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Donnie Munro


Donnie Munro (Biography courtesy of the Artist's site, 2005).

Lets start at the beginning. Donnie Munro was born on the 2nd August 1953 ay Uig on the Isle of Skye. He was brought up with his parents in Portree as well as spending time on his grandparents croft. During his days at primary school he came into contact with a wee boy called Calum Macdonald. Althought it was not known at the time, their paths would cross later in life in a major way.

Donnie went to the Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen, before moving on to the Moray House in Edinburgh where he attended a post-graduate teaching course. Donnie would return home to the Isle of Skye on his holidays and it was on one such occassion that he went along to see a local band called Run-Rig. The band included his old pal from primary school Calum Macdonald. Their friendship grew and about a year after this meeting Calum and his brother Rory asked Donnie if he would like to become the singer for Run-Rig. That was the start of a long and successful career with the band for Donnie. He taught art at Inverness Academy, Leith Academy and Tynecastle High School (Edinburgh) before Runrig became a full-time occupation in the early 1980s.

In 1982 Runrig as they were now known turned professional. Donnie and the band became one of Scotland's most popular acts. During the height of their success Runrig albums would outsell all other artists in Scotland - yes they were in Scotland bigger than anyone else.

He was elected as Rector of Edinburgh University in 1991, where he was very much respected by all and took his duties as rector very seriously. 1991 also saw the band perform to a huge audience on the banks of Loch Lomond at Balloch Castle. It seemed castles and Runrig just went together. The band also undertook a huge tour of both Europe and also Scotland including taking the full live performances to the Western Isles. As they said in the video "Wheel in Motion" - "We did not want people in Lewis or similar to see a cut-down version of the show". That summed up Runrig - always putting their fans first whenever they could.

During his life Donnie had always been a supporter of the Labour Party in Scotland, and after the untimely death of Labour Party Leader John Smith, he made up his mind to stand for the UK Parliament.

Donnie has presented many radio shows over the years including a spell at "Scot FM" as well as in more recent years spells at the BBC's Radio Scotland. During 1995 speculation was rife about Donnie leaving Runrig to pursue his political career, but it took until May 1997 for any official word. His last album with Runrig was the Mara allbum. So in 1997 with the UK general Election looming, Donnie made one of the hardest decisions of his life and left Runrig to stand for the Parliamentary seat of Ross, Skye and Inverness West. But the fans were not prepared to let Donnie slip quietly away and the highlight of his final year with the Band was to be what ended up as 3 concerts at Stirling Castle. Anyone who was either there or has watched the video will know that for everyone it was to be a very emotional few concerts.

Unfortunately the Parliamentary seat Donnie pursued went in the end to the Liberal Democrat Leader Charles Kennedy, but not without Donnie running him very close to the end.

Luckily for all us fans, in 1999 Donnie couldn't keep away from the recording studio and with help from Chris Harley, they recorded what turned out to be his first solo album "On the West Side" which was released in 2000. Donnie got a band together and they went off and played live again to the fans long starved of that unique voice Donnie has. The band recorded two live performances at Portree and Ayr, and used the material to release the second album from Donnie Munro - simply called "Donnie Munro".

More tours in Scotland and Europe followed over the years, as did a further batch of Albums. In "Gaelic Heart" he went on to create an album he had long wanted to do. It was the chance for Donnie to perform some of his most favourite gaelic songs. Another Studio Album followed at the start of 2003 which was called "Acroos the City and the World". In 2004 we got the release of Donnie's first DVD "Fields of the Young" as well as another album bearing the same name. (Full reviews of Donnies solo work can be found elsewhere on this website).

Donnie released a single to backup the Scottish Rugby teams World Cup hopes in 2003 which was entitled "Down Under". In 2004 Donnie also performed the old Scottish favourite "Flower of Scotland" in front of the football Fans at the Scotland-Norway World Cup match in October. We hope to see it released as a single.

Also in 2003 we saw Donnie undertake a charity walk in the Himalayas for the Highland Society for Blind People, for whom Donnie is the President. Donnie also presented an evening radio show on Radio Scotland for a few weeks while the normal presenter was on holiday.

We eagerly await the release of the next studio album from Donnie Munro sometime in 2005, and we have also been promised another live album maybe at some stage. Of course Donnie also continues with his position as Development Director for the gaelic-language college Sabhal Mor Ostaig on Skye.

You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.




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