Ups and downs, twists and turns, joy and heartbreak. All combine to tell the story of Scotland’s house band – Runrig.
For such a comparatively small area on our planet Scotland is infamous for producing global heroes from all walks of life: poets, engineers, writers, artists, actors, comedians and sportsmen. From the world of music none come bigger than Runrig.
One of those groups who if you haven’t actually heard them you have heard of them. I was fortunate to see them late in their career and what a raucous, rip-roaring evening it was. Their energy was infectious, their musicality unquestionable and anyone who left the arena not enjoying the evening where definitely like the weather ‘dreich’!!!
All these qualities are captured vividly on this documentary dvd spanning the 45 years of Runrig but really the beginnings of Runrig started pre-1973, the foundation built with the brotherly and family close musical relationship between Calum and Rory Macdonald.
The documentary lovingly tells this story from the humble gaelic dance band beginnings on Skye to the huge 50,000 seater arenas, including a trip into space. Hawkwind may have tried to propel us through space but Runrig actually played in space aboard a Space Shuttle trip!!
Their longevity doesn’t just come from their consumate energy, but a determined belief in themselves, backed by musicianship which stirred emotions and stimulated the musical endorphins to thousands of devoted and faithful followers of all nationalities.
Runrig have been extremely courageous too, giving up steady teaching careers, establishing their own record label and experimenting the blending of traditional gaelic music with rock. This DVD shouldn’t just serve as a memorable chronicle for the loyal Runrig fans of their heroes but also be an inspiration for young musicians.
In 45 years there will be low periods, mistakes, re-invention, financial worries and personnel changes threatening the future, but this story shows how a resolute desire to overcome setbacks makes the struggle worthwhile. The emotions displayed by fans during their final tour, show how much they are missed but their music will live on if not just through the many recordings but through those who have been inspired by them to perform and learn to play.
Many personal accounts and recollections tell the story (which is much better than some pseudo expert giving their version) through intimate tales and memories, including the time when the audience revolted because they didn’t play Loch Lomond (and they’re not getting away with it here either!!). You don’t need to claim Scottish heritage or have staunch independent political leanings to admire Runrig. They have universal appeal so many thanks to Blazing Griffin, producer Steve Little and Director Jack Cocker for this fabulous tribute to this archetypal band.