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Lochs musician Alastair Caplin will lead sessions marking the impact of the pandemic.

An album of music and stories arising from island memories of the Covid pandemic will be produced as part of the Western Isles Covid Memorial.

It will follow a series of musical sessions which begin on Tuesday evening next week (December 5) and which bring together voices, instruments and memories, both positive and negative, from the pandemic.

Led by Lochs musician Alastair Caplin, the four sessions are open to musicians and non-musicians alike, with no pressure to perform if you would rather listen and watch. 

As well as the session itself, there will be a chance to collaborate on pieces destined for an album.

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Alastair Caplin has plied his trade in London and Glasgow for over 20 years, with The Langan Band, the Band Of Burns and numerous other projects. 

His writing and fiddle playing have appeared on numerous albums and film scores in all different genres, and he has performed his own work in venues including The Royal Albert Hall, Westminster Abbey, Shakespeare’s Globe, and The Barbican. 

Now living back in the island, he has partnered up with Macaulay College CIC to produce the Western Isles contribution for Remembering Together, a Scotland-wide project to create a Covid Memorial in each of the 32 council areas.

A poster for the Remembering Together project.

Remembering Together aims to provide a creative way of processing the loss and change that we have experienced over the last 2 years of the Covid-19 Pandemic. It also celebrates the ways in which resilient communities have come together during these difficult times.

Alistair said: “I’m really excited and honoured to be creating a new album of music as a part of Remembering Together: Na h-Eileanan Siar.

“We'll be running workshop ceilidhs over December for people to come and contribute their experiences, songs, and stories towards the project.”

The workshops are on Tuesday December 5 at An Lanntair in Stornoway, Thursday 7 at Tarbert Community Centre in Harris, Tuesday 12 at Grinneabhat in Bragar and Arnol, and Thursday 14 at Comunn Eachdraidh Nis in Ness. 

Join in at any time between 6.30pm and 8.30pm. Participation is free but tickets must be booked at https://www.rememberingtogether.org/ceilidhs

The Western Isles Covid Memorial is to be delivered in 2024 and will consist of a series of temporary sea and coastal sculptures and events, together with the new album, featuring musicians from around the islands. 

The first phase of Remembering Together, during 2022, asked island residents what they would like to see. Robbie Thomson was the lead artist for phase one and is continuing to lead the project during phase two, running until June 2024 and culminating in the creation of the memorial. 

The pictures show artist Alistair Caplin and the poster promoting next month’s events.