Traditional Arts Working Group Report

Have you read the Traditional Arts Working Group Report yet? Definitely worth a look.

Back to work…

I’ve been away on holiday for a few days in Tarbert, Loch Fyne. It really is a beautiful part of the Scotland. Many of beaches in the area are splendid with the top one we visited on the Island of Gigha, the first Scottish island to be bought by its community. The sand was white and the water very blue – great for paddling!


Before going on holiday Dave Francis and I were at the Distil England Showcase in Loughborough. The event was excellent and all the composers wrote fine pieces for the musicians. It was a long day for many of the folk musicians who must have been tired before the performance but you never have noticed it. The audience were very receptive and cheered loudly at the end. Check out to read about the musicians and composers. Dave and I were doing a bit of collective back slapping at the end as we realised that over the two showcases (Scottish one was in Stirling last October) we have 'commissioned' 14 new works from traditional musicians – not something that happens every day. Thanks to our funders PRS Foundation, Scottish Arts Council, Arts Council of England.


Since getting back from holiday I’ve had an interesting meeting with the BBC re possible televising of the Scots Trad Music Awards and I also visited the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD) to schedule a Distil Extra Improvising Day for February 28th, 2008. This will be for the students of the Traditional Music Course. Free improvising is a great method for musicians to try out new ideas and learn about your instrument. I find it revitalising and very worthwhile although many people find listening to it very hard as it is extreme. My latest free impro CD is called Free_C, you can read about it at Foot Stompin’ or download it for free at


I’m currently writing this in a mingin hotel in Bristolshire. I’m playing in Thornbury tonight with Cascade which as usual will be great fun. Seemingly it is a beautiful village (so says the taxi driver). Pity I’ve got to come back here later…


Now I'm back and the gig was fantastic, one of our best yet. It's a great bunch of guys to play with – always interesting. Next stop Swansea University on Saturday.

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Starting Entry Blog

A quick blog to test. Today has been a lovely sunny day. We took a trip up to Lamington Kirk to see what was inside and found a beautiful church with lots of interesting old features. The interest for me was that Robert Burns wrote an epigram entitled 'In Lamington Kirk'

"As cauld a wind as ever blew,
A cauld Kirk, and in't but few,
As cauld a minister's ever spak —
Ye'se a' be the or I come back!"

and we wanted to try and find it. We never but good fun all the same.

Also today I've been looking at budgets for the forthcoming Scots Trad Music Awards in Dec 2007 (Fort William) and writing some more of my Garvie Bagpipe Concerto. Clare and the boys are on their way home so I might try some weeding until then…


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