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TITLE
Angus Grant on Donald Riddell
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_MFR_ANGUSGRANT_17
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
Aonghas Grant
SOURCE
Moray Firth Radio
ASSET ID
1582
KEYWORDS
Angus Grant
fiddlers
traditional music
fiddle making
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 late Donald Riddell BEM, fiddler, composer, and fiddle maker.

Interviewer: Earlier you mentioned the name to me, Donald Riddell. How did you first meet Donald?

Och, I met Donald many, many years ago. I knew Donald very well. In fact, he made a fiddle for me - a very strong fiddle. I use it a lot when I'm playing for dances, a very powerful sound. And then I lodged with him when I was working at Abriachan with the Forestry; I lodged with him for a while there when we were working up there, and he used to be in his workshop and I had a great interest in his fiddles and his fiddle making. And he said to me, 'Don't start making a fiddle till you retire because you get so absorbed in it, it'll stop playing.'

Interviewer: And have you started making fiddles?

Well, I haven't start- I've got a lot of good wood and over the years I've done a tremendous amount of repairing and repairing bows. And I've a great interest in it. Donald said a very interesting thing. He said, 'When you make a fiddle from scratch and then draw the - string it up and draw the bow over the strings for the first time - it's the nearest thing that a man can do to giving birth', he said. And he was right, you know? He was giving birth to an instrument, you know? And he used to get wood from all funny places, you know? He'd look at a bit of wood here and a bit of wood there. He got some wood - an old laburnum tree - at Beaufort Castle from Lovat, and he used that for fiddle backs - he made a few good fiddles using the laburnum wood for the backs. He was a very interesting man and just like [Tom] Anderson he'd done so much great work with the young people around Inverness way, and produced all this good fiddlers

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Angus Grant on Donald Riddell

1990s

Angus Grant; fiddlers; traditional music; fiddle making; 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 late Donald Riddell BEM, fiddler, composer, and fiddle maker. <br /> <br /> Interviewer: Earlier you mentioned the name to me, Donald Riddell. How did you first meet Donald?<br /> <br /> Och, I met Donald many, many years ago. I knew Donald very well. In fact, he made a fiddle for me - a very strong fiddle. I use it a lot when I'm playing for dances, a very powerful sound. And then I lodged with him when I was working at Abriachan with the Forestry; I lodged with him for a while there when we were working up there, and he used to be in his workshop and I had a great interest in his fiddles and his fiddle making. And he said to me, 'Don't start making a fiddle till you retire because you get so absorbed in it, it'll stop playing.' <br /> <br /> Interviewer: And have you started making fiddles?<br /> <br /> Well, I haven't start- I've got a lot of good wood and over the years I've done a tremendous amount of repairing and repairing bows. And I've a great interest in it. Donald said a very interesting thing. He said, 'When you make a fiddle from scratch and then draw the - string it up and draw the bow over the strings for the first time - it's the nearest thing that a man can do to giving birth', he said. And he was right, you know? He was giving birth to an instrument, you know? And he used to get wood from all funny places, you know? He'd look at a bit of wood here and a bit of wood there. He got some wood - an old laburnum tree - at Beaufort Castle from Lovat, and he used that for fiddle backs - he made a few good fiddles using the laburnum wood for the backs. He was a very interesting man and just like [Tom] Anderson he'd done so much great work with the young people around Inverness way, and produced all this good fiddlers