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TITLE
Angus Grant at Stirling University (2 of 3)
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_MFR_ANGUSGRANT_10
PLACENAME
Stirling
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
Aonghas Grant
SOURCE
Moray Firth Radio
ASSET ID
1572
KEYWORDS
Angus Grant
fiddlers
traditional music
audio

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Aonghas Grant, also known as the Left-handed Fiddler of Lochaber, has been playing fiddle since he was thirteen years old. His career spans over sixty years and he is still active as a teacher, soloist, composer and session participant, playing a wide range of fiddle music. Aonghas is a Gaelic speaker and particularly noted for his 'West Highland Style' of fiddling, influenced by both Gaelic and piping. In this audio extract, originally recorded for 'Moray Firth People' in the late 1990s, Aonghas talks to Andy Ross about the traditional music summer courses at Stirling University.

Interviewer: Where were the students coming from then, Angus?

They were coming from as far away as Japan and Australia, Canada and America. And then when Alastair Fraser started up the 'Valley of the Moon' in California, that sort of dried up the Americans; they'd all started going down to Alastair's. But now I've played - I've taught out there a couple of times with Alastair Fraser and Buddy MacMaster.

Interviewer: Were you teaching, just sort of West Coast, Gaelic type of music?

Aye, just our style of music, yes.

Interviewer: And there's an interest in that in Japan?

Well there seems to be, aye. There's a - They used to come from there, and Finland and Denmark and Norway and -

Interviewer: Well, you can imagine Finland and Denmark and Norway being interested but Japan - quite surprising. Were they good pupils? Pick up? Could they pick up quickly?

Oh yes, aye, they were - all - most of them that came there were very good players then because it said on the - you know you'd to have a good standard. It wasn't a course for beginners

Interviewer: No, had they been classically trained do you think?

Aye the majority of them had. But, the thing that brought them down to earth, if you taught them a tune by ear. They were all whiz kids at reading the notes. I remember teaching them 'Caberfeidh', a lot of them there, and there was one lassie, she was the year's orchestra leader from Detroit University, or Philadelphia, or one of these places, and she couldn't play two notes unless she had the music up; she was always in tears - she couldn't, she'd never done it before and she was always tied to the music. And I always say to my pupils at home there, don't - the music's great, great to read the music - I mean I never looked at music myself till I was about forty-eight - but it's a great thing to be able to read music, but don't get tied to it too much, you know, depend on your ear too.

Interviewer: Of course, as far as Tom Anderson was concerned, his kids were never allowed to play in public with music.

No. And Donald Riddell was the same; my old friend Donald Riddell was the same. He used to have them all up there without the -

Interviewer: They had to be able to play it before they got on?

Aye. I think if you, if you, you know, really soak it in - I mean tunes I learned by ear predominantly fifty odd years ago I've never forgotten them, but tunes I've picked up the music sometimes I forget them, you know?

Interviewer: And do you find it difficult to read music then, when you started?

Oh, well, a wee bit. I just started off working at it with tunes I knew well and realized where you're putting the fingers and that, and over the years with teaching at home there, my pupils, some of them are doing other music in school and they keep me right on more difficult things, you know, and so, we're all helping each other.

Interviewer: So it's a two-way -

A two-way system, Andy, aye.

Interviewer: Aye

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Angus Grant at Stirling University (2 of 3)

1990s

Angus Grant; fiddlers; traditional music; audio

Moray Firth Radio

MFR: Angus Grant

Aonghas Grant, also known as the Left-handed Fiddler of Lochaber, has been playing fiddle since he was thirteen years old. His career spans over sixty years and he is still active as a teacher, soloist, composer and session participant, playing a wide range of fiddle music. Aonghas is a Gaelic speaker and particularly noted for his 'West Highland Style' of fiddling, influenced by both Gaelic and piping. In this audio extract, originally recorded for 'Moray Firth People' in the late 1990s, Aonghas talks to Andy Ross about the traditional music summer courses at Stirling University.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Where were the students coming from then, Angus?<br /> <br /> They were coming from as far away as Japan and Australia, Canada and America. And then when Alastair Fraser started up the 'Valley of the Moon' in California, that sort of dried up the Americans; they'd all started going down to Alastair's. But now I've played - I've taught out there a couple of times with Alastair Fraser and Buddy MacMaster.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Were you teaching, just sort of West Coast, Gaelic type of music?<br /> <br /> Aye, just our style of music, yes.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: And there's an interest in that in Japan?<br /> <br /> Well there seems to be, aye. There's a - They used to come from there, and Finland and Denmark and Norway and -<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Well, you can imagine Finland and Denmark and Norway being interested but Japan - quite surprising. Were they good pupils? Pick up? Could they pick up quickly?<br /> <br /> Oh yes, aye, they were - all - most of them that came there were very good players then because it said on the - you know you'd to have a good standard. It wasn't a course for beginners <br /> <br /> Interviewer: No, had they been classically trained do you think? <br /> <br /> Aye the majority of them had. But, the thing that brought them down to earth, if you taught them a tune by ear. They were all whiz kids at reading the notes. I remember teaching them 'Caberfeidh', a lot of them there, and there was one lassie, she was the year's orchestra leader from Detroit University, or Philadelphia, or one of these places, and she couldn't play two notes unless she had the music up; she was always in tears - she couldn't, she'd never done it before and she was always tied to the music. And I always say to my pupils at home there, don't - the music's great, great to read the music - I mean I never looked at music myself till I was about forty-eight - but it's a great thing to be able to read music, but don't get tied to it too much, you know, depend on your ear too.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Of course, as far as Tom Anderson was concerned, his kids were never allowed to play in public with music.<br /> <br /> No. And Donald Riddell was the same; my old friend Donald Riddell was the same. He used to have them all up there without the - <br /> <br /> Interviewer: They had to be able to play it before they got on?<br /> <br /> Aye. I think if you, if you, you know, really soak it in - I mean tunes I learned by ear predominantly fifty odd years ago I've never forgotten them, but tunes I've picked up the music sometimes I forget them, you know?<br /> <br /> Interviewer: And do you find it difficult to read music then, when you started?<br /> <br /> Oh, well, a wee bit. I just started off working at it with tunes I knew well and realized where you're putting the fingers and that, and over the years with teaching at home there, my pupils, some of them are doing other music in school and they keep me right on more difficult things, you know, and so, we're all helping each other.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: So it's a two-way -<br /> <br /> A two-way system, Andy, aye.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Aye