Contalmaison 2014

Hi folks,

I had a great time at the Keltic Festival Hohenlimburg 2014 with Scotch 4. Fantastic festival, expertly run by Rick Field and his team. Some good reviews for the band who now play a kind of mad mix of straight traditional and cosmic rock. Next band gigs are way off in September at Burg Nansten, Germany and then the Naturkunde Museum, Dortmund, Germany. Ed Westerdale, the band leader of Scotch 4, will be joining me in a rare gig with the inimitable Broom Bezums in Cologne.

In the coming month I have a couple of pub gigs after one in the culture centre, Schlachthof, Soest and then the more ‘relaxed’ (euphemism for Guinness) atmosphere of the nice wee Irish bar in Alsfeld Germany, run by a couple of good pals Dani and Uwe – and finally, a new British bar in Witten, Germany called The Black Pearl next to the bus station, which promises to be a great local venue. After that I expect to be immersed in watching the World Cup before driving down to France to perform at the remembrance ceremonies in Contlamaison, France. Again Ed will be joining in me on the fiddle and we expect to have a few surprise singers at the various evening events.

I have been singing the song, Hearts of Glory from our CD by the same name) for ten years and I was astounded when the musical director of The Lowland Band, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, approached me about making an arrangement for the band. The Lowland band will be performing Hearts of Glory as part of their Somme repertoire using it appropriately at all events at the Somme including, Theipval Memorial & Ulster Tower – pre service. Beating Retreat in Arras and at the wee village of Contalmaison. As if this that wasn’t enough The Lowland Band will be airing the tune at Edinburgh Castle on 14th June (For both the Gun Salute for Her Majesty’s Birthday followed by the start of the Queens Baton relay in Scotland) and the Edinburgh Garrison Church Service on 15th June.

It’s impossible to express my feelings about this. Two of my Great Uncles were killed in the Great War, You’ll find the name of Great Uncle David Low on the Arras Memorial – Bay 6 under Cameronians Scottish Rifles – private. He died on 7 June 1917 and never saw the birth of his son. He is listed as missing in action and has no known grave. David is on the left home on leave, having already been injured in 1915 while serving in the Royal Scots.

My other Great Uncle David Sandilands was in his teens when he left from a tenement in Tolcross, Edinburgh to join up. No grave, no record, no photograph; the youngest son in a family of fourteen brothers and sisters. He was simply another casualty in the Great War.

These men were always mentioned in family get-togethers and even now I correspond with my cousins about them. To think that a song written by me will played at the remembrance of these tragic events is simply astounding; in a strange way it is not really history to me. They sacrificed their lives and should never be forgotten.David Low