Together Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham have established themselves as the epitome of excellence in the world of traditional music. With their musical magic and quick-witted humour they will pull your emotional strings one moment and have you falling off the seat with laughter the next. Mike Russell has described them as “probably the best traditional musicians you are ever likely to hear”.
Phil, who is Artistic Director of Scottish Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, had the wonderful opportunity in 2014 to perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony alongside Nicola Benedetti. He also arranged & co-produced Pumeza Matshikiza’s performance of ‘Freedom Come All Ye’. Phil also arranged and co-produced tracks on Nicola Benedetti’s most recent album Homecoming, and works with John Ashton Thomas (Hollywood film orchestrator and composer) on orchestration and arrangements. This year Phil is also working on a new BBC series on piping.
Aly, who now holds 5 honorary Doctor of Music degrees, and was honoured in 2013’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, with a lifetime achievement award. His now world acclaimed Transatlantic Sessions went network in the USA in 2014. Aly continues to develop the series, while also touring in the autumn each year Aly Bain, Ale Möller & Bruce Molsky.
Scottish August & September Tour dates for 2018 and booking details for all concerts (there are a lot of them) can be found at www.philandaly.com
The great thing about receiving the latest Transatlantic Sessions CD is that you know all is right with world. In company with twenty-six of the best vocalists/musicians in the field of ‘folk’ music you don’t even need to get the accompanying DVD (although of course you could) to soak up the electric atmosphere of being locked away in an old hunting lodge in the Perthshire Highlands…for emanating within the stone walls comes forth possibly the most joyous sound you are ever likely to hear. The empathy created by everyone being so closely involved in the project must be the dream of any producer and capturing the whole experience is recording, mix and mastering maestro Iain Hutchinson. If I credited everyone it would take until the next session to list them but just to whet your appetite the line-up includes the staggering dobro performances of Jerry Douglas, Aly Bain on fiddle, Donald Shaw (accordion), Danny Thompson (double bass), Eddi Reader, Sarah Jarosz and Alison Krauss vocals. The feeling of bonhomie that is in evidence throughout the whole recording would provide scientists with enough energy to power the Large Hadron Collider and even Edgar Allen Poe’s gothic poem “Annabel Lee” set to an Appalachian sounding minor key melody by Jarosz can do nothing to mute the immeasurably good time everybody had in each others company. On a final note, what a pleasure it is to hear Eric Bibb’s interpretation of “Goin’ Down The Road Feelin’ Bad” as, for me (and I’m sure many others) it brings back many happy memories of Scotland’s JSD Band in full flight and just goes to show you can’t put a good song down!
Musician, Composer,Producer, Presenter and Raconteur Phil Cunningham has often brought a smile to our faces here at Folking.com.
His legendary tale about Fergie MacDonald which we filmed a few years back at the Gosport and Fareham Easter Festival in his duo performance below with Aly Bain had us in hysterics.
So this morning when I saw his latest video pop up in my facebook feed telling me about a lullaby he had written for Fergie I was intrigued… I checked it out and BOL (Bark Out Loud) this Fergie is not Fergie MacDonald the extraordinary button accordion player and legendary ceilidh band leader but Phil’s dog who decided to join the tune and provide the vocal part….. that is.. until he fell asleep!