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TITLE
Phil Cunningham on Future Career
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_MFR_PHILCUNNINGHAM_10
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
Phil Cunningham
SOURCE
Moray Firth Radio
ASSET ID
1772
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 his future career aspirations.

Interviewer: In five years' time when I come up to your studios near Beauly, where will you be or what will you be doing?

I hope I'll be sitting at the fire with my feet up and there'll be a whole squad of people working in here, sending me money across by the barrel load. I hope to develop the studio into a bigger thing. I want to create a complete post-production facility for music to picture, and developing the whole film writing side of my career. I want that to be, the kind of, the mainstay of it. I'm working on a huge project just now which has been on the go for about four years; a big orchestral suite called 'The Highlands and Islands Suite' which is doing a thirty-piece fiddle orchestra, plus a full classical orchestra, forty-piece Gaelic choir, and soloists: Karen Matheson from Capercaillie and the three MacDonald brothers from Glenuig - the pipers; a drum corps of six; Aly Bain on fiddle; Duncan Chisholm leading the Highland fiddlers; myself on keyboards, kind of like a Jean Michelle Jarres or kind of Rick Wakeman vibe, running about pretending to play things that are already pre-sequenced, so that I can have big sleeves. And I'm working on that at the moment, I'm still writing it, and I'm hoping that that's going to be performed early '95, or by summer of '95 at the latest, so that's the thing that's going to be at the front of my mind, trying to get that finished. It's a, it's a big undertaking. It's about 128 musicians all told.

There's also a thing called 'The Big Picnic', which is a follow up to 'The Ship', by the same company that made 'The Ship', which is a play about World War I . I've been asked to do the music for that. And that's going to be held in the old Harland and Wolfe engine yard in Govan, where 'The Ship' was held. And basically, the audience will come into an area which will be designed to look like Glasgow Cross, or Partick Cross, and they're having this kind of little ceilidh at the cross, and a letter arrives back from France where somebody is over at this so-called war at the time. And they say, 'You should come over because it's, you know, there's no war at all; it's just a big picnic.' At which point all the guys sign up. And then, these soldiers appear and march you through into the rest of the engine yard and it's done out like the trenches. And the audience walk around inside the trenches, with the actors, and the band are on a crane up above the, up above the, the theatre, and we get moved up and down on this crane to follow the action. And the audience, some of the audience will be on hover seating. So it'll be like 250 people on a big hovercraft on one side of the stage, and 250 on the other side, and soldiers'll push them up and down to follow the action as well. It's a massive project

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Phil Cunningham on Future Career

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 his future career aspirations.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: In five years' time when I come up to your studios near Beauly, where will you be or what will you be doing?<br /> <br /> I hope I'll be sitting at the fire with my feet up and there'll be a whole squad of people working in here, sending me money across by the barrel load. I hope to develop the studio into a bigger thing. I want to create a complete post-production facility for music to picture, and developing the whole film writing side of my career. I want that to be, the kind of, the mainstay of it. I'm working on a huge project just now which has been on the go for about four years; a big orchestral suite called 'The Highlands and Islands Suite' which is doing a thirty-piece fiddle orchestra, plus a full classical orchestra, forty-piece Gaelic choir, and soloists: Karen Matheson from Capercaillie and the three MacDonald brothers from Glenuig - the pipers; a drum corps of six; Aly Bain on fiddle; Duncan Chisholm leading the Highland fiddlers; myself on keyboards, kind of like a Jean Michelle Jarres or kind of Rick Wakeman vibe, running about pretending to play things that are already pre-sequenced, so that I can have big sleeves. And I'm working on that at the moment, I'm still writing it, and I'm hoping that that's going to be performed early '95, or by summer of '95 at the latest, so that's the thing that's going to be at the front of my mind, trying to get that finished. It's a, it's a big undertaking. It's about 128 musicians all told.<br /> <br /> There's also a thing called 'The Big Picnic', which is a follow up to 'The Ship', by the same company that made 'The Ship', which is a play about World War I . I've been asked to do the music for that. And that's going to be held in the old Harland and Wolfe engine yard in Govan, where 'The Ship' was held. And basically, the audience will come into an area which will be designed to look like Glasgow Cross, or Partick Cross, and they're having this kind of little ceilidh at the cross, and a letter arrives back from France where somebody is over at this so-called war at the time. And they say, 'You should come over because it's, you know, there's no war at all; it's just a big picnic.' At which point all the guys sign up. And then, these soldiers appear and march you through into the rest of the engine yard and it's done out like the trenches. And the audience walk around inside the trenches, with the actors, and the band are on a crane up above the, up above the, the theatre, and we get moved up and down on this crane to follow the action. And the audience, some of the audience will be on hover seating. So it'll be like 250 people on a big hovercraft on one side of the stage, and 250 on the other side, and soldiers'll push them up and down to follow the action as well. It's a massive project