Scotland’s first ever collaborative folk single has been recorded and released to mark the centenary of World War I’s Battle of Festubert with all proceeds going to Scotland’s veterans’ charity Erskine.
‘Our Heroes’, written by musician Gary Innes of Scottish folk rock band Mànran, is released for download on Monday 18th May with all funds being donated towards caring for veterans in Erskine’s five care homes in Scotland.
The single features the very best of Scottish musicians including members of Mànran, Treacherous Orchestra, Skerryvore, Rura and the Red Hot Chilli Pipers alongside Phil Cunningham, Julie Fowlis, Duncan Chisholm, Scott Wood and Siobhan Miller. **
The track even includes a cameo appearance from Gary’s dad, Hughie Innes, who was the man who first inspired Gary to pick up the accordion.
The arrangement includes an array of musical instruments, vocals and the unsurpassable voice of Iain Anderson who is heard reciting selected passages from a World War I poem written by Sir Owen Seaman.
The great highland bagpipes can be heard throughout but it is one particular set that are at the very heart of why this single has come to fruition.
Award winning piper Duncan MacGillivray plays on a set of World War I bagpipes that belonged to fallen relative, Lance Corporal Donald Paterson of the 4th Cameron Highlanders. The charity single will be released exactly 100 years to the day that 23 year old Donald fell, alongside 17,000 allied soldiers at the Battle of Festubert – part of the second Battle of Artois.
His pipes were used to rally troops as they went over the top into battle and after his death were sent home to his family. They were rediscovered in 1975 with the blood stains of their owner still visible on the bag.
Gary Innes who originally came up with the idea to create the charity single, said: “I originally wrote ‘Our Heroes’ a couple of years ago to commemorate the war, performing it as part of a show called ‘Shinty’s Heroes’.
“I felt it was really important to remember the fallen at Festubert 100 years on. So many Highlanders lost their lives in this 10 day battle and coming from the Highlands myself I wanted to mark the anniversary in some way. It was then I thought about recording ‘Our Heroes’ and donating the money to supporting Scottish veterans. Erskine was the obvious choice as they are so well known in Scotland and support veterans from all services.”
Gary from Spean Bridge continued: “It has been great craic from start to finish and I want to say a big thank you to everyone involved with the recording, mixing and mastering who happily gave their time for free. Now we just hope people enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed making it.”
Erskine community fundraiser David McFadden said: “We are delighted that ‘Our Heroes’ not only commemorates a significant WW1 anniversary but will directly benefit our veterans. We want to say a huge thank you to Gary and all the musicians involved for their invaluable support.”
For your copy of ‘Our Heroes’ log onto https://itun.es/gb/o9Vi7 or any downloadable music site that you have an account with.