Dr Aly Bain MBE
Aly Bain is is considered one of the finest fiddlers in the Scottish tradition. Born in Lerwick, Shetland Aly began playing the fiddle at the age of eleven. In his early twenties, Aly headed to mainland Scotland. His dramatic playing, with great tone and technical ability brought early recognition as an outstanding musician of the folk music. He has worked on several international television series, regularly collaborates with prominent musicians from across the globe, and occasionally records as a solo
Aly has received many honours for his services to music, including four Doctorates and an M.B.E., and numerous Honorary Citizenships in the USA. He continues to be an ambassador for Scotland abroad and a powerful advocate for traditional music. His teaming up, star collision, with brilliant accordionist/composer Phil Cunningham has added yet another dimension of appreciation for audiences everywhere. They have toured and recorded together since 1988 and to date they have recorded four albums, released on Aly's own record label Whirlie Records.
Dr Margaret Bennett Ph.D
Margaret Bennett has sung at folk festivals and concerts world-wide and, as one of the world's foremost authorities on Scottish Folklore, she features in several films, TV documentaries and on radio. Margaret has post-graduate MA in Folklore, a Ph.D in Ethnology, an Honorary Doctor of Music from the RSAMD and an Honorary Professorship of the Royal Scottish Academy. She lectures part time at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Margaret has featured on over 10 albums.
Scottish folklorist Hamish Henderson writes: “She is a folksinger of great sensitivity and versatility, and is undoubtedly one of the major figures of the modern Scottish Revival. There can be few scholars on either side of the Atlantic who succeed in combining such a wide range of skills as Margaret Bennett. Margaret embodies all that is best of the spirit of Scotland.”
Dr Phil Cunningham OBE
Widely regarded as one of the most exciting and innovative accordion players of the times, Phil Cunningham has taken this instrument from strength to strength, setting the standards by which many young players fix their sights today.
The accordion being only one of the strings to his bow…multi instrumentalist Cunningham works extensively in the television and film world as a composer, music director and presenter, He is much
sought after as a record producer and he manages to juggle all of these diverse commitments to enable him to continue touring with long time musical partner and friend Aly Bain. Phil was awarded the MBE in 2002 for services to Scottish Music and was voted Best Instrumentalist in the inaugural Scottish Traditional Music Awards in 2003.
Dr Barbara Dickson OBE
Dickson earned her initial reputation during the 60s as part of Scotland's flourishing folk scene. An accomplished singer, she has tackled traditional and contemporary material and enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Archie Fisher.
Her career changed course after meeting Willy Russell who cast her in his award winning musical ‘John, Paul, George, Ringo… and Bert’. Barbara has also appeared in the musicals ‘Blood Brothers’ and ‘Spend, Spend, Spend’ and recorded songs from ‘Evita’ and ‘Chess’.
Barbara has had roles in TV shows including ‘Taggart’, ‘Band of Gold’ and ‘The Missing Postman’. Acclaimed writer and director Chris Bond created a stage show for Dickson in 1996 called ‘The Seven Ages of Woman’ which won her the Liverpool Echo Actress of the Year Award. It premiered at the Liverpool Playhouse and toured extensively throughout1997 and 1998.
As a multi-million selling recording artist with an equally impressive Olivier award- winning acting career Barbara has firmly established herself as one of the most versatile performers in the UK. 2008 saw her celebrating 40 years as a professional musician.
Archie Fisher MBE
Archie Fisher was born in Glasgow into a large singing family. After moving to Edinburgh in 1960 and appearing regularly at folk clubs such as The How, his first album –‘Far Over the Forth’ - was released in 1962. In 1969 he teamed up with Barbara Dickson, who went on to feature on several of his albums.
He has become an internationally-known singersongwriter, recognised as one of the most influential folk artists of his time and has enjoyed a parallel career as a broadcaster, presenting concerts, interviews, live studio sessions, review panels, features, and the latest folk music recordings to his listeners on his BBC Radio Scotland programme "Travelling Folk".
Dr Sheena Wellington (Honorary Doctor of Music 2007 ; Hon Degree St Andrews 2000; Hon Degree
University of Dundee)
One of Scotland's leading traditional singers, Sheena was born in Dundee into a family of singers and factory weavers. Her repertoire covers everything from Burns to ballads to the best of contemporary songwriting, drawing from the rich Scottish tradition passed from musician to musician through the ages.
A passionate and articulate advocate for traditional music, she has played a leading role in the fight for recognition, status and improved funding for Scotland's traditional arts.
“..she can lay fair claim to being chiefly responsible for the seriousness with which her branch of the arts is now taken ...” The Herald (Glasgow)
“..... the most moving moment of all”- (The Times, London).
“.... a moment to open the muscles of the heart.......” (The Scotsman, Edinburgh).