The Dark Island

  1. Tosh Marshall
    Tosh Marshall
    Inspired by Dave Hansen and John Kelly's vids, I started messing around with Windows Movie Maker and have made this vid with pics from my frequent visits to Dover, Kent.

  2. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Tosh, great tune, great playing, and great video! Do you have a link to notation or abc for this tune?
  3. Tosh Marshall
    Tosh Marshall
    Sorry Barbara, I should have put the abc for it. It's originally the theme tune for an early 1960's BBC TV series called 'The Dark Island' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dark_Island which the Beeb sadly wiped (as they did with a lot of 1960's stuff, so a lot of recorded history down the pan!). It was composed by Ian Machlachan, whom I know little of.
    I was going through a triplet phase when I did this and so my version is full of triplets but the sane version is Nigel Gatherer's:-

    X:83
    T:Dark Island
    C:Ian Maclachlan
    S:Various records
    Z:Nigel Gatherer
    R:Air
    M:3/4
    L:1/8
    K:Dmix
    E|A3 E A2|G3 A G2|E3 D C2|D4 GA|
    B3 A G2|B d3 D2|B3 d B2|A4 DE|
    A3 E A2|G3 A G2|E3 D C2|D4 GA|
    B3 DdB|A3 DBA|G6|G4|]
    Bc|d3 D D2|B3 A G2|E C3 E2|D4 GA|
    B3 A G2|B d3 D2|B3 d B2|A4 DE|
    A3 E A2|G3 A G2|E3 D C2|D4 GA|
    B3 DdB|A3 DBA|G6|G4|]

    And my triplet version:-

    X:1
    T:Dark Island
    C:Ian Maclachlan
    S:Theme from the BBC TV Series 'The Dark Island' 1962
    Z:Arranged by Tosh Marshall
    R:Air
    M:3/4
    L:1/8
    K:Dmix
    (3CDE |: "Bm"A3 E A2 | "A"G3 A G2 | "D"E3 D C2 | "A"D4 (3FGA | B3 A G2 |
    "A"B d3 D2 | B3 d B2 | "E"A4 (3CDE | "Bm"A3 E A2 | "A"G3 A G2 | "D"E3 D C2 |
    "A"D4 (3FGA | B3 D (3dcB | "E"A3 D (3cBA | "D"G6 | "A"G4 (3ABc | d3 D D2 |
    "A"(3cBA (3BAG (3AGF | "D"E C3 E2 | "A"D4 (3FGA | B3 A G2 | B d3 D2 | B3 d B2 |
    "E"A4 (3CDE | "Bm"A3 E A2 | "A"G3 A G2 | "D"E3 D C2 |
    "A"D4 (3FGA | B3 D (3dcB | "E"A3 D (3cBA | "D"G6 |1 "A"G4 (3CDE :|2 "A"G6 ||
  4. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Good one Tosh - what is all this dark island myth? I remember Dark Island to be an Orcadian beer, there's a Black Isle edition of Dalmore single malt...
  5. Tosh Marshall
    Tosh Marshall
    Ah the demon drink, I think we need to consult a Scotsman on this one!!!!! It's sad the beeb wiped it as I would love to have seen it (I did send them a tongue-in-cheek email saying as a licence payer they owe me a remake......naturally I didn't get a reply!!!!!) The old ones were the best ones........
  6. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Interesting rendering of the tune here, Tosh. The triplet runs certainly change it quite a bit.
    As one of your resident Scots I remember vaguely the series and seem to recall it was about some secret governmental establishment on a remote Scottish island - a bit like the real-life anthrax pollution introduced by the MOD in 1942 on Gruinard Island up in the north-west of Scotland. They introduced anthrax on to the island as part of their germ-warfare research and exposed a flock of about 60 sheep to the disease: they died! The island was quarantined for 48 years then a company was paid half a million pounds to decontaminate it in 1986. Scotland has always had its uses for the powers that be!
  7. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    Here's what I came up with. Found abc on thesession.org, and used it, and your video to come up with this version. I'm playing my Collings MT2O mandolin, and also playing melody and rhythm on my new Petersen tenor guitar.

  8. Tosh Marshall
    Tosh Marshall
    Great stuff Barbara and I really love your new Petersen Tenor Guitar, great sound.....
    I found a couple of interesting clips on Youtube, the first is sung in Gaelic from 1965:-



    And the second is played on the harp:-



    There are more clips featuring pipes on Youtube......
  9. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    I have researched a bit - so the facts are

    - the tune is from a six-part BBC series about a secret espionage plot on one of the Hebridean islands, involving a mysterious piece of sheet music (!)
    - it is not mentioned what the actual end of the plot was
    - no footage from the series is known to have survived (probably all destroyed in the 70s)

    In other words, all we know about this tune is LOST...

    If I put this jigsaw together properly, thesession.org is really a secret government programme to research traditional celtic music for making a strategic weapon

    They never got over Johnny Cope having run from the sound of highland pipes
  10. Tosh Marshall
    Tosh Marshall
    John, I always get that island mixed up with St Kilda, which is the island where everyone was taken off because it was too tough to live there. I just looked up Gruinard Island on Wiki and it's cleaned up now. I'm shocked by it's close proximity to the mainland....a bit reckless if you ask me.
    Bertram, it's based on Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides, and it's from these islands that gives rise to a secret weapon and she goes by the name of Fowlis! Can't understand a word she's singing about! Great stuff though.....
    The BBC have some answering to do wiping something like that! Maybe we should bombard them with recordings of the Dark Island!!!!!! But I don't think they'd listen anyway!
  11. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Once again the tune is the stimulus for all the chat and the history becomes interwoven. Isn't this group just great fun? Not only do we get to play, but we get all sorts of interesting info and feedback from our fellow posters.

    Inspired by all the versions offered here, here is my arrangement played on my octave mandolin with Lowden guitar backing and a bit of added midi whistle - I cannot play the real whistle.

  12. Tosh Marshall
    Tosh Marshall
    John, you're Scottish, so this is the real McCoy!!!!!
  13. OldSausage
    OldSausage
    Aye, nane but a Scotsman can blow those bonny midi pipes, the noo. Great arrangement John.
  14. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    The OM sounds outstandingly beautiful on your video John, it has got that woody serenity I like so much.
  15. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    I like to print out the notation for tunes that I've learned here, and keep a 3 ring binder with the tunes in it. Tosh, I printed out your version, as it was closest to how I ended up playing it. I do that by copying the ABC and pasting it into www.concertina.net's abc converter, then printing out the high resolution PDF. Anyway, I like how you included the chords, BUT.... aren't they in the wrong key? I know I came up with a slightly different sound than yours, but I can't play those chords along with your video.... I come up with chords starting with Aminor and ending on G, your ABC has it starting with Bminor and ending on A.
  16. Tosh Marshall
    Tosh Marshall
    Yeah you are right Barbara, because I think the version I did originally came from one of Christine Martins 'Coel Na Fidhle Vol One' and is the one we do with our group and when I did the abc I used the chords from a Merlin Session Book! That's what happens when you have different versions of sheet music! By the way if you use ABCExplorer you can print to pdf and no need to use the converter at concertina, but it's a great resource and useful to have........

    Try this:-
    X:1
    T:Dark Island
    C:Ian Maclachlan
    S:Theme from the BBC TV Series 'The Dark Island' 1962
    Z:Arranged by Tosh Marshall
    R:Air
    M:3/4
    L:1/8
    K:G
    (3CDE |: "Am"A3 E A2 | "Em"G3 A G2 | "C"E3 D C2 | "G"D4 (3FGA | B3 A G2 |
    "Em"B d3 D2 | "G"B3 d B2 | "D"A4 (3CDE | "Am"A3 E A2 | "Em"G3 A G2 | "C"E3 D C2 |
    "G"D4 (3FGA | B3 D (3dcB | "D7"A3 D (3cBA | "G"G6 | "G"G4 (3ABc | d3 D D2 |
    "G"(3cBA (3BAG (3AGF | "C"E C3 E2 | "G"D4 (3FGA | B3 A G2 | "Em"B d3 D2 | "G"B3 dB2 |
    "D"A4 (3CDE | "Am"A3 E A2 | "Em"G3 A G2 | "C"E3 D C2 |
    "G"D4 (3FGA | B3 D (3dcB | "D7"A3 D (3cBA | "G"G6 |1 "G"G4 (3CDE :|2 "G"G6 ||
  17. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    I learned this tune from Brian McNeill and recorded this version 12 years ago. Warning this video contains no mando family instruments. If I get inspired this weekend I'll try to record a mando version. The photos are from the Scottish island of Jura.

  18. Tosh Marshall
    Tosh Marshall
    Fantastic version David, it doesn't matter that there is no mando because you can play along to it!!!!! Great pictures of Scotland too, I have only been once and that was to watch Rangers v Celtic (absolutely mental! I've seen United v Liverpool but this one takes the biscuit for animosity!). I think I'll have to have a week up in Scotland at some point......
  19. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Interesting arrangement here, David. Liked the transition in lead instrument which came in about 1:56 - the flute carries the melody well and has the "live" quality That my midi whistle cannot recreate, though midi has that strange "humanise" function which I do not use. Good blend of visual and audio once again.
  20. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    David, I have no words. Nice pics of Jura, as far as I could see them blurred by drops of water...

    Following your video, YouTube suggests another interesting version by Jane Espie (Warning: knee content!) showing a warrior's lung power. Somehow, gals in a fileadh beag tend to ignore the rest of the dress code.
  21. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    I like this tune -- I've been playing the Nigel Gatherer version on mandolin every now and then for a few years. This is a clip I've just made to see how it works on my resonator tenor guitar. The additional sustain helps letting the harmonies ring out on the open strings underneath the melody notes, I think.



    Martin
  22. Tosh Marshall
    Tosh Marshall
    Well played Martin and that's a funky looking Tenor Guitar you have there. Is it me or are Tenor Guitars 'In Vogue'? They certainly seem to add something to the tunes around here.....
  23. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Just sat down with the Ajr to record a mandolin version of Dark Island, to go with my tenor guitar one from a few months ago.



    Martin
  24. crisscross
    crisscross
    I forgot how I got aware of this tune, but it was fun to play.
    Nice versions, almost ten years ago...
  25. Robert Balch
    Robert Balch
    What a great tune crisscross. You played it very well too.
  26. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Hard to believe it is almost ten years since this tune was posted here for the first time. Thanks for reviving it with your fine version here, Christian. It is still a regular at our Thursday evening sessions here, more often than not played as a Scottish waltz!
  27. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    That's a much more free and innocent version, Christian, not hinting at any of the sinister background stories we unearthed nine years ago. And John, I think a waltz is exactly what it is.
  28. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Not sure now if this is the BBC series in the above discussion...
    For some reason this link jumps to episode 3, very strange.

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