Elsa McTaggart: When The World Stood Still

TheSpace Garden Theatre

Elsa and Gary McTaggart hadn’t lived in their Lewis home for a while, choosing the nomadic gig life in a van. But when the pandemic hit, they were forced to leave Gran Canaria and earn a living in lockdown. Easier said than done in a dilapidated house on a windswept island, with new streaming and recording technology to learn.

It was such a productive time that a whole album, book and DVD emerged, not to mention a brand-new Facebook streaming community. At least one of these new fans was not only present at the show, but had previously travelled to Lewis to see the duo.

There’s an easy-going, humorous chemistry with the audience, who were soon clapping and stomping along to a wonderful selection of pieces and listening to tales of house renovation woe. Much of the music was requested by, or dedicated to, local community members, such as the Stomp And Wiggle for a friend’s grandchildren, or a stirring handfasting song performed on ‘Beanie Bouzouki’.

My personal highlight had to be Elsa’s banjo-playing in a wheelbarrow, which was so rousing it even got a theatre troupe outside the venue dancing in the street!

If you’ve been missing a live music fix and you’re looking for an uplifting, life-affirming hour of traditional tunes and community solidarity, When The World Stood Still fits the bill perfectly.


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