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TITLE
Phil Cunningham - Stage Tricks (2 of 2)
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_MFR_PHILCUNNINGHAM_08
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
Phil Cunningham
SOURCE
Moray Firth Radio
ASSET ID
1769
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 some of the tricks commonly played on stage.

I went on stage this year; it was my birthday when we were in Germany and I was given a set of lederhosen, you know, the yodeling breeks? And they insisted that I wore these for the second half. I did a bit of that, I wore these on stage, and I thought that that was about as, you know, as much horsing around that there would be because it was a fairly serious audience a lot of the time. I mean, they were right into it but a lot of people were older people and there wasn't a lot of space to start taking the mickey. But I was in the middle of a set of tunes one night and the audience had started to roar with laughter and I had no idea what was going on. And I looked behind me and Ivan Drever, and Struan Eaglesham, and Duncan Chisholm, had gone out and bought carnival clothes - it was carnival time in Germany - and they bought these clothes and Drever was dressed up as a - I mean, with the height of him, he's about six foot two, you know, and he disnae have one leg between the two of them, you know, big skinny chap. Pair of tights on him and a Minnie-ha-ha, kind of Red Indian wig. Duncan Chisholm had a bald wig with bright orange hair on it and bin liners on. And I think Struan had a great big wig and a football jammed down the back of a pair of tights to give him this great big arse, you know? And they were doing the most incredible dance behind me and it completely ruined it. I could not continue playing; I was laughing so hard but the audience got into it. And there was a bit of that, there was a lot of setting up going on the stage. It's not unusual to look off to you left or right and see somebody's backside, you know, in the wings, flashing at you. There's a, you know, there's a lot of stuff goes on.

And I remember once in the States our singer was singing a solo song and I was, I was down the front for some reason. I think there was a member of the audience was heckling, and I'd gone out to try and find somebody to say, 'Look, just get rid of the guy' and Andy was singing this slow song, and I heard this kind of squeaking noise, it was 'eeeek, eeeek eeeek'. And I looked up and the base player had found a kiddy's go-cart with pedals, and a French beret, and a string of onions. I don't know where he got the stuff but he just came across the back of the stage. Of course, he was a big chap too, so his knees were on his shoulders, trying to work the pedals, and just very quietly came across the back of the stage, you know, removed all the tension from the, from the air, you know, with this, this heckler

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Phil Cunningham - Stage Tricks (2 of 2)

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 some of the tricks commonly played on stage.<br /> <br /> I went on stage this year; it was my birthday when we were in Germany and I was given a set of lederhosen, you know, the yodeling breeks? And they insisted that I wore these for the second half. I did a bit of that, I wore these on stage, and I thought that that was about as, you know, as much horsing around that there would be because it was a fairly serious audience a lot of the time. I mean, they were right into it but a lot of people were older people and there wasn't a lot of space to start taking the mickey. But I was in the middle of a set of tunes one night and the audience had started to roar with laughter and I had no idea what was going on. And I looked behind me and Ivan Drever, and Struan Eaglesham, and Duncan Chisholm, had gone out and bought carnival clothes - it was carnival time in Germany - and they bought these clothes and Drever was dressed up as a - I mean, with the height of him, he's about six foot two, you know, and he disnae have one leg between the two of them, you know, big skinny chap. Pair of tights on him and a Minnie-ha-ha, kind of Red Indian wig. Duncan Chisholm had a bald wig with bright orange hair on it and bin liners on. And I think Struan had a great big wig and a football jammed down the back of a pair of tights to give him this great big arse, you know? And they were doing the most incredible dance behind me and it completely ruined it. I could not continue playing; I was laughing so hard but the audience got into it. And there was a bit of that, there was a lot of setting up going on the stage. It's not unusual to look off to you left or right and see somebody's backside, you know, in the wings, flashing at you. There's a, you know, there's a lot of stuff goes on.<br /> <br /> And I remember once in the States our singer was singing a solo song and I was, I was down the front for some reason. I think there was a member of the audience was heckling, and I'd gone out to try and find somebody to say, 'Look, just get rid of the guy' and Andy was singing this slow song, and I heard this kind of squeaking noise, it was 'eeeek, eeeek eeeek'. And I looked up and the base player had found a kiddy's go-cart with pedals, and a French beret, and a string of onions. I don't know where he got the stuff but he just came across the back of the stage. Of course, he was a big chap too, so his knees were on his shoulders, trying to work the pedals, and just very quietly came across the back of the stage, you know, removed all the tension from the, from the air, you know, with this, this heckler