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TITLE
Phil Cunningham on Aly Bain
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_MFR_PHILCUNNINGHAM_09
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
Phil Cunningham
SOURCE
Moray Firth Radio
ASSET ID
1770
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 working with Aly.

Interviewer: You've worked with Aly Bain a lot. Does he give you the freedom when you go on stage to improvise?

Yea. Working with anyone a lot, you know, the more you get to know a player, you get to know how they think, how they play. And, you know, we have a vast kind of repertoire of tunes that we play, and the kind of set that Aly and I do is based around tunes that we like. And, you know, we never really decide - We have a format written out that we'll do but if we get to a point in the night where we think, well, 'Here's a tune that I, we haven't played for ages', you know, Aly'll just shout across 'g'. This is a big hint but nine times out of ten - it used to be the same with my brother - that they would, if you were playing a type of tune, and they shouted a key to you, you would know what they were going to go into, based on the tune you were playing, and their kind of - what you know they like to do. And, you know, so it was quite good fun sometimes; it takes the drudgery out of gigs sometimes, is not really knowing what's coming up next. But, you know, it's not a set thing. We like different types of music; we play a lot of kind of Cape Breton tunes, and a lot of American tunes, and Cajun tunes, and just depending on the audience, you know, and you can gauge from the audience pretty well in the first five sets what they're going to get into and then you change the set accordingly. We play a lot of slow stuff - slow airs - because Aly is such a master of, you know, feeling, when he's playing slow tunes and I've seen us, you know, it's down that we're going to play the tune like, twice through, and we're getting into it so much, you know, we're playing the same tune for ten minutes and forgetting that the audience is there sometimes. You've got to be careful with that

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Phil Cunningham on Aly Bain

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 working with Aly.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: You've worked with Aly Bain a lot. Does he give you the freedom when you go on stage to improvise?<br /> <br /> Yea. Working with anyone a lot, you know, the more you get to know a player, you get to know how they think, how they play. And, you know, we have a vast kind of repertoire of tunes that we play, and the kind of set that Aly and I do is based around tunes that we like. And, you know, we never really decide - We have a format written out that we'll do but if we get to a point in the night where we think, well, 'Here's a tune that I, we haven't played for ages', you know, Aly'll just shout across 'g'. This is a big hint but nine times out of ten - it used to be the same with my brother - that they would, if you were playing a type of tune, and they shouted a key to you, you would know what they were going to go into, based on the tune you were playing, and their kind of - what you know they like to do. And, you know, so it was quite good fun sometimes; it takes the drudgery out of gigs sometimes, is not really knowing what's coming up next. But, you know, it's not a set thing. We like different types of music; we play a lot of kind of Cape Breton tunes, and a lot of American tunes, and Cajun tunes, and just depending on the audience, you know, and you can gauge from the audience pretty well in the first five sets what they're going to get into and then you change the set accordingly. We play a lot of slow stuff - slow airs - because Aly is such a master of, you know, feeling, when he's playing slow tunes and I've seen us, you know, it's down that we're going to play the tune like, twice through, and we're getting into it so much, you know, we're playing the same tune for ten minutes and forgetting that the audience is there sometimes. You've got to be careful with that