A group of unorthodox musicians from the far north of Scotland are due to arrive in Greece in the next few days after an epic musical journey carried out in a specially prepared campervan.
Highland music promoter and musician, Rob Ellen, is due to arrive in Thessolonika some time this week in time for the WOMEX music convention at which he will talk about DIY music. It is a subject he is highly qualified to talk about and alongside him in the campervan will be fellow member of the Slim Panatellas, Don Jack, and Inverness guitarist Hamish Roberts. The musical adventurers have played to audiences throughout Europe on their way to Thessalonika who have been treated to renditions courtesy of their highly unusual instruments.
The country blues sound of the aptly, but somewhat tongue in cheek, named Slim Panatellas is created by Rob’s Tea Chest Bass and Don’s Cigar Box guitar, and their music and demonstration of DIY music and manufacture of instruments have been a hit everywhere they have played. As has their trusty campervan.
Rob explained: “We had a dry run playing the Live At Troon festival last week and it went well. I think troubadours have travelled around instinctively playing for forever.
Don who gets requests to build cigar box guitars for people every time we play – and usually has them ready by the next gig – is building one of the special guitars for Hamish to play.”
The campervan that was given to Rob when he was planning the trip has certainly found a way into his affections and before he left he went on to say: “She didn’t have a lot of mileage as she had usually just gone on summer trips. But the poor girl landed with me and will be thoroughly tested on this trip. I’ve got campervan insurance for her, so she’ll get back whatever. For me it’s Greece or bust, but we’ve not worked out exactly how we’re getting home yet. I suppose it’s like Everest, you get to the top and then worry about getting down.”