10 Questions for… Paul

1: Tell us about yourself.

I’m from Tarland in Aberdeenshire which is a small village on the edge of the Cairngorm National Park. I went to Tarland primary school and then went on to Aboyne Academy. Started working on the family farm upon leaving school but started playing the fiddle professionally in 1998 after playing semi professionally for a number of years. As well as performing, composing and teaching traditional Scots fiddle music I also give lectures and talks on the subject.

2: What is your weirdest quirk?

I don’t know if I’ve anything which could be considered “”wierd” but I’m a terrible fidget and have been since I was a bairn. When I drive I constantly finger out tunes on the steering wheel and I apparently snore if I’ve been drinking.

3: How did you get involved with the Speyside Sessions?

I received an email from Angus Robertson who’s the MP for Morayshire (he’s a nae bad fiddle player himself as it happens), asking whether I’d like to come along to a session with Kevin McKidd when he was back in Elgin over the festive season. I’d initially no idea that the session was going to be anything other than a couple of days of informal music making.

4: What is your proudest moment?

Probably the birth of my two boys, Hector and Roderick. Musically, winning the Glenfiddich Scottish Fiddle Championship.

5: What Speyside Session tracks did you perform on?

All of the tracks which have fiddle on them. I think there must be about nine tracks out of the fourteen on the album.

6: What is your favourite track on the album?

I think it would probably be “For these are my Mountains”. Kevin gives a great, heartfelt performance

7: What is your abiding memory from the sessions?

There’s quite a few great memories but a handfull which stand out were, Kevin performing “Westlin Winds” with my wife Shona, Iain Robertson reciting far and away the dirtiest version of “John Anderson my Jo” I’ve ever heard (and I’ve heard a few) and performing my composition “Diane of Pitgavney” for Diane Lunnan as a surprise birthday present.

8: What is your favourite album of all time?

This is a tough one as there’s so many great album’s which I could choose but if I was forced to pick one it would be either “The Seer” by Big Country, or “Og Mhadainn Shamhraidh by Kathleen MacInnes.

9: Do you have any regrets?


10: What’s the most extravagent thing you’ve ever done (or bought)?

Heading off to the USA for a 10 week tour when I was 21. 29 States, 53 gigs, performed to around 200,000 people and managed to come home with no money; hell of a good time though!!

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