From Scotland, Runrig play a mixture of folk-influenced gaelic rock and traditional ceilidh tunes. Half of the members are Gaelic speakers, and the band perform some haunting songs in their native tongue.
The Run-Rig dance band first performed in 1973 ar Glasgow's Kelvin Hall. The line-up consisted of Rory on Guitar, Calum on drums and Blair Douglas on Accordion. Donnie joined the following year to add vocal support.
Up until 1978 the band had been a part time/student occupation, and it was in that format that the debut album, Play Gaelic was recorded for the Scottish based Lismor Recordings. After that tentative step they felt that they should and could set up their own independent record company to allow them the freedom, both financially and creatively to record the more ambitious second album.
Most of their original material is written by brothers Calum and Rory MacDonald, who were brought up in the Western Isles of Scotland. They take much of their inspiration from traditional Gaelic music, but incorporating a uniquely modern flavour.
The brothers met up with Donnie Munro when they moved to the Isle of Skye, and found immediate empathy. For 25 years, Donnie sang with the band, but he has now left to follow a career in politics. His singing duties have been taken over by Canadian Bruce Guthro.
In 1982 they re-recorded "Loch Lomond" as their first single. This brought them to the attention of people outside the Highlands and Islands. They signed to a small label called Simple Records in 1984, who almost killed the band off; two singles were released. The first was "Dance Called America"; in the process of this being mixed, the master tape became damaged, appearing to make the record sound out of tune and this is most noticeable in the 12-inch version's outro.
The second single, "Skye", disappointed many fans, as the song was arranged in a way that did not meet the band's approval. A longer version of "Skye" appeared on the Alba Records compilation "A feast of Scottish Folk Music, Volume 1" along with an early version of "Lifeline", both of which were previously unreleased on albums, and "Na H-uain as T-Earrach" which was the B-side to "Dance Called America".
The band broke loose of Simple and returned to their Ridge Label. They engaged the services of producer Chris Harley (a.k.a. Christopher Rainbow) who brought to their recordings the benefit of his experience as a solo artist and a singer with The Alan Parsons Project. The springboard to a mainstream market came in the form of Heartland in 1985, a strong record welding Gaelic sounds with anthemic rock music, but inevitably marked by its times. The same can be said about Cutter and the Clan (1987), the band's first album on a major label, Chrysalis, though the album had previously been released by Ridge shortly before the band signed to Chrysalis.
Now the band started to come to prominence in England and the period from 198797 marks Runrig's most successful run, during which time they achieved placings in both the UK albums and singles charts and toured extensively.
Keyboard player Peter Wishart has also left the band, since his election to Parliament in June 2001. His duties are now taken by "new boy" Brian Hurren, who first accompanied the band on their tour during Peter's election. Peter will be keeping in touch with Runrig and will continue to offer support in any way he can.
In 2004 the band celebrated their 30th Anniversary playing in front of a crowd of over 8000 at beautiful setting Stirling Castle. The event is captured on the DVD and CDs - Day of Days.
Runrig are still as popular as ever and receive sell-out crowds everywhere in the world they play. Their busy tor schedule ensures that they will be playing at a venue near you in the not so distant future!
Current Band Members are:
Brian Hurren - Keyboards, vocals, guitars and drums
Rory MacDonald - Bass Guitar, Electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Bruce Guthro - Acoustic Guitar
Calum MacDonald - Drums
Iain Bayne - Sonor Delite Drums, Avedis Zyldjian Cymbals.
Malcolm Jones - Guitar
More informarion on Runrig