When THe World Stood Still - Elsa Jean McTaggart

Boilersuits, Beanies, and a Barrow! That’s what was waiting for this musical duo when lockdown hit!

From a Sunny Party-land in Gran Canaria to the cold, wet, windy Western Isles of Scotland, a musical story of survival as this Scottish couple found themselves with no option but to dive headlong into renovating their near-derelict cottage on the Isle of Lewis and finding their way through online live streaming, music and island life!

A truly mesmerising twinning of music and storytelling of how a global community was formed and came together to support each other through uncertain times, an album was composed, a book written, a DVD filmed. A tale interwoven with original compositions on fiddle, banjo, mandolin, penny whistles, and bouzouki and Accordion; One couples tuneful account of survival during Covid 19.

A Celtic fusion of Hebridean Melody celebrating life, sorrow, uncertainty, joy, and laughter.



This Lament birthed itself as we were packing up after a week of lockdown in Gran Canaria, for the mad dash home to the Isle of Lewis. I knew the tune was coming so had to unpack the fiddle again!, but was able to capture the whole tune on video …I haven’t tried to play it since!. John Truesdale unbeknownst to me, then took the footage, mastered the violin and added the atmospheric backing, and sent it back to me!

We knew we had to come up with some nice footage to do justice to all his generous work…so here it is! Too many nights I have sat in the workshop making jewellery and learning songs…knowing I had to take a leap of faith and get out there and do it!… so with husband Mr Lister : video tech for the evening..and another beautiful sunset taunting me…we headed out the back of the house to the moor! All credit to our God for providing the world we live in and the incredible backdrop for this Melody

A short Preview of our new Album Launch #WhentheWorldStoodStill at the Edinburgh Fringe Fest 2021.

We will be taking this new show on the road to promote and introduce our new Album, 21 original tunes written on the Isle of Lewis over the summer of 2020 with a rich story behind every note! ‘

Heavily laden with instruments, stories, new tunes, and possibly even a barrow from the Isle of Lewis. From lockdown in the Canary Islands to their near-derelict cottage on the Scottish Isle and how they survived.

Elsa and Gary perform these Haunting Celtic melodies, Stunning Scottish Airs, Jigs, Reels, waltzes, and hornpipes…not to mention the Stomp n’ Wiggle!


  1. When the World Stood Still
  2. The Big Atlantic – Charles Duguid
  3. Fiddlers Bay – Donna Mackenzie
  4. Ellie Lilla’s Lullaby – Anne Edwards
  5. Longing For Scotland – Anette Baggieri
  6. Nature’s Love Song – Patti Clifford
  7. Ghillie Dhu – Patricia Rushmore
  8. Neilachans Reel -Shelagh Campbell
  9. Dalmore – Colin Ogilvie
  10. Sunshine Girl -Alissa Kirkland
  11. Inspiration – Elaine Clark
  12. Norman Brown’s Farewell to his 50’s – Mairi Brown
  13. Gratitude, Forever Together, Fidhlear Nighean Ruagh
  14. Nesting in the Scottish Isles – Tom Coll
  15. Goodbye to Scotland – Dee Akers Prins
  16. E.R.F.O – Charles Duguid
  17. Big Skies Over Lewis – Linda Marshall
  18. My Mate Jim – Malcolm Straker
  19. Tullibardine Handfest – Jamie and Chloe

All music composed, performed, arranged, and recorded by Elsa McTaggart and her marvellous Mr Lister… Thanks go to all our sponsors and supporters.

So..the DVD! This is similar to our Album launch Concert, in that we introduce, present, and perform live each of the 21 tunes on the Album ‘When the World Stood Still’.

What makes this DVD extra special is that we performed it in front of a green screen and so were able then to put video footage of our travels around the Isle of Lewis, the beaches, towns, and viewpoints so we kind of take you on a scenic road trip around the island at the same time.

It’s the first time we have ever attempted anything like this, using a green screen so enjoy and just think what we will achieve on our next attempt!

Elsa on lead instruments, Gary accompanying on Piano, bass, and keyboards.

When the World Stood Still Book by Elsa Jean McTaggart.

‘When the World Stood Still’ is our first ever ‘Table Book’ and is packed full of stunning pictures of the Isle of Lewis. It also includes 20 manuscript tunes written over the 2020 lock-down period on the Western Isles. This book tells a tale, of the plight of two musicians as they saw their music career disappear overnight and how a whole community from across the globe, rose up around them online and an Album was born!

A perfect stand-alone gift for anyone who enjoys a good story, music, or beautiful pictures of the island. Purchase it along with the album to sit and be serenaded, as you listen to each composition and read the story behind it, a truly unique experience.

This high-quality book is in A4 landscape format and consists of 25/50 pages of music, photography, and story.


Band manager, musical counterpart and husband Gary Lister wheels his wife, multiinstrumentalist Elsa McTaggart into the space and onto the stage via their weathered wheelbarrow, where she will lead a delightful morning of stories and original songs about how music, quite literally, can make a home.

Married duo Elsa and Gary had been playing the winter season in Gran Canaria when COVID hit, forcing them to halt their tour and return to their only permanent residence, “barely glampable” cottage on the Isle of Lewis. They had planned to take their time in
transforming the diamond-in-the-rough abode, but the pandemic forced them into boiler suits, beanies, and quite a bit of mud, actually, to make it liveable. 21 songs composed in the span of 3 months, sponsored by patrons from around the world, funded their
renovation, and When the World Stood Still tells that tuneful story.

Through fiddle, banjo, bouzouki, mandolin, penny whistle, and accordion, traditional music troubadour Elsa McTaggart, with Gary Lister as keyboard and accordion support, performs numbers that range from the playful to the poignant. Compositions came to Elsa through requests from her patrons, inspirations that stem from stories of an Alabama lass whose grandmother calls her the “Sunshine Girl”, of a ginger-haired daughter learning to play the violin, of a sister who has passed on but lives forever in heart, of a handfasting for a couple whose nuptials have been delayed by the virus.

Elsa McTaggart presents When the W orld Stood Still, Amongst snippets of sunshine, nights outside sitting round the fire, and moments lounging in the wheelbarrow in between building works, McTaggart composed across her many instruments, bringing the world together during lockdown in a small yet significant way, while she and Gary built a home, literally and figuratively, around this musical journey resulting in a new album, accompanying book and film. This performance is billed as a “Celtic fusion of Hebridean melody celebrating life, sorrow, uncertainty, joy and laughter,” and it delivers on that promise; it is a tonic for those that yearned for and
cherished Scotland during this time of isolation.

Submitted by Erin Roche on Sun, 8 Aug ’21 3.33pm

theSpace @
Symposium Hall, Review

What do two professional musicians do when Covid 19 lockdown starts and they watch everywhere closing down around them, including all the venues that they were booked to play for months ahead? Add into that the problem of somehow making your way home to the Isle of Lewis where you have a house you purchased a few years ago that is basically a shell of walls that needs pretty much everything done to it to make it habitable. Panic is one word that comes to mind, and I am sure that Elsa Jean McTaggart and her husband Gary did that, but they also did something else, find through their music new ways of communicating via social media with their audience who, like them, could no longer get out to venues.

As the months turned to over a year, and then some, Elsa and Gary not only renovated their home (well re-built it from the ground up), but Elsa began a daily series of Scottish tunes, twice-weekly live-streamed concerts, and a new album written and recorded. That 19 track instrumental album “When The World Stood Still” was created with the innovative approach of letting people sponsor a piece of music to be written not only to their requirements but on the instrument of their choice. This show of the same name is not only multi-instrumentalist Elsa Jean McTaggart playing a selection of music from the album but also telling her story and the stories behind these songs.

I have to admit to being a fan of Elsa’s as I was just captivated by her voice the first time I heard her sing at the Edinburgh Fringe some years ago, and this multi-instrumental show without any song vocals is perhaps the oddest and riskiest show that I have seen Elsa bring to the Edinburgh Fringe stage. Of course, like every other show of Elsa’s that I have reviewed it works well, and only someone with that instant likability and connection with an audience that Elsa has could pull this show off. Tell me of any other vocalist/instrumentalist that could get away with being dressed in a red boiler suit whilst playing banjo standing in a wheelbarrow?

During the making of this album, Elsa also made a photographic record of the outstanding scenery on Lewis that inspired much of this music and that is also available as a companion book to the CD.

I mentioned the amazing singing voice of Elsa Jean McTaggart earlier in this review, and sadly that is not to be heard in this show, but you can experience that at her other Fringe show, based on a love of the songs and music of Eva Cassidy. The show is called, not surprisingly, Eva Cassidy and Me.

Elsa Jean McTaggart is one of the constant stars of the Edinburgh Fringe for some very simple reasons – huge talent and the fact that Elsa enjoys being with her audience every bit as much as they enjoy being with her.

Review by Tom King (c) 2021

5 star review

Video Review

[When the World Stood Still Review]

Elsa McTaggart 4**** Sinners Review (Ed Fringe 2021 Vlog Day 4 Pt1)

For more information and availability contact Gary Lister 07890074307 or garydavidlister@hotmail.com

Eva Cassidy THe Story with Elsa Jean McTaggart
Eva Cassidy and Me Elsa Jean Mctaggart Show
Hebridean Fire Band with Elsa Jean McTaggart