Border Fiddles Band Members
“One of Scotland's rich musical traditions is awoken from its slumbers”

Border FiddlesFive of the most exciting and inspired fiddle players to emerge in recent years, Border Fiddles are the first of a new generation that is breathing life in to one of Scotland’s richest musical traditions.

Border Fiddles perform an eclectic repertoire of ancient and modern Border melodies from the fiddle, song and pipe traditions as well as their own compositions all wrapped up in a wickedly stylish sound. From aching, atmospheric airs to driving jigs, reels and hornpipes with the occasional departure into funk fiddle riffs and baroque motifs – it’s compelling music, excitingly delivered.

“They bow forth a supercharged, wonderfully full-bodied sound with plenty of delectable internal intricacies...the playing's so joyously on fire.” (Netrhythms)

Their first album, released on ISLE Music Scotland in 2004, is considered a landmark recording in traditional and world music and they continue to surprise and delight audiences with their unique sound.

“A much rarer originality exuberantly evident within their arrangements…this is no ordinary fiddle band!” (Kris Drever)

On fiddle they are Lori Watson, Shona Mooney, Innes Watson, Rachel Cross and Carly Blain with Sandy Watson on guitar and bouzouki. All have burgeoning solo and band projects and numerous awards under their belts but having grown up playing music together they share something really special and continue to build on their common experiences.

“We are so fortunate to have been part of this scene and groups like the Small Hall Band as it all kicked off. We’ve inherited an amazing music from Tom Hughes, Bob Hobkirk, Wattie Robson, Jimmy Nagle and others and we owe a lot to local teachers like Lucy Cowan, Simon Johnson and Iain Fraser for giving us the skills we needed to revitalise the music for ourselves. Coming together to continue the tradition of Border fiddle bands and to enjoy the music we have in this part of the world is incredibly important to us and to be able to do this with old friends is really quite unique and I think we all appreciate that – I mean who’d have thought at our first gig in 1999 as teenagers that we’d all be qualified, professional musicians in 2009!” (Lori Watson)

The music of the Borders has traditionally been a modest and unadorned tradition and although one of the richest in Scotland it has often been overlooked in comparison to other regional traditions with their more extrovert performers. Border Fiddles have been absorbing the music of the Borders and beyond since childhood and actively promote Borders music and fiddle playing. Bringing it to a wider audience through concerts, festivals, broadcasts, community projects and recordings they are set to not only strengthen their native tradition but, for the first time in history, to place this incredible music firmly on the International map.

“The raw, rhythmic, sparsely ornamented style of Northumberland meets the snap and roll of dominant Scottish fiddling.”
(Living Tradition)

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Biogs of BF

Lori Watson

Lori Watson (26) - Lori’s solo album LORI WATSON :THREE was released in 2006 to critical acclaim. Lori and the Lori Watson Three this year have toured in England, Spain (Asturias) and Sweden and will be touring in Germany later this year.

Researching for a PhD at the RSAMD, Lori is a Senior Tutor for Glasgow Fiddle Workshop as well as teaching Musicianship and Groupwork to Scottish Music students at the RSAMD. She has been a finalist at the Scottish Young Traditional Musician Awards and has toured extensively at home and abroad. LW3 won a ‘Danny’ at Celtic Connections 2005.

Lori has composed music for theatre and has broadcast on radio and television. Her research into the Borders traditions continues and she is a dedicated 'tradition bearer' of Borders fiddle playing. At the age of 12 Lori was a founding member of renowned Borders youth traditional music group, the Small Hall Band and also played with Borders ceilidh band Clarty Cloot.

Lori recently toured solo with Cara Dillon and John Smith and is working on her second album for Lori Watson Three, for release in 2008.

Recognition as a leading young tradition bearer reflects Lori’s research into, and interpretation of, Borders music and song.


Shona Mooney

Shona Mooney (23) - Graduated with a BA Hons (1st Class) in folk and traditional music from Newcastle University and was Scottish Young Traditional Musician of the Year, 2006. Her solo CD ‘Heartsease (viola tricolour)’ followed, with great reviews.

Shona tours with the Shona Mooney Band and with all-lassie group The Shee.

Shona has a wealth of experience and is steeped in the Borders tradition through the work of her parents Gordon and Barbara. She is a regular at festivals and sessions at home and in Europe and the States.

Innes Watson

Innes Watson (22) - Graduated with a BA in Scottish Music from the RSAMD in 2006, Innes has a growing reputation as a leading fiddler and guitarist of his generation. He is currently working on his first solo CD.

The list of artists he has played with and accompanied is impressive including spells with Croft Number Five and the Fred Morrison Band. He has provided accompaniment on the TMSA/BBC Young Trad Tours of 2006 and 2007.

Innes spent sixth form at the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music at Plockton High School. Innes is also a former member of Borders bands the Small Hall Band and Clarty Cloot ceilidh band. Innes teaches at Glasgow Fiddle Workshop and featured in the Gaelic television series Beolach.

Innes's guitar playing can be heard on GreenTrax guitar album The Clear
Stream. Open Stage finalist in Lori's band LW3 at Celtic Connections 2005.

Rachel Cross

Rachel Cross (21) - A senior member of the Small Hall Band and a mainstay of the Clarty Cloot ceilidh band, Rachel took up the fiddle at a very early age and has developed her own distinctive voice. Rachel is now in her last year of the folk and traditional music BA at Newcastle University.

Recently, Rachel has spent 6 months on an exchange doing music in Denmark.

Rachel and Carly (below) were finalists in the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards 2004/5 and, with Chris Stout, will be providing music on a Tall Ships trip later in the year.

Carly Blain

Carly Blain (21) - Also senior member of the Small Hall Band, Carly is also now in her last year of the folk and traditional music BA degree course at Newcastle.

Carly has also been the fiddle tutor for the Small Hall Band for the last three years and has played with many other musicians and featured in festivals and events at home and abroad.

Carly, who joined BF when Allan Hislop moved on, is now a vital member of Border Fiddles.

Carly and Rachel (above) were finalists in the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards 2004/5 and, with Chris Stout, will be providing music on a Tall Ships trip later in the year.

Sandy Watson

Sandy Watson (over 21) - Has been involved in the folk / traditional scene for a wee while. A founder of the Small Hall Band, Clarty Cloot ceilidh band and the Border Gaitherin festival, Sandy has also been active in the TMSA in recent years.

Sandy plays guitar and bouzouki and sings if absolutely necessary and if the pay is very good. Sometimes Sandy makes up tunes which raise the eyebrows of the BF musicians.

Passed his driving test in 1970.

Allan Hyslop

Allan Hyslop (22) - Allan, featured on the CD and in the early BYF gigs, decided to concentrate more on his other musical interests - singing, song-writing, guitar and music technology. Allan is studying in Newcastle.

 

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