Highlands of Scotland Concerts
James' Reflections of his Scotland tours
Highlands and Islands concert reflections.
There are few places in the world that live up to the ex patriots
idealism after having a chance to spend time in the country.
The United States is filled with people who are "Scottish", by God!
My love for Scotland is not from my heritage because my family has been in the United States since just before 1700 and we are true Americans (also known as Mutts.)
We have so many branches in the family tree that it is just not possible to say we are
from any one place.
So concertizing in Scotland does not reflect any predisposed family ideas about "the Old Country". It just stands alone. Even after touring South America, the South Pacific and
most of western Europe.
As is the case with all truly amazing places words are monochromatic when describing scenery of such magnitude. The 5000 year old stones are an experience that reverberate the awe of the Peru's Manchu Pichu and
the Anasazi Indian dwellings at Canyon de Chey in Arizona.
But the people of Scotland stand alone in their own rite. They are as fascinating as
the many wonders that their country holds and an equal enigma.
The Scots have the strongest of spirit and an inner peace that is kin to Soto Buddhism.
Educated yet not kept from the joy that the academics lose through study and Sinicism.
Did I find exceptions, there always are but they were just that, the exception.
My tour started on the Isle of Bute at the Bute music festival.
I was the only classical artist on the festival line up and before I arrived I sensed a slight apprehension (via e mail)
from the organizers of the festival about the repertoire diversity and audience reception.
That certainly disappeared when we all met at the artist welcome the night before my Show.
It was one of the best festivals I have ever played on and a rare thing to have a classical concert co sponsored by Miller Beer. My concert at Bute rocked and I was feeling
good as I drove the entire length of the Country to take a ferry to Stornoway the next day.
The thing that Americans forget with our six lane straight motorways is 100 miles
driving in Scotland requires the stamina of 500 miles driving in the United States.
You would think I would remember that from the last tour. Apparently I was in plain terms, a moron!
After the full day drive and the ferry ride to Orkney I was
what we would call in the states "road kill".
The next day's concert would prove that Scotland had rocked me.
I always review my concerts in my mind after I play and though my hands were
able to move in Orkney, my mind was still somewhere on the A 82.
The audience however was great they loved the music and were so fun loving that
when I nearly fell over after the first half of the concert I was greeted with smiles and
asked if I had been walking long?
Another difficulty for me was to realize that the entire German fleet was within diving distance (I am a passionate scuba diver) and I had a concert in Drumnadrochit with no time or energy to make the dive. On the return from the concert we did stop briefly at the wondrous stone circle and walked counter clockwise around them.
The stones origins themselves are a separate spiritual journey beckoning me to contemplate their meaning.
I had just no time to soak it in and no time to laugh with the people or stop at a vista.
I had another concert to play and now a new challenge extreme fatigue, the kind that makes you too tired to sleep and keeps building to a crecesendo.
Drumnadrochit was two days after the Orkney concert and the concert presenter (a beautiful charismatic woman who is a flurry of energy and grace) informed me that the concert would be reviewed.
(Not the words you want to hear after realizing that your brain has turned to mush).
And worse yet the reviewer is a real reviewer, very knowledgeable and honest.
The kind of reviewer artists respect, fear and pray that they play well for.
Ilea ecta est (the die is cast) another wonderful audience and then on to Oban.
Oban is a port that I love. The Macdonald castle on the edge of town in ruins is a spot that I love to climb to and contemplate this crazy lifestyle. Corran Halls was a fun show and I gave a guitar away in a drawing that I had shipped over from the United States.
The young man who won it was the guy who ran the sandwich stand outside the hall and an avid surfer and I told him if he ever gets to Los Angeles just call.
The staff at Corran halls is like a family that I had never met and again time was to short.
Obans Friday concert gave me Saturday to run to the Isle of Lewis but as the Island
Is essentially shut down (On Sunday) my arrival on Saturday night was a long drive to have the day off. An Lanntair (on Monday) was a beautiful setting and I soon learned why so many artists want to play there. The presenter Alex and her husband could not be any friendlier.
Taking a great deal of time with us to visit the Calanish stones and regaling me with stories of the stones and some of the quirky people who have performed at An Lanntair.
But from there it got crazy. The Ceilidh place, Tuesday (Ulaypool) with the Urquharts who are a national treasure to themselves. Jonathan is keen on bringing a US band "The Red Hot Chili Peppers" there and I will use all my Los Angeles media connections to make that dream come true someday. Then it was down to the beautiful Malaig on Tuesday
and a near death skid inches from an oncoming car towing a trailer and
then Wednesday was back to Inverness at the Beautiful Town Hall
Just before you enter is a plaque of their sister cities of Inverness Florida.
Which is 20 miles from the Venue that I just played while I am writing this.
I spent the day with Adrian Clark the Arts officer and watching the work that he was doing reminded me of the fast pace of life in New York City. He was moving at the speed of sound from the time I met him till we left his lovely home. He and his family were a delight. The town hall that I played in was truly stunning. A venue that made me feel under dressed and fortunate to perform have a few hours to soak in its beautiful stain glass and the coats of arms that were beautifully placed on the ceiling.
After Inverness I returned to Lochairlort and had a day down between concerts and time to visit my wonderful friends at the Inn and Jim Hunter who entered the pub with a burst of Flamenco from his Guitar. We had a delightful concert thanks to the remarkable work of
Eoghan Carmichael and the GCA's faithful audience which had people once again from
Glasgow and people who planned their trip from Canada to co inside with my concert.
What an awesome tour and a definite need for reflection of the events that happened and that will happen in the future. All I can say is that things are cooking in The Highlands
and that it is going to make a big splash back in the States in 04-05.
The kind that will be remembered for a long time via Lochairlort.
From Inverness and the solid work of Adrian Clark to Oban and An Lanntair ,which is a must see, that tour took me by surprise. Scotland's diverisity is haunting and I miss it every day.
The Highlands in July , some of the most wonderful people in the world!
This summer tour is growing so keep an eye out for additional concerts.
He would like to remind his listeners that beauty exists all around us and hopes we can see it everyday.
A Fun Classical Concert!
(It does Happen)
Classical Guitarist James Russell Hunley is taking his own path to the classical music scene - Humor!
2003,After playing literally hundreds of concerts he has decided to just relax . Sometimes the jokes or anecdotes come from previous events, like touring Oregon during hunting season, he told the audience other than the trees, the people with the guns makes me feel like I'm back in Los Angele. One recent critic commented -James Hunley demonstrated a combination of technical mastery and a sense of humor rarely encountered in his field-.
Hunleys recording, Lasting Impression has been featured on radio and television throughout the United States. His concert program will include selections from Lasting Impressions, the works of Albeniz, Lauro, and Barrios and, from his latest CD R.S.V.P. Which was released January 1998.
Music critics have described his playing as -exquisite, beautifully phrased, amazingly -subtle and incredibly sure-, and as -guitar de amore-. However, Hunley believes that the audiences emotional response is the most important feedback an artist can receive. "There nothing greater in life than to touch someones soul through your music".
Since the age of 13, classical guitar has dominated Hunleys life. As a teen he would begin practice at 4 AM before school and then return home to practice into the evening. He paid for lessons in an unusual way - by diving for golf balls.
Hunleys passion for guitar was not without its risks. For years his father would "curse at him for playing", not wanting him to make a career choice mistake that would ruin his life. Yet playing the instrument itself was such an extraordinary experience for the younger Hunley that he overcame criticism. Today his parents are some of his biggest fans.
Hunley, who resides in Los Angeles, California, divides his time between performing and producing. His television show, The Acoustic Experience, is still being aired in northern California, with 32 episodes of acoustic music, luthiers and guests. He is an advocate for de-mystifying classical music and believes in using film and video to visually communicate its internal dialogue.
He has served as executive producer for many classical music videos, including Pepe Romeros Recuerdos de la Alhambra. His own music video, La Catedral, went international via the Arts Channel on Satellite, Galaxy 1, and was also broadcast during prime time on News KNYC. Mr. Hunley recently produced Maestro Celedonio Romeros final recording Celedonio ROMERO, POET OF THE GUITAR.
James Hunley Is To Appear in Inverness, Bute and Oban and other venues.
Check back for more venues and dates.
He will be in Scotland in mid July through early August.
Oban( the launching point to Mull et. all) is amazing ,the concert is on Friday the 25th at Corran main Hall
Hawaii,100 ft below Captain Cooks Monument.
From an earlier tour in the United States, North Rim of the Grand Canyon (Arizona)
Classical Guitarist James Hunleys concert is On Monday the 29th of July. This is perfect end to a weekend spent on the Isle of Lewis after visiting this amazing site.
3000BC Area cultivated by cereal farmers
3000BC or(2200BC Ref 1) Heather grows over the cultivated ridges. The stone circle and the large monolith are erected around this time.
Heather once more grows over the site. A small stone crypt is placed in the middle of the stone circle. The crypt is added to, developing into a chambered cairn with many cremated bodies buried with broken pottery. (Broken pottery was a frequent theme of Stone Age burials. It may have been deliberately broken symbolising the passage into the Otherworld)
1550 BC (Ref 1) the three short stone rows are added to the circle and cairn
1500-1000 BC The chambered cairn was emptied and ploughing took place around the cairn. Later on a house was built in front of it
800 BC Peat started to grow around the site. When the last of it was removed in 1857 the peat was 1.5m deep
Alignments Ref 1
Callanish has two alignments of particular significance - the short rows, with the western row aligned towards the sunset at the vernal equinox, and the Pleiades rising in line with the ENE row at Beltane when the rows were constructed around 1550BC