Whilst out for a motorbike run when I was 16 years old, I stumbled upon the Rothbury Folk Festival and hearing the fantastic session music, so full of life and fun, I was hooked on playing. Being a poorly paid apprentice all I could afford was a penny whistle. One thing led onto another, the penny whistle became a flute and branched out sideways into guitar, mandolin, accordion and singing. Joining a ceilidh band at an early(ish) age with players much more experienced (and miles better) than I sharpened up my playing and performance. As my musical experience widened, so did the music I listened to and as we all do, I started to take influence from what I heard. I started to become interested in Jazz and Classical music. Access to affordable computer programmes sparked an interest in computer based electronic music and a spell living in Israel widened my experiences of Arabic music. Sometimes I feel a bit like a musical sponge soaking up everything I come across and mixing it into what I play.
About 15 years ago I was given an old Alto Saxophone as a Christmas present. I played it a little and went to a couple of workshops - The Delta Saxophone Quartet being the stand out one - but ultimately I felt that I needed to be in a group in order to play. Somehow, the Sax doesn’t seem to me to be a solo instrument so I put it away and never touched it for years. Then, during a chance meeting with Foss in the Co-op in Banff, I was persuaded to come along to ASO. So I brushed the cobwebs off the old Conn, took one lesson with Justin Brook, to make sure I wasn’t going to make a complete fool of myself and dived in with both feet. I haven’t done a concert with ASO yet (thanks Covid) but I have enjoyed the rehearsals immensely and have discovered a joy in playing the sax.
Folk music and dance still forms the backbone of my performance work and perhaps, when no one is looking, I’ll sneak the sax into a St Bernard’s Waltz.