Raised on hearing traditional music and song in Tornaveen in rural Aberdeenshire, Allan Taylor started singing traditional songs after entering the Buchan Hertiage Society competitions in 2006 and quickly got involved with the Traditional Music and Song Association in Aberdeen. Allan has a developed a wide repertoire of North East song from traditional ballads and Bothy Ballads to comic songs, he has taken second prize at the annual Champion of Champions’ Bothy Ballad Competition held in Elgin each year. He has been a guest as both singer and MC at many of the festivals and was the MC as well as a singer in the first TMSA Wee Red Book Concert at Celtic Connections.
Two lovely singers for January. Kevin Mitchell from Derry City has lived in Glasgow since 1967. With his distinctive style he has taken his traditional repertoire, which is mainly based on the songs of his native Ulster, to many clubs and festivals, at home and abroad. Ellen Mitchell has also lived in Glasgow for many years, having returned there from the Argyll coast at age 6. Her repertoire is mainly traditional, with the occasional newer song. She has also been involved in a variety of performing and tutoring events. Kevin has recorded on Topic and Greentrax, Ellen on Living Tradition, and both featured on a double CD for Musical Traditions.
Change of guest – we are delighted that George Duff has agreed to step in after circumstances intervened. George’s prowess as a singer, widely known for some time of course, received official recognition earlier this month when he was nominated as Scots Singer of the Year at the Trad Music Awards. This on the back of a year which saw the release of the widely acclaimed ‘The Collier Laddie’, as he put it ‘my first, last and only solo album’. Temporary change of venue as before – Scottish Storytelling Centre, 7.30pm.
Despite singing all through childhood and school, and growing up with traditional and folk music, Tracy Boyle didn’t come to back to it until finding herself at Keith Festival in the late 90s. A move to Edinburgh in 1997 brought her to the Scots Music Group singing classes, then the TMSA competitions at Keith, and so it went on. Since then, Tracy has been a guest at Keith and Kirrie Festivals, the Frank Harte Festival in Dublin (unexpectedly), the Celtic Connections Wee Red Book concert in 2017, and the Glasgow Ballad Workshop in 2018, and she has sung at fundraisers for Cullerlie Singing Weekend and Kirrie Festival. Tracy was the MC at The World’s Room for four years and can’t wait to retire so that she can spend all her time at singing weekends and sessions.
(NB temporary change of venue and earlier start time)
John Dickson’s roots are in the coal mining community of Midlothian where he was born and grew up. He then moved to the Scottish Borders in 1970 and took part in the local folk scene until he moved to Aberdeenshire in the early nineties. There he discovered a love of bothy ballad and traditional singing and competed in various competitions. He has made several appearances at the Bothy Ballad Champion of Champions in Elgin and won the title in 2011. John is a popular guest at various local festivals.
Susie Malcolm grew up on a farm in Aberdeenshire, the youngest of four children born in four years who liked to create havoc on the long drives between Highland Games events around Scotland. To try to bring calm, her dad, singer and heavyweight athlete Charlie Allan, would sing bothy ballads to them. It didn’t really work, but it did instil in Susie a love of folk song, and she started to attend folk clubs while in her teens. By her early 20s she was entering TMSA singing competitions and occasionally winning something, though not usually. Her stand-out success was winning the Bothy Ballad singing at Auchtermuchty, and Susie thinks she was the first woman to do so. Over the past two decades Susie’s singing has mainly been as a ‘two-for-one’ addition to gigs by her husband Jim Malcolm, for whom she sings harmonies and occasionally takes the lead. She still loves to sing unaccompanied Scots song and looks forward to a chance to sing – and listen to you – at the Waverley
For the first night at our new venue we are delighted to welcome Elsa Lemaitre and Friends – at last, after their original booking had to be cancelled due to the bad weather earlier in the year.
Elsa has enjoyed singing for as long as she can remember but her interest became focussed on traditional song after moving to Inverness in the mid-sixties and becoming a founder member of Inverness Folk Club. The wealth and diversity in traditional song that she experienced in those years have shaped her life ever since.
She moved to the Borders in 1973 and each decade since then has provided ever-increasing opportunities to follow her passion, both on her own and in collaboration with friends. Two significant collaborations have been with the acapella group Fisher Lassies, and with the Reiving & Bereaving team.
Since singing in harmony is as important to Elsa as singing solo, she is delighted to be joined by Morag Dempsey, Karen Barber, and Erika Cragg. Morag is well-known as a member of Linties, a group that performed widely at festivals and singing events throughout Scotland, while Glasgow’s vibrant traditional music scene in the eighties was the inspiration for Karen’s interest.
Erika first discovered traditional song at Elsa’s 60th birthday ceilidh. Elsa was instrumental in developing Erika’s interest by introducing her to the songs that they sing together and to singers such as Alison McMorland, Geordie McIntyre and Jimmy Hutchison. She has never looked back.
Now that the dust has settled and the summer has begun, Tracy and Edith would like to say so long and thanks for all the songs. As I said at the final guest night, The World’s Room has been going for more than six years and we’ve heard countless songs from our guests and singing friends over those years. We have hosted 82 separate guests from all over the UK and beyond (with only one repeat), in four different venues, and although I tried, it was impossible to keep count of the singers (for that’s who they are) who paid their fiver at the door every month to listen to our guests and, more importantly, to sing their songs and keep our wonderful traditional singing alive. You are what it’s been about.
Your new management will be most excellent, and they will let you know when and where we can continue our singing.
Thank you all again for all the support. Keep singing.
At our penultimate evening of the 2018 season, The World’s Room will play host to two wonderful women from the North East of England – Di Henderson and Anne Lamb.
Di Henderson will be familiar to many of our regular singers and guests, having been a guest at many festivals and folk clubs great and small all over these islands. Whenever Di sings, her audience takes home a memory. Her voice has an indefinable something that lingers, that goes home with you. And because of this …unique and elusive quality, you also remember the songs. For it is not just Di’s voice which has real quality, it is her repertoire as well. It is rich and varied as her voice is rich and varied, drawn from sources from childhood to the present day, and as relevant to now as to when she was a girl.
Anne Lamb is newer to singing but she’s got a large repertoire of songs from the North East of England and beyond – and a sweet and very warm voice that puts them across beautifully.
Both Anne and Di are excellent singers and winning performers and the evening promises to be feisty, funny and thought-provoking.
As ever, we welcome everybody who wants to come and sing their songs for us – celebrate the Spring with a holler or a lyrical ballad – but if you want to come and listen, you are more than welcome.
For our February evening, we return to the North East of Scotland and are pleased to be hosting the lovely Russell Taylor.
Russell Taylor is a born and bred Aberdonian but has been resident in Ellon in Aberdeenshire since 1976. Although coming from a musical family, it was only in later life that he started singing in public.
Russell has a great repertoire of contemporary and traditional song but his first love is the local bothy and traditional ballads of North-East Scotland in which he can give full rein to the local Doric dialect. He is a regular winner of bothy and traditional ballad competitions and has made four appearances at the annual ‘Champion of Champions’ Bothy Ballad Competition in Elgin.
After last month’s sad disaster, it is to be hoped that the weather will allow us to start 2018 properly with some lovely singing. There is a whiff of Spring in the air, sometimes, so there’s every reason to get out there and give it your all. We welcome singers and listeners.
Doors at 7.30pm for 8.00pm start
(Thanks to Mary Ann Masson for the wonderful photograph)