The Clutha Fiddlers

Clutha The Clutha on a Clyde steamer in the 1960s

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.

The Lads Like Beer

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.

Playing for Maggie

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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…

New Year fiddling in the land of Gow

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Family and friends decanted to Birnam for a ceilidh with the outstanding fiddle led Bella MacNab’s Dance Band. Dancing to fiddles is the real deal, particularly in the country of Niel Gow. Little wonder the event was a sell out.