DKOS Artist 25th Jan 2024 – Anna Scott and Ciorstaidh Chaimbeul – Fergus McNeill – Peter Alec Kay. – Pippa Reid-Foster. – Skyrie
Anna Scott and Ciorstaidh Chaimbeul
Anna Scott and Ciorstaidh Chaimbeul both met on the Isle of Skye where they both are part of the session scene. Their music takes the unique sound of the clarinet and accordion and combines it with a love of traditional music and song
Anna Scott is a multi-instrumentalist and composer studying Scottish Traditional music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Anna was awarded Grade 8 Clarinet with Distinction in 2018 but since then, she has focused on developing her own style, steeped in Scottish tradition by using techniques borrowed from wind instruments more common in Scottish Tradition such as the pipes, whistle and flute, and developing her own ornamentation. Anna also loves composing and arranging and was commissioned to write a piece for the National Youth Pipe Band which was performed at Piping Live 2022 and at the Usher Hall in 2023.
Ciorstaidh’s music is largely influenced by her Gaelic roots as well as extensive classical training. Ciorstaidh is a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where she studied with distinguished accordionist, Djordje Gajic. In 2021, Ciorstaidh went on exchange studies to Royal Danish Academy of Music where she studied with Geir Draugsvoll and Bjarke Mogensen.
In 2019, she was a semi-finalist in the 2019 BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional musician of the year, and NAAFC overall senior accordion winner. She regularly performs as a chamber musician, playing at Hidden Doors with Trio RCS and at RCS Plug Festival with six accordions.
Fergus McNeill has developed an identifiably Scottish, contemporary folk-inspired sound, seasoned by a wide range of pop, indie and Americana influences. The distinctive lyricism of his songs reflects his unusual combination of mid-life perspective and newcomer freshness as a songwriter.
Raised in Barrhead just outside Glasgow, Fergus’s unlikely route into song-writing (in his mid-40s) came via his ‘other’ job — as a criminologist with a special interest in rehabilitation. Via that interest, he stumbled on the importance of song-writing as a way of sparking change, making connections and building communities, little expecting that the practice would transform and redefine him.
The impetus to share his songs with a wider audience came when Fergus’s song ‘Bloodrush’ was chosen from over 1300 entries as the winner of a national (UK) songwriting competition. That success led to a memorable road-trip with Louis Abbott (Admiral Fallow), Donna Maciocia, James Mackay (Corto Alto) and Jill O’Sullivan (Jill Lorean) to record his first single at Abbey Road Studios. ‘Bloodrush’ was released in October 2021. Revered songwriter Boo Hewerdine, one of the competition’s judges, described ‘Bloodrush’ as: “a remarkable song that blew me away both musically and lyrically”.
Currently, Fergus is carving out the time and space to record an EP, entitled ‘Johnny Blue’s Well’, which he hopes to release and tour in Spring and Summer 2024.
Peter Alec Kay
Peter Alec Kay is a fiddler hailing from the Shetland Islands. Reflected in his playing, Peter has taken inspiration the wild sights and sounds of Shetland. With the aid of old, archived music and stories, Peters aims to illustrate the feeling of the Islands through his music.
Rooted in his traditional Shetland style, Peter’s sound is also shaped by contemporary genres. As a multi-instrumentalist and producer, he has acquired in a wide range of influences. One influence, that he has married with his fiddle playing is ambient music -making use of time-based effects and looping to add another modern dimension to his sound, to showcase old traditional tunes from Shetland in a different light.
Pippa Reid-Foster is a contemporary music composer and performer who works as a soloist and in ensembles. Recent cooperation with a Finnish performer resulted in a summer 2022 British/Finnish tour.
Pippa began her professional career after graduating from Scotland’s Royal Conservatoire, where she specialised in composition and performance. Driftwood Harp, her debut album, retained strong roots to her Scottish heritage, but the minimalist influence was becoming apparent. Following this, her composition Murmuration’s was performed at the Distil Showcase performances, allowing her to write for and perform with the renowned ensemble McFall’s Chamber. Pippa was recently asked to write a piece for Issie Barratt’s Interchange. This is a new piece written for a ten-piece all-female contemporary jazz group. Pippa’s collaboration with Finnish kantele musician Eva Alkula has resulted in an exchange of ideas that has pushed the frontiers of the Finnish Kantele and the lever harp, two traditional instruments from different cultures.
Pippa is currently working on her forthcoming solo album, which will be released Autumn 2024. Even though her instrument, the Clarsach (lever harp), is regarded traditionally Scottish, her technique incorporates electronic looping and effects, focusing on contemporary music with strong minimalist elements.
Skyrie is a band that knows how to bring the party wherever they go. Comprised of Lesley Thompson Smith on fiddle and whistle, Jimmy Anderson on guitar and bass, and Chris Smith on drums and bodhran, this talented trio has been wowing audiences with their unique blend of traditional and modern music.
Hailing from the market town of Cupar in Scotland, Skyrie has not only gained a loyal following in their home country but has also travelled the world, captivating audiences wherever they perform. Their music is a vibrant fusion of genres, drawing inspiration from traditional Celtic tunes, but also incorporating elements of rock, folk, and even funk.