An unforgettable evening with the Bardic Trio

The Bardic Trio in action in Trinity Church on Friday evening.
The Bardic Trio in action in Trinity Church on Friday evening.

One concert-goer remarked that she’d “Never forget this evening” - a sentiment surely shared by all who attended Bardic Trio’s performance on Friday.

The ensemble - comprising Scottish tenor Jamie McDougall, Welsh harpist Sharron Griffiths, and Scottish guitarist Matthew McAllister - treated the Rothesay audience to s election of Celtic works which proved to be the perfect remedy to a cold winter’s night on Bute.

Introducing the trio, Jamie remarked that they were delighted to be on Bute, joking that they’d turned down the opportunity to perform at the new US President’s inauguration to be there!

Although Jamie apologised for the cold he was suffering from, it was hardly noticable as he, Sharron and Matthew launched into Robert Burn’s ‘Ae Fond Kiss’. Performed with real sensitivity and feeling, it was clear to see why the trio is held in such high regard.

Jamie’s vocals were crisp and clear, and a delight to hear in the superb acoustics of Rothesay’s Trinity Church.

Solo performances from both Matthew and Sharron were among some of the evening’s highlights. Matthew’s rendition of ‘Farewell to Stromness’ was both soothing and measured and demonstrated the depth of emotion in the music.

Sharron, paying tribute to her Welsh roots, played John Thomas’ ‘Watching the Wheat’. A stunning, delicate performance of a tragic love story played expertly by Sharron.

Other combinations of the trio saw Matthew and Sharron team up to perform ‘Clychae Aberdyfi’, a traditional Welsh song, and ‘The Meeting of the Waters’, which is an Irish song by Thomas Moore.

Among the evening’s highlights, without a doubt, were the trio’s performances of the works of Burns.

Jamie’s high-energy rendition of ‘Rattlin’ Roarin’ Willie’ was a real treat and left many in amazement at how he was able to catch his breath in time for each verse!

But it was ‘A Man’s a Man for A That’ which stole the show. Jamie himself remarked that the song “should be taken up by the world as an anthem”, and the ensemble’s performance of that particular piece was a prime example of the power and beauty of the song.

>> The next concert in Bute Arts Society’s winter programme will be held on Friday, February 17, and features the Roxburgh Quartet (string quartet). Tickets are £8, free to students, and the concert begins at 7.30pm. Mark it in your diaries now!