Runrig's story to be shared in global online gathering

The origins of Runrig the band is like a screenplay waiting to be written. Two brothers from the Isle of Skye, Rory and Calum MacDonald forming a ceilidh band along with Blair Douglas on accordion for a village dance.

By John Murray
Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 4:30 pm
Runrig pictured in 2016 by Matt Liengie.
Runrig pictured in 2016 by Matt Liengie.

They were still playing for dances as The Run Rig Dance Band branching out as far as the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow back in 1983, it was a dinner dance in the function suite and a full year before Donnie Munro joined and demos were made and the first album all in Gaelic was recorded in 1986 called Play Gaelic, the first rock album of its kind.

Now as Runrig they took on Malcolm Jones on guitar and Fifer Iain Bayne on drums as the reputation grew.

Albums were released nearly every two years with more singles and more new members including Pete Wishart from Big Country.

Then came the concert at Balloch Country Park with 50,000 fans in 1991 and the rousing version of Loch Lomond which is still played at Scottish weddings today.

Before the decade ended Donnie Munro would leave and then Pete Wishart became an MP, but the band continued.

This week I spoke to original member Calum Macdonald about this fine timeline as this week comes a shared playback of a brand-new film called There Must Be A Place with 54 songs chronicling the history of the band.

He told me it was produced by the BAFTA winning Blazing Griffin company who also produced their concert film of the farewell show.

The Last Dance was an emotional concert with a Stirling Castle backdrop in 2018.

It was here that they celebrated with their best songs after an amazing musical career and even had former member Donnie Munro join them on stage for one last time.

More than 50,000 witnessed this cherished day and fans emotions were high for all of that final tour.

They had supported Rod Stewart in Scotland and The Rolling Stones in Germany and appeared live on Top Of The Pops with a bizarre billing, being told not to look Diana Ross in the eye and banging on the dressing room wall as Oasis ‘were making a racket’ next door.

In 1987 they supported U2 at Murrayfield and for the Highland Year Of Culture a decade later hosted a show on the banks of Loch Ness with 18,000 fans on the wettest day ever recorded.

Remaking Loch Lomond for Comic Relief with the Tartan Army became Top Ten in the UK in that year too.

This Saturday then, November 13, at 8pm will be a global online gathering to see their movie or the DVD and Blu-ray out now to order.