Johnny Scoular hails from the village of Lochaline in the Morvern peninsula. His earliest musical experience was listening to his Grandfather playing the pipes at concerts in the village hall. This prompted him to take chanter lessons from the headmaster of the primary school, Duncan MacLean. Unfortunately, Action Men, football, cremola foam and ‘The Man from Uncle’ got in the way of his practicing and it was not until he was 18 years of age that he returned to music.
Thanks to the rudiments he picked up from the chanter, he learned a few tunes on the tin whistle, and after being taught a few guitar chords by his good friend and brother in law Duncan MacGillivray, Highland Echo was born!
Highland Echo were given a regular slot locally at The Barn Bar in Lerags, and after this the open road beckoned. On many a weekend the boys would head off from their work base in Oban to the likes of Mull, Arisaig, Barra and Fergie’s Clan Ranald Hotel in Moidart. All modes of transport were used and the last minute lugging of gear up the gangway in Oban after ‘just one more’ in the Claredon was a regular occurrence!
Johnny married in 1984 and settled back home in LA (Lochaline) but would often travel back down the A82 to gig with Campbell and keep the music going.
Events turned a full circle in 2005 when Johnny changed his job and moved to Glasgow along with his wife Teen and daughter Claire. This move also made getting to Gunna Sound gigs in the Park Bar and Islay Inn an awful lot easier!
‘Rollin’ on the Sea’ neatly summarises a number of the tunes and songs which have been ever present on Johnny’s musical journey.
Campbell Brown was born and brought up on the beautiful island of Tiree, in the Inner Hebrides. He was brought up in a musical household, where Gaelic singing was predominantly the form of entertainment. His brother, Lachie, happened to bring home an accordion after a trip working away. Campbell promised himself that he would learn the accordion from that point, and given that his pal Neil MacLean (Neil the Butcher) was learning it, he wasn’t going to be outdone and so picked it up at every opportunity. This of course was very much to his mother’s chagrin, who wanted him to get on with the chores around the croft – carting the byre and milking the cows! It was all too often heard “Campbell, bheil thu deiseil?” (Campbell, are you ready?) to which the reply would come, “aye Mam, in a minute, when I’ve finished playing this tune!”.
Campbell taught himself to play the right hand (keyboard) of the box and took the accordion to school as part of his hobbies classes where Gordon Connel wrote the bass notes for the tune that he was learning That, as they say, was the beginning of something bigger!
Any chance he could get, Campbell would go along to the local dances (although he was too young to get in), to listen to the local band, led by Murray Omand and hear their tunes, memorise them and go home and practice them.
After leaving school, he moved to Tarbert, Loch Fyne and got some lessons from Fraser McGlynn and after that, moved to Glasgow and frequented the Park Bar, as many highland boys did, and managed to get a few tunes with the likes of Jim MacRae, Lex Keith and others. Then Terry Ferguson, the then Manager of the Park Bar, offered him a gig or two, accompanying Donald MacRae, Islay MacTaggart and many other stalwarts of The Park, which undoubtedly gave him a great grounding and massive range of music to learn and play.
Through his wife Janet, Campbell rekindled a friendship with Johnny Scoular and Duncan MacGillivray and they teamed up to play at Glasgow University Ossianic Society dances and other funcitions in and around Glasgow. From that time, Campbell & Johnny played occasionally together and then teamed up to form Gunna Sound in 1995. As they say, the rest is history!