What a great way to spend a wet afternoon… sitting chatting with two great fiddlers Erlend Voy and Callum Allan of the Clutha. Formed in the early 1960s the Clutha folk group was noted its sensitive delivery of Scottish songs, including the big ballads, and was the first to employ a fiddle (actually two) as well as concertina and, later, the small pipes. I left with lost of information and memories which will find a place here in due course.
An important part of the fiddle revival was the rediscovery and exploration of important seams of repertory which was either overlooked or awaiting exploitation. This was particularly true of the compositions of Scottish born Tyneside fiddler James Hill whose tunes were popular with all fiddlers and concertina players in the 1970s and 80s. Much work has been done by historian and piper Graham Dixon in compiling a definitive collection of Hill’s tunes and putting his life into context. I was delighted to meet Graham yesterday and to hear of the republication (with an excellent CD) of his Hill book The Lads Like Beer. It is s super production that I strongly recommend.
After a dash from Edinburgh to Glasgow I joined the Whistlebinkies for their concert at Kilmardinny Music Society, Bearsden. Fellow fiddler Alastair Savage premiered his new St Andrew’s Lament written in response to the tragic Clutha Vaults disaster. What a lovely piece.
Early this evening I made a modest musical contribution to a reception to launch the publication of a festscrift for Margaret Mackay. Kath Campbell, Gary West and myself played s set of tunes composed for Maggie by Kath, some pipe marches and tunes from the Eliza Ross (Lady D’Oyly) manuscript, one of the great unexploited great treasures of Scottish traditional music. It was great to meet so many old friends including my former academic mentor Dr Peter Cooke who shared his memories from field work with fiddlers in the 1970s. Then it was off to Glasgow…