melody, as created by McLachlan?

I personally play the accordion/fiddle version even on the pipes. Don't ask me why. It just sounds better!

- - - - -


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Barry T
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 09:22 PM

I know somebody's going to get me on my inaccurate reference to 'scale' above, so let me re-phrase: accordion and fiddle players play those notes a step higher than do pipers! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 09:52 PM

Thanks Hazel. IF you look at the other threads both versions are here. The first one you have there was written by David Silver. The second version is one that was written by Stewart Ross. We also have another song which uses the same tune from Carl PEterson. The DT used to have a set of lyrics from Alan Bell which was removed due to copyright restrictions. I used to have a copy of those lyrics but have since mislaid them.

The tune is online and available at different places. This includes JC's ABC TuneFinder. They have it in MIDI, ABC and GIF formats.


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Pistachio
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 06:12 PM

Thanks George - I'm not familiar with all the info that appeared and as my company business is on this slow old machine I don't like to overload it at this time. But I will have a go once I know I've more time and space to play with. I do not read music - I can follow at a snails pace.... excuses..endless excuses...

I'm sure it's as recorded by Alasdair Gillies, it runs steadily up the keyboard with almost a word for each note/note for each word. I believe it then turns to a different tune, my mind always wants me to 'continue', something I can 'hear in my head' played on pipes...but my young brain hasn't opened the right file even now. Bother.

What kind people.
I love the way the 'cat' is so helpful and considerate. I can, and have, sat for hours getting lost in some threads - there's soooo much interesting stuff on here.. and no loud arguments about whose turn it is next to clear up ( ! ) how madly domestic is that?
Must be past my bedtime. G'night all.
H


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 15 Dec 06 - 12:38 AM

YEs, you can get lost in the massive amount of information in the threads of the Mudcat. I've spent the last week going through the first 500 messages and was able to clear a dozen or so unsolved questions. There are still lots more in that region, as well there are literally thousands of Unanswered Requests still begging... If you get a chance to help, check them out.


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: GUEST,Julia in Northumberland
Date: 15 Dec 06 - 05:40 AM

Anyone know who to apply to for copyright permission to publish the tune (not the words)?

Thanks for any info....


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 17 Dec 06 - 04:56 PM

Iain MacLachlan I believe would be who you'd ask since he wrote the tune in the 1950s. Read the threads for more details


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 01 Feb 14 - 06:06 AM

Came across this today- would think the best man to ask about details would be Pete Shepheard, who recorded Ian McLachlan playing it his way. You'll find it on a Springthyme cassette recorded at Kinross Festival about
1976. It may be on CD by now- ask Pete. Don't think Ian ever claimed it as his own composition, tunes run in the blood up there. I do recall that he played a big accordion most of the time that weekend, but Pete was keen to record him playing the melodeon. So at one stage, Ian borrowed my DG melodeon in a session & Vic Smith said my chin was nearly on the floor in amazement when I heard what he could do with it & Pete was determined to record him playing it. So Ian borrowed my old Hohner so if you want to hear what he did, some of it's on the recording, one of the best collections ever of such 'Island Music' (the title, I think).
I do recall asking Ian why he was leaving so early on the Sunday (just after the recording session) not realising the complications of a trip to Benbecula, where he lived and worked.


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 14 - 10:47 AM

Saw it on the white heather scottish dance club in the sixties. Similarly, the tune Inis Oirr or Inisheer is only recent 1940s, where many players believe it to be traditional and hundreds of years old. I suspect the author may well have lost out on many royalties becaus of that!!


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: kendall
Date: 02 Feb 14 - 09:31 AM

I love this melody. Dm to Em is interesting .


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Vic Smith
Date: 02 Feb 14 - 12:48 PM

I was going to tell the Ian MacLachlan/Jim Bainbridge story but Jim has beaten me to it. I do remember the incident very well and Jim's reaction to Ian playing his G/D box. When the amazed Mr. Bainbridge eventually recovered his power of speech, he said that he had no idea that fast reels could be played on the instrument. It was not long before Jim was playing them himself. I think that this happened on a late session of the festival (the Saturday?). Ian Maclaclan had been playing the piano accordion all weekend and I don't think that he actually owned a melodeon at that time. He certainly found his way around Jim's box and to my ears that was the more exciting of the two.


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: GUEST,it'smagic
Date: 02 Feb 14 - 12:49 PM

Just by the way, North Sea Gas has a very nice version of this.


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: PHJim
Date: 02 Feb 14 - 02:57 PM

Here's a thread on The Dark Island on The Session site.
The Session on The Dark Island


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Brian Peters
Date: 02 Feb 14 - 03:00 PM

I met Ian MacLachan during an evening at a hotel on (I think) South Uist, where he was providing entertainment. He played 'Dark Island' at least three times on the big accordion at the request of punters, who would slip him a fiver. The second most popular request (which he made a very good job of) was 'Ghost Riders in the Sky'.

I had my concertina with me, but sadly he didn't pick it up and do something dazzling.

Re the copyright, I know someone in the US tried to publish my concertina arrangement, and got so bogged down in competing claims that he gave up.


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Brian Peters
Date: 02 Feb 14 - 03:03 PM

Bloody hell, I'd already said most of that seven years ago. Memory's going... [note to self] Read the whole thread next time!


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 02 Feb 14 - 06:25 PM

It makes a lovely tune in its own right without the words. I was amazed to find that it was such a recent composition. At one time we played it in a set of two waltzes, the first of which was Margaret's Waltz. Give 'em a whirl, but keep that nice, light waltzy bounce, as Dark Island can end up a bit heavy otherwise!

Think of that set as a valuable Burns Night special!


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: PHJim
Date: 02 Feb 14 - 07:33 PM

It used to be used (perhaps still is) as a pipe tune, in Owen Sound, to close their Summerfolk Festival.


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 03 Feb 14 - 11:00 AM

Here's a nice site that plays the song and gives info on 'The Dark Island.'

http://www.wtv-zone.com/phyrst/audio/nfld/11/darkisland.htm

It also has gif's and MIDI's of the music. Very nice!


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Feb 14 - 05:32 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: GUEST,Vin2
Date: 06 Feb 14 - 04:23 PM

Hey Leeneia just visited the site you posted - lovely rendition Ryans' Fancy. I went into the utube site and found another version sung by Canadian singe Jessie Fergusson from Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. Thanks for that !

http://youtu.be/hQPXcZay-NY

The other Dark Island is of course the song penned by Alan Bell to the same tune and I must add often sung by the great Mike Canavan sadly no longer with us and sorely missed.


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 06:28 AM

I recall the BBC TV series starring Robert Hardy, which was broadcast about 5pm in the BBC's then 'childrens' slot- it was a thriller, and starred Robert Hardy, who went on to greater things. I'd guess that
it was broadcast in the early 60s- the BBC say that they do not have the series, although the later (1969) radio version is available online. Haven't looked, but maybe the tune in question was used there as well. As I said earlier, Ian McLachlan never claimed to have written it, but renamed it for the TV series from an earlier tune 'Dr Mackay's Farewell to Creagory'. The origin of THAT is another subject & I never heard any words until recently.
I agree that it's a wonderful tune, very tolerant of being played at various speeds and rhythms. It is justifiably popular among accordionists in Scotland and Northern England, but is not improved by some of the ghastly improvisations inflicted upon it, mainly in competition situations in those areas in the name of originality and
virtuosity.
   It's great tune, and like all great tunes, IMO is best kept in its original relatively simple form, unless you know what you are doing.


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Subject: RE: Dark Island
From: Irene M
Date: 07 Feb 14 - 04:11 PM

I recall the radio series from my childhood; and the tune being used for it. Dammned if I can recall the name of the playwright though. Double barrelled name.


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