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TITLE
Phil Cunningham on Talla a'Bhaile
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_MFR_PHILCUNNINGHAM_04
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
Phil Cunningham
SOURCE
Moray Firth Radio
ASSET ID
1763
KEYWORDS
accordions
traditional music
audio

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Phil Cunningham MBE is one of Scotland's best known traditional musicians. Trained classically in the accordion and violin, he later joined his brother John in the highly acclaimed Scottish band 'Silly Wizard' and played with the band for ten years (1976-1986). More recently, he has become well known for his partnership with Shetland fiddler, Aly Bain. Phil is also an accomplished music director, presenter and producer. He has composed two orchestral suites for symphony orchestra and Celtic instruments. In this audio extract, originally recorded for 'Moray Firth People' in the early 1990s, Phil talks to Robina Goodfellow about the BBC television programme, 'Talla a'Bhaile'.

Interviewer: The music for Talla a'Bhaile -

Talla a'Bhaile, yes

Interviewer: Talla a'Bhaile - How did you get involved in that?

In 1990 I was asked to do a play called 'The Ship' and I wrote the music for it and put a band together, and was Music Director for it. And we performed for eight weeks - sixty-four shows - and it was received very well ,and the music was received very well for it and a lot of BBC people were at the performances on regular occasions, and we did a BBC special for them. And I think at the time the Gaelic Department was looking for a new music programme, with a new slant to it, and the head of the Gaelic Department gave me a call, asked if he could come up and visit, and came up with John Smith, the director. And they had invented this idea for a programme between them and they basically came up and said did I think I could put a band together and produce the music for it, do all the recordings and so on? And basically we had a go at it the first year, and it was quite tough because there was a big throughput of musicians; we were dealing with thirty-six bands or thirty-six different acts every programme, and for each act you were probably looking at maybe two to three pieces so there was a large amount of music to be recorded and sorted out. But the format worked very well, so much so that the Hogmanay Show was based on the same format in 1991 into '92 and then we got a second series of it. We did that, '92, and then we got the Hogmanay Show again in the same format, and it just seemed to be that it was a nice intimate atmosphere in the hall. And because most of the musicians that were playing at the thing were the kind of people that had been playing in village halls all their life, they were able to actually relax when they were performing because it wasn't a strange set to them. You know, sometimes if you go into a big outlandish set with - you know that's been designed as a kind of arty thing - you're sitting in this false environment and you don't feel like you're actually at a gig, and I think that the continued success of Talla a'Bhaile has been because it's been a very realistic set that we were in and everyone can relax and enjoy it

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Phil Cunningham on Talla a'Bhaile

1990s

accordions; traditional music; audio

Moray Firth Radio

MFR: Phil Cunningham

Phil Cunningham MBE is one of Scotland's best known traditional musicians. Trained classically in the accordion and violin, he later joined his brother John in the highly acclaimed Scottish band 'Silly Wizard' and played with the band for ten years (1976-1986). More recently, he has become well known for his partnership with Shetland fiddler, Aly Bain. Phil is also an accomplished music director, presenter and producer. He has composed two orchestral suites for symphony orchestra and Celtic instruments. In this audio extract, originally recorded for 'Moray Firth People' in the early 1990s, Phil talks to Robina Goodfellow about the BBC television programme, 'Talla a'Bhaile'.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: The music for Talla a'Bhaile - <br /> <br /> Talla a'Bhaile, yes<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Talla a'Bhaile - How did you get involved in that?<br /> <br /> In 1990 I was asked to do a play called 'The Ship' and I wrote the music for it and put a band together, and was Music Director for it. And we performed for eight weeks - sixty-four shows - and it was received very well ,and the music was received very well for it and a lot of BBC people were at the performances on regular occasions, and we did a BBC special for them. And I think at the time the Gaelic Department was looking for a new music programme, with a new slant to it, and the head of the Gaelic Department gave me a call, asked if he could come up and visit, and came up with John Smith, the director. And they had invented this idea for a programme between them and they basically came up and said did I think I could put a band together and produce the music for it, do all the recordings and so on? And basically we had a go at it the first year, and it was quite tough because there was a big throughput of musicians; we were dealing with thirty-six bands or thirty-six different acts every programme, and for each act you were probably looking at maybe two to three pieces so there was a large amount of music to be recorded and sorted out. But the format worked very well, so much so that the Hogmanay Show was based on the same format in 1991 into '92 and then we got a second series of it. We did that, '92, and then we got the Hogmanay Show again in the same format, and it just seemed to be that it was a nice intimate atmosphere in the hall. And because most of the musicians that were playing at the thing were the kind of people that had been playing in village halls all their life, they were able to actually relax when they were performing because it wasn't a strange set to them. You know, sometimes if you go into a big outlandish set with - you know that's been designed as a kind of arty thing - you're sitting in this false environment and you don't feel like you're actually at a gig, and I think that the continued success of Talla a'Bhaile has been because it's been a very realistic set that we were in and everyone can relax and enjoy it