Mànran - A Collection of Music and Songs by Blair Douglas (Download)
Mànran, a book of Blair Douglas's best-loved music and songs was published by Macmeanmna early in 2009. This publication had been eagerly anticipated given the popularity of Blair's work and, with Blair having recently been named Composer of the Year for 2008 at the Scots Trad Awards, Mànran was very well received.
Now available as a high quality PDF download only, this was the first music collection of Blair's to be published and among the nearly 50 compositions featured are such classics as Kate Martin's Waltz, Solus m' àigh, Nelson Mandela's Welcome to the City of Glasgow, Màiri Ruadh a' Dannsa, An Cocaire Beag and Ruith na Gaoith. Where appropriate, there are pipe settings for tunes something which will be welcomed given the growing popularity of a number Blair's compositions among solo pipers and pipe bands.
As would be said in Gaelic, Blair Douglas 'did not need to buy' his musical ability, he inherited it from both sides of his family. But genetics alone cannot explain this rare talent. What Blair has done over the years to hone and perfect his talents through good times and not-so-good times by dint of sheer hard and often thankless work. His musical expertise is a distillation of the tuition he received and the influences to which he was exposed, the years of playing and composing, and his recording and producing experience.
Blair was born and brought up in Skye. On his mother's side he has strong connections with North Uist while his father's people had moved to Skye from the Border country around 150 years ago.
Blair was inspired to buy an accordion after hearing the playing of the late, lamented Niall Cheòis of Lewis. In 1973, having quickly mastered the instrument he teamed up with Calum and Rory MacDonald, fellow Skyemen with North Uist connections. Together they formed the Run Rig Dance Band, later to become Run Rig, with whom he played for several years.
His first solo album, Celtology, came out in 1984. Subsequent CDs - Beneath the Beret, A Summer in Skye, Angels from the Ashes, Stay Strong, Leanaidh Mi, Behind the Name and The Flyer are all remarkable not only because of their quality but also because the material featured is Blair's own. These CDs are now classics and speak eloquently of Blair's huge musical talents.