|The new series of My Life in Five Songs starts next Thursday the 23rd of January at 13.30 with Midge Ure, followed by Karine Polwart on 30th January, Ian McCalman on 6th Feb and Rosanne Cash on 13th Feb, Calum Macdonald on Feb. 20th, Aidan O'Rourke on Feb. 27th, Mary Chapin Carpenter on March 6th and Roddy Woomble on March 13th. Listen in live on BBC Scotland Radio or later on BBC iplayer.
|The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice 30th Anniversary Variety Performance
Susan Boyle, Karen Dunbar, Darius Campbell, Craig Hill, Carol Smillie, Phil Cunningham and The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Les Sirènes, Tallia Storm, Gymtasia Evolution, The Dance School of Scotland, Amore, Edward Reid, Mark Nelson, Barbara Bryceland and Owen Paul with more to be announced.
All proceeds from this event will go towards The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice Brick by Brick Appeal. www.ppwh.org.uk/brickbybrick
You can help build a new home for Glasgow’s Hospice.
|Program can be listen to live on BBC Scotland Radio or for a week after the broadcast on BBC iplayer
Bruce Findlay – 10th January 2013 at 14.05
Craig Armstrong – 31st January 2013 at 14.04
JJ Gilmour - 7th February 2013 at 14.05
Emily Smith - 14th February 2013 at 14.05 * changed
Bruce Watson – 28th February 2013 at 14.05
|Series 5 starts in December 13th 2012 at 14:05 on BBC Radio Scotland
1. Colin MacIntyre (Scottish Singer/Songwriter -Mull Historical Society)
2. Eleanor McEvoy (Irish Singer/Songwriter) 20/2/12
3. Seth Lakeman (English Singer/Songwriter) 03/1/13
|Latest album by Phil & Aly "Five and Twenty" released this summer.
|Phil gives Wullie an accordion lesson.
Annual is available from the Broon's website. http://www.thebroons.com
|Feb.7th 14:05 (GMT) Phil talks to Elkie Brooks (30 min.) 1 of 8.
Repeats Sunday Feb. 12 16:30
Feb 14-The Proclaimers 14:05
Feb 21- Beth Nielsen Chapman 14:05
Feb 28- Roddy Hart 14:05
|My Life in Five Songs - Series 4 -
1. Christmas Day edition
1/8 With a seasonal twist Phil Cunningham invites fellow musicians to pick a favourite song that evokes a special Christmas memory.
The Proclaimers, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Maggie Reilly and Kate Rusby are amongst the musicians taking part and for the first time Phil gets to pick a favourite track of his own.
BBC Radio Scotland, 12:05PM Sun, 25 Dec 2011
12:33PM Sun, 1 Jan 2012
|The last in the series three of "My Life in Five Songs". Phil chats with the American singer/songwriter Judy Collins, whose successful career has spanned over fifty years. The program will be available on BBC iplayer for 7 days after the original broadcast.
|BBC2 Scotland will be broadcasting a half hour program of musical highlights from the tv series "The World Accordion to Phil" Friday 6th May at 22.00 hrs
|Phil's new 4 part TV series will begin airing on Wednesday, March 9th, BBC 2 Scotland at 8pm. There will be a 5th program that has some uninterrupted musical highlights.
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Phil Cunningham went as far afield as Asia and South America to meet and play with musicians, including erdu player Na Wang in Beijing’s Black Bamboo Park. Picture: BBC Scotland
4 Mar 2011
Phil Cunningham thought he knew a bit about the accordion until an idea for a television programme that came to him while playing at a ceilidh grew into something way beyond his imagination.
“I’d always thought of the accordion as a Scottish instrument,” says the man who has become familiar to viewers at home through his long-running role as the nation’s musical first foot as well as forging an international reputation with folk bands Silly Wizard and Relativity and through his duo with fiddler Aly Bain. “But I quickly realised that probably every culture in the world thinks of it as their own instrument. It’s as ubiquitous, if not more so, as the guitar and the violin and I’d say way more adaptable than either. We didn’t get as far as this but you’re talking about an instrument that’s played by Inuits in specially built igloos and Zulus in searing temperatures.”
Over four one-hour programmes that begin transmission next week, The World Accordion to Phil examines the rise of the instrument that’s become second nature to him since he was given his first small accordion at the age of three.
He knew beforehand, of course, that many other folk traditions used the accordion and variants thereof. Some of the people he meets, chats to and plays with on his travels across Europe, China and North and South America are old friends: there’s Flaco Jiminez, the Tex-Mex master who rose to fame through his recordings with Ry Cooder; Marc Savoy, whose Cajun music formed a very natural alliance with Cunningam and Bain on a Scottish tour a few years ago; and Sharon Shannon, whose dexterity with Irish tunes on her tiny button-keyed melodeon is a constant source of pleasure to Cunningham.
What he wasn’t prepared for, was the sight of a park in Beijing’s Forbidden City teeming with accordion players, one of whom borrows Cunningham’s own instrument and seems reluctant to give it back, or the intense, contemporary music created by an accordion-cello duo in Vienna or the moment that reduced him to tears when Russian virtuoso Viatcheslav Semionov played him the most affectingly tragic but beautiful piece of music Cunningham had ever heard.
“I don’t speak Russian and he doesn’t speak English but through an interpreter we’d been looking into the story of how the Russian authorities got classical composers to turn folk music into so-called serious music for the accordion,” says Cunningham. “I suspect he thought I was just some twit of a foreigner who was feigning interest and asking daft questions and he went into this piece that was supposed to be a few bars of illustration and, I’m telling you, I’ve never been so moved by a piece of music in my life. He had me in floods of tears and we had to stop filming for about half an hour so that I could recover. Even doing the voiceover back home, that music broke me up.”
Semionov must have realised that Cunningham was genuine because the Russian went to the trouble of seeking out the TV crew from Scotland in their Moscow hotel the next morning and gave Cunningham a big hug.
Watching the sociable Cunningham as he plays an impromptu familiar tune on the world’s biggest accordion in the Italian accordion town of Castelfidardo, roams the tango bars of Buenos Aires and hears a Brazilian variation on the schottische with typically brilliant triangle and tambourine accompaniment – if he thinks the accordion gets a hard time from the joke merchants, he should try playing these – it would be easy to imagine The World Accordion to Phil as a holiday with a few assignments attached. Not so. The filming schedule meant the team had to fly in, get what they needed and move on. Consequently, Cunningham feels the series only scratches the surface of the accordion’s impact on the world.
It is, nevertheless, full of fascinating insights. Not the least of these are Cunningham’s introduction to the sheng, the forerunner of the accordion and its free-reed cousin, the harmonica, which dates back 5000 years, and his meeting with the son of Guido Deiro, the count who was the world’s first accordion superstar – he actually coined the term piano accordion – and was secretly married to and became briefly the Svengali behind Hollywood legend Mae West.
The aforementioned “Brazilian schottische” turns out to represent a style of music called forro that grew out of the Scottish and Irish railway workers inviting local people to their dances, saying they weren’t just holding these occasions for themselves, they were “for all” – a term that was localised into “forro”.
“We could have gone on for hours and hours,” says Cunningham, whose fascination for his instrument and its relatives has only increased with his travels and his team’s splendid research. The day before we spoke he’d acquired another ancient Chinese relative of the accordion, the hulusi, which has similar fingering to one of Cunningham’s other passions, the tin whistle, and which may well feature in a future musical adventure. It’s unlikely to replace the accordion in Cunningham’s affections, though.
“I’ve been playing the accordion professionally for 35 years and over that time I’ve grown to appreciate it as an incredibly expressive instrument,” he says. “It’s also very personal – if you look at Martin Green with Lau, he plays fantastically and what he does is entirely his own thing – and I think these points have been reinforced time and time again with this series.
It’s given me a thirst for more knowledge of the instrument and its place in the world but it also, and this is the best bit, makes me want to pick up my accordion and play.”
The World Accordion to Phil, March 9, BBC 2, 8pm.
|Monumental Scott, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Accordion maestro Phil Cunningham
21 Jan 2011
Sir Walter Scott’s epic and most popular poem, Lady of the Lake, was published in 1810.
It revolutionised the public perception of Scotland’s landscape and established her as a place to visit for tourists and the artists alike.
In 2010, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park launched Scottsland, a programme of 44events to celebrate the poem culminating in Monumental Scott.
The evening was co-ordinated by Phil Cunningham, doyen of Scottish accordion players. It was split into two halves, with the first comprising the premier of Cunningham’s The Trossachs Suite, comprising five themes, linked by passages from the poem read by Bill Paterson.
Lady of the Lake has been described as cinematic in its description of the Trossachs, and the Overture most certainly underlined this. Like all the finest film scores, it immediately invoked the subject matter that it was intended to portray.
Cunningham was assisted in his endeavours by a stellar line-up of talent, featuring the likes of John McCusker and Fiona Johnson on fiddles, Michael McGoldrick on pipes and Ian Carr on guitar.
The Suite also featured a 15-piece string section and despite the composer’s apparent nervousness, “the unborn child is about to appear”, the ensemble swept through the arrangement with a confidence and sensitivity which belied its embryonic state.
The second half featured the same band, without the strings, but with Eddi Reader and Karen Matheson.
They played some of Scott’s tunes and some dance tunes, because, as Cunningham joked: “We know Scott liked a dance!”
Ave Maria, by Schubert, but inspired by the poem, was stunning, as was Matheson’s Ailein Duinn, from the film Rob Roy.
The whole evening was a triumph from start to finish.
|Phil Cunningham talks to a series of musicians about their lives, careers and influences and asks them to pick five songs that were milestones on the way.
BBC Radio Scotland series 3 15:30 -will be available on BBC iplayer for 7 days
Feb.10 -James Grant
Feb. 24-Justin Currie
March 3-Eve Graham
March 10-Dean Owens
March 17-Sandi Thom
March 24-John McCusker
March 31-Mary Black
|Gig review: Phil Cunningham's Christmas Songbook, Edinburgh
Published Date: 23 December 2010
By NEIL McEWAN
Phil Cunningham's Christmas Songbook
* * * *
TRADITION is very important at this time of year, whether it's trimming the tree, sending cards or watching Auntie Doris fall asleep in front of the Queen's speech after one sweet sherry too many, it all adds to the majesty of the season.
Over the last six years a new tradition has been slowly warming its way into our yuletide hearts, and for many now Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Phil Cunningham and friends singing in the season.
This is a big warm figgy pudding of a night, with songs sacred and secular, old and new, all coming together to top up the audience's Christmas spirit.
As in previous years, Phil was joined on stage by Eddi Reader, Karen Matheson and John McCusker, as well as Ian Carr on guitar and Kevin McGuire on double bass and not forgetting the brass quintet who gave the whole evening a warm creamy topping to go with the delicious dessert.
The musical mix was excellent, with foot-stompers like their version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town balanced by the more angelic sounds such as Reader's In the Bleak Midwinter and Matheson's Gaelic version of Silent Night alongside reels, jigs and general merriment from McCusker's fiddle and Phil's accordion.
The show works on the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" principle, so the set list doesn't change much year to year, but when new tunes do make it into the mix you can trust they've been well chosen. That was certainly true of the two songs by Mindy Smith - I Know the Reason and Santa Will Find You - both of which hit the perfect note.
If the audience members thought they were going to get to relax, they were very much mistaken. There were plenty of choruses to be chanted back as well as the carolling portion of the evening when all voices were lifted in song giving them, to quote Cunningham, "laldy".
Cunningham was on fine form as host, full of twinkly charm and some of the worst jokes you'll hear this side of a Christmas cracker. He describes the show as a work night out, a chance for these performers to catch up and have some fun, and there's certainly the joyously chaotic flavour of the workers getting to let their hair down, which all adds to the warmth and charm of the night.
However low your Christmas spirits are this year, one thing is for certain: if you are lucky enough to get a ticket for this show then your festive embers are guaranteed to be relit and you'll walk out of the Queen's Hall with a glow warm enough to melt a six foot snowdrift. What's also certain is you'll spread the news of this new tradition to everyone you know.
|Iain Anderson did a radio program last night on Gerry Rafferty including an old interview Phil did with him in Paris. The program is available on BBC iplayer until Jan. 13th
|Talla a' Bhaile was a music program that ran from 1991 to 1994. Phil was the music director and John Smith the director. There are some wonderful performances from Arthur Cormack, Capercaillie, Alyth McCormack etc....It is now available for viewing on BBC's website.
|Phil & Aly are very honored to be nominated for Scots Trad Music Awards best live act. Voting takes place between Nov. 1-19th
Tickets are now on sale for 2010 MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards and Gala Concert. The event is on 4th December, 2010, in Perth Concert Hall, Perth. Call 01738 621 031 for tickets or click here to buy them online.
Also, the Phil Cunningham band will be performing at the awards ceremony.
|Phil Cunningham & Aly Bain /Margaret MacLellan
Blas Festival Repeated Friday 15 October @ 11.30pm from Strontian
BBC ALBA is on Sky Channel 168; Freesat Channel 110 and the BBC iPlayer on BBC i-player for a week after transmission.
|Monday May 10th 22:00–22:30 BBC2 ArtWorks Scotland
When Phil Cunningham Met Mark Knopfler
Phil Cunningham and Mark Knopfler talk about their shared love for traditional music.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctwo/programmes/schedules/scotland/2010/05/10 (Scotland only)
|Phil joins Mark Knopfler's band for a night in Glasgow at the SECC.
|Phil Cunningham talks to singer-songwriter Horse about her early musical influences, loyal fan base and favourite artists, plus she picks her five special songs.
Thu 6 May 2010 11:30 BBC Radio Scotland
Sun 9 May 2010 06:00 BBC Radio Scotland
Available on iplayer for 7 days
Horse official website (www.randan.org)
Tomorrow, 19:00 on BBC Two (Scotland only)
Scotland's countryside magazine.
The team revisit the farm in Angus to help out with calving. Nick Nairn puts young professional cooks through their paces as they compete to be named Scotland Food and Drink Young Chef of the Year. Sarah Mack reveals the restoration plan for Scotland's oldest working woollen mill. Phil visits bats in Fife.
Today, April 30th 19:00 on BBC Two (Scotland only)
Scotland's countryside magazine. Dougie Vipond joins the Flying Doctors providing a lifeline for people in rural Scotland. Euan McIlwraith examines the boom in exports of Highland cattle and Gail McGrane reveals the science behind weather folklore. Phil Cunningham visits a Raven at Dalhousie Castle.
|NEXT ON: Today, 11:30 on BBC Radio Scotland
Phil Cunningham hears how Katie Sutherland abandoned a career in teaching to enjoy success as Pearl and The Puppets, plus she picks her five songs.
|Award winning Phil Cunningham is best known for his love of traditional music, but hidden behind the musical score is another great passion in his life.
As part of a three part strand for Landward Phil is swapping the recording studio for the great outdoors as he finds out about some of the animals to be found near his native Edinburgh home.
Before he began this exploration he took some time to talk about his fascination with wildlife. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p007grg1
|Phil talks to Scottish musicians about 5 influential songs in their lives
Pat Kane Thursday 8th April at 11.30 (Repeat Sun. 11th April at 06.03)
Kris Drever Thursday 15th April at 11.30 (18/04/10 at 06.03)
Katie Sutherland Thursday 22nd April at 11.30 (25/04/10 at 06.03)
Iain Anderson Thursday 29th April at 11.30 (2/05/10 at 06.03)
Horse Thursday 6th May at 11.30 (09.05/10 at 06.03)
Findlay Napier Thursday 13th May at 11.30 (16/05/10 at 06.03)
Tommy Smith Thursday 20th May at 11.30 (23/05/10 at 06.03)
Rab Noakes Thursday 27th May at 11.30 (30/05/10 at 06.03)
Listen live on www.bbc.co.uk/radioscotland or iplayer for 7 days after program broadcasts
|Internationally acclaimed theater company Mabou Mines launches its 40th anniversary season of groundbreaking theater with the world premiere of FINN, a digital and live action adventure based on the timeless Celtic legend of Finn McCool (Fionn macCumhaill).
FINN explores the ideology and cultural embodiment of a young boy’s quest to become a warrior. It follows the coming of age journey of Finn as he seeks to avenge his father's death leading him to choose between a life of vengeance and violence, or a life of tolerance and moral courage.
This unique theater work blends traditional storytelling with video game technology and Laterna Magika, sleight of hand techniques used in Czech Theater. Large-scale digital animation, poetic text and traditional music combine to illustrate this powerful tale. Live performers, virtual characters and animated settings create an expansive fantasy world pushing the boundaries of live theater to new limits.
Produced by Mabou Mines in association with
Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, New York University
Conceived and Directed by Sharon Fogarty
Written by Jocelyn Clarke
Digital Animation Design by Misha Films
Music by Phil Cunningham and Manus Lunny
|Phil was commissioned to write the music for BBC 2 Natural World's program
about Beinn Eighe. It is called Highland Haven.
|11:30 on BBC Radio Scotland
Episode 2 24th Nov. 2009
2/4. Phil Cunningham meets singer, actress, composer and former Deacon Blue member Lorraine McIntosh, who reveals the five songs that are most important to her.
coming up- Calvin Harris, Edwyn Collins
|11:30 on BBC Radio Scotland
Episode 1 17th Nov. 2009
1/4. Phil Cunningham talks to
virtuoso guitarist Martin Taylor.
coming up-Lorraine McIntosh, Calvin Harris, Edwyn Collins
|Phil went to London with John McCusker and Michael McGoldrick earlier this year to play on it.
|The new "Transatlantic Sessions IV" will be broadcast starting on
Sunday the 13th of September at 22.50hrs on BBC Scotland.
The series will also be also be available on BBC 4 commencing
Friday the 18th September at 20.30hrs
|Phil is to be inducted into the Trad Music Hall of Fame this coming November at the ripe young age of 49!!
|Phil & Aly will be on Archie Fisher's Travelling Folk program on BBC Scotland Radio this Thursday 20:05 with a repeat broadcast 1 August 22:05
|Phil has been nominated in two categories for the The Irish Traditional, Folk & Celtic Music Awards 2009.
Winners announced 1 August
|Less than 24 hours after receiving the Honour of Doctor of Music from Edinburgh University, popular Scottish musician Phil Cunningham was being honoured again. During a graduation ceremony on Tuesday morning, he was granted the first ever Professorship of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
Professor John Wallace, Principal of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama said: “Because of the Academy’s important contribution and commitment to Scottish traditional music, it is fitting that this genre is recognised through the induction of our first professors.”
Professor Phil, who is the Artistic Director of the BA degree in Scottish Music at the Academy said,
“I’m absolutely over the moon on many levels! When a great establishment such as the RSAMD or Edinburgh University honour you in this way, it is not only a great personal delight, but also a great reflection on the ever strengthening state of traditional music in Scotland. I would like to acknowledge that I’m only one of a huge number of people who work tirelessly to promote our incredible music and culture and everything I have learned in my career has been as a direct result of the generousity of these people’s talent and spirit. In accepting these honours, it’s with that acknowledgement and a tremendous vote of thanks to all of my colleagues and friends who have taught, inspired and mentored me throughout the years.”
Paolo Nutini was so impressed by the Scottish music students at a recent visit to the RSAMD that he has asked Phil and 6 of the students to join him on the main stage at T in the park this Saturday.
|Phil Cunningham's Gracenotes, a new two part documentary investigating Scotland's sacred music begins tonight. Sat 14th Feb at 20.00hrs on BBC2 Scotland.
Also on this weekend , Sunday 15th at 22.20.. Celtic Connections will feature perfomances from The Transatlantic Sessions live at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow.
On the subject of Transatlantic sessions, Phil is off in to the studio with the team in March to begin the filming of Transatlantic sessions 4. Watch this space!
|Phil received the honour of "Doctor of Music" from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama yesterday at a ceremony in Glasgow.
He said,,"I'm absolutely delighted to accept this.. the academy has done such great things over the years it is a real honour to be associated with them. I wasn't allowed to study music formally as a child beacause the accordion wasn't accepted as an instrument in those days, so this is a fabulous day for me! Who would have thunk it!??"
|At the tail end of last year, Phil became a patron of Scat..Scottish Culture and Traditions. This organisation work extremely hard at promoting... just what it says on the tin! For more information, check out their website http://www.scottishculture.org
|Details of Phil and Aly's tour schedule this year have been posted at www.philandaly.com they will be posted on this site asap.
|Phil and Aly are off on tour tomorrow round England for 3 weeks. See gigs for details.
The Herald - January 31 2008
One of Scotland's leading traditional musicians is to take up a pivotal role at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD). Phil Cunningham, one of the biggest names in Scottish folk music, is to be the new artistic director of its Scottish traditional music course.
Cunningham, a multi-instrumentalist and composer who is perhaps best known for playing the accordion, will take up his new post at the RSAMD in September. "This is an exciting opportunity for me and I can't wait to work with the staff and students of the academy's Scottish music department," he said.
Professor John Wallace, principal of the RSAMD, said: "Phil Cunningham was right in at the beginning of the Scottish Music degrees in the academy as an adviser when we originally created the BA in Scottish traditional music and the piping degrees. It's so important that we keep a strong sense of continuity in these courses, that are torch-bearers for Scottish identity."
In the latter part of last year, I became a patron of the Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Trust. I am extremely proud to be involved with them. Albeit that my association to date has been in name only, I am really looking forward to some hands on work with them very soon as well as some fund raising events in the years to come.
The trust does extremely valuable work, and I would be delighted if anyone who is interested would have a wee look at their website. http://www.hessilhead.org.uk/
I hope to include a Hessilhead diary on my site soon.
Cheers, and have a "Happy New Year."
Phil won the Trad Award in the category Composer of the year last night at the ceremony in Fort William.
He would like to thank all who voted for him and is "totally chuffed!" to have received it.
Phil and Aly won a Tartan Clef award at the event in Glasgow on Saturday 24th.
The award, for best trad act was sponsored by guitar guitar and presented by Graham Bell.
The lads are very happy with this latest honour. The event is run annually by the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy trust, who provide an incredible level of support for young and old. To read more about the important work they do go to the link below.
|Phil's new series "Scotland's Music with Phil Cunningham" starts tonight on BBC2 Scotland at 8.10pm - be sure not to miss it. Phil presents this 6-part series which tells the story of Scotland's incredible musical heritage. For more details and a sneak preview of the show, visit BBC Scotland's Music 07 website.
|Phil has been nominated for Composer Of The Year at this year's Scots Trad Music Awards. If you think Phil is a worthy winner, please go over to the Scots Trad Music Awards website and place your vote.
|I'm pleased to announce my new website has gone live. Please have a look around - hopefully you'll find some interesting stuff!!
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