Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Accordions for Islay Children Appeal: II

Following our initial contact, we exchanged many emails and tweets with Christine. We sent one of our 72-bass accordions to her in Glasgow:
columbastrail Columba's Trail
#accordion look at this bad boy! THANK YOU. #BlackDiamondAccordions from #islay children
31 Jan

BDAccordions Black Diamond
columbastrail Glad it arrived OK! 31 Jan

columbastrail Columba's Trail
BDAccordions Its a beauty. Thanks. Will get Neil Sinclair to get it going he is an ace player in Argyll,played with Jimmy Shand as a lad 31 Jan

BDAccordions Black Diamond
@columbastrail Yes, it will need some "playing in" - its travelled a long way: China to Mersea, Mersea to Glasgow! 31 Jan
@columbastrail Columba's Trail
@BDAccordions Then from Glasgow to Hebridean island of Islay total 608 miles + mileage from China . WoW! 31 Jan

BDAccordions Black Diamond
@columbastrail 10,956 miles China to Mersea, I'm reliably informed! 31 Jan

columbastrail Columba's Trail
@BDAccordions Wow! Over 11,500 miles that's some distance we might factor that into a song! 31 Jan

Armin Grewe took up the story on the Islay Blog :

Accordions for Islay Children Appeal Update

After yesterday's reminder to vote for Islay High School at FilmG it's time to revisit another recent entry for an update, the Accordions for Islay Children Appeal. While I've tried to keep you updated in the comments of the post I thought it would be nice to revisit in more details what has happened since. To start with a tweet from Christine:

Thank you tweeps for your fantastic response to #accordions for #islay kids #tradmusic project. Big thanks from the kids

A total of 5 accordions have now been found, which should be enough for now. Two of them have already arrived, here's a (badly photoshopped collage of their pictures #1 and #2):

Unfortunately I don't know much about the red accordion on the left apart from that it comes from Brian. I do know quite a lot more about the black one on the right however:

It has travelled all the way from Mersea Island (it really has travelled much further than that, but that's another story for another day), the most easterly inhabited island in the UK, off the coast of Essex, England. It comes courtesy of Juliet and Greg of Black Diamond Accordions, who live and work on the island, hopefully forging a connection between Mersea Island and the Isle of Islay. They also run the Black Diamond Accordions Blog, where you'll find a lot about (no surprise there) accordions and in particular accordion music. They are of course also on Twitter, under @BDAccordions, where they heard about the appeal and decided to join in. Juliet and Greg (and Juliet’s daughter, Iona) hope to travel to Islay later this year to see and hear their and other accordions in action, for the music as well as for their lifelong love of the Hebrides.

I hope there will be a video of the Islay children playing the accordions to share at some point, until then here are two videos from Juliet and Greg, showing a few impressions of Mersea Island together with some nice accordion music: Sam Pirt plays Tivoli and Sam Pirt plays a traditional Swedish tune, "Der Stod en Jungfru".

The remaining three accordions are expected from Mid-Argyll for the end of this week. I'm also told that BBC Alba is thinking about a programme about the accordions and how social media helped with getting them organised. I'll try to update you as the story of the accordions for the Islay children continues…

We'll keep you updated on the progress of the donated accordions as they make their way from mainland Scotland over to Islay.

Hopefully, we'll have some photos - or maybe even videos - of the Islay children playing their new instruments soon.

And of course we are now wistfully poring over maps of western Scotland, CalMac ferry timetables, and our already madly overcrowded diaries, working out exactly how and when we are going to make the journey to Islay ourselves.

More news soon . . .

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