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raymy

Concertinas In Scottish Music

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I've just come across this topic (I only browse concertina.net occasionally) so, as an active Scottish concertina player, I must add my bit.

 

I've been playing Scottish traditional music on concertina for over 25 years, and have been active in traditional music over that period.

When I started there were a few older players around, and I have met a few who were not folk musicians.

 

Nowadays, I only meet other Scottish concertina players at occasional festivals.

Mostly, I meet and play with musicians playing other instruments - for me the important thing is the music, not the instrument.

 

I must agree that the concertina is not being taken up by younger players, who seem to prefer the fiddle or accordion.

 

Probably the accordion is preferred to concertina because it is bigger and more powerful, and provides its own accompaniment, especially nowadays when MIDI systems can turn an accordion into an electronic organ!

 

PS The tin whistle also has Scottish exponents, completely different in style from Irish players.

Listen to Alex Green of Aberdeen, included on the Topic recording "The Caledonian Companion".

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Hello all,

 

I don't think anyone on this topic has mentioned the publication in Concertina & Squeezebox (Vol. I, No. 4:20-23, 1983) of a number of tunes collected and transcribed by Rick Ulman from the fiddle and anglo player Searus McDairmid. I don't know Rick, or if he reads and/or posts here, but possibly he could tell us more about the musician and the tunes. He writes that they were collected in "Wormit, in the Fife (County) Scotland, and in Newport-on-Tay" in 1962-66.

 

The complete run of C&S is available from Geo Salley, the publisher, on disc (search this site for address).

 

Paul

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.....currently very few convertina players......

Just an aside.

 

I know it was only a typo but "convertina" what a magic word to describe new fans of the 'tina. Perhaps there was something Freudian about it being used in the first place. B)

 

"Convertina" - Makes the hobby sound almost like a religion. :ph34r:

 

Pete

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I know it was only a typo but "convertina" what a magic word to describe new fans of the 'tina. Perhaps there was something Freudian about it being used in the first place. B)

:D Hey, that IS pretty good! 'Convertina.'

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Hi folks

 

Just spotted this thread. I've been exiled from Edinburgh for a few years, but remember a thriving concertina scene.

 

In the first rank, apart from Norman Chalmers, Hamish Bain and Stuart Eydmann who have already been mentioned, there was the precocious talent of Simon Thoumire. Simon is a respected player and teacher with his own publishing company: Footstompin Records. For anyone who doesn't know his work, Simon's concertina recordings are outstanding and well worth checking out.

 

Plus there were a number of more workaday players, myself included. It was not at all uncommon to find 2 or 3 concertinas at a session.

 

But it must be conceded that the concertina is pretty marginal in the overall traditional scene. In comparison to Ireland, there is nothing approaching an accepted style for Scottish music on the concertina. The plus side is that this allows for a lot of creativity - so we get Norman's pipe-influenced West-Highland style contrasting with, say, Simon's more jazz influenced style. Both wonderful players, and both entirely different.

 

Why no Anglos? I think the answer is pretty straightforward: Scottish traditional music (especially the East Coast tradition) has more of a classical influence than Irish, and is played in a wider range of keys. So a fully chromatic instrument is more convenient.

 

By the way, if there is anyone playing Scottish music on the English in the West Midlands please drop me a line if you'd like to get together sometime...

Edited by gcaplan

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Let's not forget to mention Erland Voy, who recorded some nice EC playing with the Clutha and with Geordanna Mc Cullough. I don't think his name has come up in this thread so far.

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Another name that comes to mind is Peter Hall of The Gaugers, with his fine song accompaniments.

 

Sadly, he is no longer with us, but there is a mini-revival of interest in the band and much of their output is still available.

Edited by gcaplan

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Erland Voy, who recorded some nice EC playing with the Clutha

 

The concertina player with the Clutha was John Eaglesham. Erland Voy was one of the two fiddle players in the group.

John is still playing today, and I'll probably meet him again at one of the Scottish folk festivals this summer.

 

Another player from the Glasgow area from the same period and still playing today is Gordon Hotchkiss.

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Erlend Voy played both concertina and fiddle with the Clutha. I have two of their vinyl albums, on one of which both John Eaglesham and Erlend Voy play concertina, and on the other of which, "The Bonnie Mill Dams", John Eaglesham is not present, but Erlend Voy does play concertina. I don't know that Erlend Voy ever played melody on the concertina, but he certainly provided nice understated accompaniment to his own singing and to that of other group members. He also accompanied Gordeanna McCulloch on her "Sheath and Knife" album on concertina.

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