A TOP dance band – called Staffin Island – have opened the door to performing in Staffin.
The Staffin Island Ceilidh Band have admitted to never having set foot in the district or Skye, never mind the famous and well-photographed small island in Staffin Bay, which is only home to cattle, an old salmon bothy and birdlife.
The Taysiders said the inspiration for the band name came from a famous tune which beat off competition from Raasay.
Aidan Ferguson, a vocalist and guitarist in the band, which was only formed last year, said two heavyweight figures of the traditional music scene had prompted the island name.
“We are big fans of Ally Bain and Phil Cunningham, and in particular, at the time we were naming the band, our favourite tune was Cunningham’s “The Hut on Staffin Island”, he said.
“I always find myself compelled to look in to the background of the tunes that I learn, so I was soon researching Staffin and other small islands around Scotland.
“That’s the great thing about folk music I suppose: It gives you a bridge to finding out all sorts of other interesting parts of history and culture.
“Anyway, I was fascinated to find that apparently there was a tradition of a few brave crofters swimming with their cattle to take them between grazing grounds on Staffin.”
Aidan was referring to the well-publicised pilgrimage of Stenscholl crofter Iain MacDonald’s cattle.
Aidan added: “Another favourite tune we had around that time was “Calum’s Road”, a beautiful strathspey named after Calum MacLeod of Raasay, and the road he built by hand on the island.
“I listened to a BBC radio programme about Calum’s story and was really inspired by his character and his actions. So around that time we considered the name Sound of Raasay Ceilidh Band as a name aswell, but Staffin Island won out!”
The Staffin Island Ceilidh Band.
Aidan said the inhabitants of the City of Discovery frequently query their Staffin name and wonder if they are Sgitheanach exiles. “In Dundee, people are often curious as to how we came up with the name, and sometimes ask if we are from the island,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have any plans to visit Skye or Staffin Island right now but we’d love to if we ever got the opportunity.”
For more information on the band visit http://staffinislandceilidhband.co.uk/