Charity begins at home for songwriter

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A Lewis singer songwriter’s love of his native island has inspired a new single, which aims to raise money for a local charity.

‘Welcome Home’ by Willie Campbell is inspired by the Year of Homecoming and his own decision to return to his native Lewis after a decade of living in Glasgow.

It will be performed for the first time in public at the Hebridean Celtic Festival next month, having been written specifically for the event.

Campbell, a former member of pop outfit Astrid and Glasgow collective The Reindeer Section, will play the song at the festival with his current band the Open Day Rotation.

It will be released as a digital download single through SoundCloud and Bandcamp with all of the proceeds in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, the festival’s nominated charity.

He said: “I wanted to write a song specifically for our gig at HebCelt; something up-beat, with a chorus that people will hopefully remember, maybe even sing along to.

“The song derives partly from memories of being a ratbag teenager and partly thoughts that have developed over the years, about Lewis; its beauty, its atmosphere and its apparent strangeness to outsiders in some respects.

“It’s a unique place and I’ve been fortunate to have been born and brought up here. My perspective of it has changed dramatically since I’ve been back, ten years now. Without question the best move I’ve made was coming back to live here.”

Campbell, who released a new album of Gaelic songs in March in collaboration with folk singer Calum Martin, said he is delighted to help Macmillan for the work the charity does in Lewis.

“It does incredible work for patients and families. There are few families on the island who haven’t been affected by cancer and donating the proceeds to a charity associated with the festival seems fitting.”

Caroline Maclennan, the festival director, added: “Welcome Home is a great song and a very apt one for the festival during 2014. I’m sure it will resonate with our audience and hopefully it will also raise money for a very worthwhile cause.”

Isla Dewar, Area Fundraising Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in the North of Scotland, added: “Macmillan’s Isle of Lewis Fundraising Committee and I are very grateful for Willie’s most generous donation and the ongoing support of HebCelt. It’s a superb track and I look forward to downloading my own copy.

“The money it raises will help us continue to work towards ensuring no-one faces cancer alone.”

The award-winning HebCelt will run from 16-19 July in Stornoway and will be headlined by Levellers, Big Country and Donnie Munro.

Rachel Sermanni, Cara Dillon, Duncan Chisholm, Cajun band Magnolia Sisters, from the US, and Canadian outfit Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys will also be among nearly 40 acts featuring in the event’s biggest ever programme.

To download the song go to: