He says the group began in 1968 in the town of Paisley, Scotland. Folk music was resurgent in the United States and he and his friends were inspired by Peter, Paul and Mary, Pete Seeger and the Weavers. They took part of their name from the American group and the other part from the Scottish poet Robert Tannahill.
Tannahill is less well known than Robert Burns, but the two were contemporaries. The Industrial Revolution had come to Scotland and the Scottish highlanders were moving to the industrial towns for work and mixing with the lowlanders who were of a different background and sentiment. Tannahill, a frail man, was apprenticed by his father as a weaver. He wrote in both Scots and English but was not well known in his day. Later he was called “the weaver poet” and his work now features prominently in Scottish literature.
The group moved from playing pubs to music festivals. Gullane says he knew they had something when they played at a festival in Tubingen, Germany in a castle courtyard. They had a marvelous reception there and have been touring the world ever since. To mark their 50th anniversary they are again on tour with a new album called “Orach,” the Celtic word for gold.
Gullane who sings and plays guitar is joined by Phil Smillie who plays flute, bodhran and whistles, John Martin on fiddle, viola and cello and Lorne MacDougall who has been named three times by BBC Scotland as the young traditional musician of the year, plays bagpipes. The quartet will be in concert this Sunday night at the Red Light Cafe.
For tickets and information, visit http://redlightcafe.com.