18th February 2018
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Late Tom Anderson to be inducted into Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame

One of the legends of Shetland music will be honoured this weekend when he is inducted into the prestigious Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame.

The late great Tom Anderson MBE will have his contribution to Shetland fiddling recognised at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards in Perth Concert Hall on Saturday. He will be one of eight performers to be honoured at the event.

Dr Anderson, who died in 1991 at the age of 81, is still regarded as the most prominent personality in Shetland fiddling. As a musician, composer and teacher, he inspired thousands of fiddle players across the world including Aly Bain.

Although he earned his living as a travelling insurance salesman, music was his passion. He kept his fiddle in the back of the car and, once business was completed, he would play the fiddle with his customers, learning and collecting the tunes and playing style which he passed to younger generations.

In the 1970s, after he retired, he started teaching traditional fiddle in schools with the goal of saving and restoring the fiddle tradition in Shetland. He succeeded in leaving a vibrant fiddle culture in the isles.

Dr Anderson formed the Shetland Fiddlers Society and the Forty Fiddlers and wrote around 500 tunes, the most famous being <i>Da Slockit Light </i>about the de-population of his native Eshaness.

He was awarded the MBE in 1977 and an honorary doctorate from the University of Stirling in 1981.

The other seven performers being inducted into the Hall of Fame are Jimmie Macgregor MBE and his late partner Robin Hall, Scotland’s first folk music stars, who became household names when they performed five nights a week to millions of people on primetime television in the 1960s. They recorded more than 20 albums and appeared in every major venue across the UK, supported on occasion by The Beatles.

Alison Kinnaird MBE is recognised by the Hall of Fame as a ground breaking harp player, the first ever to make a recording of Scottish harp music.

The Hamish Henderson Services to Traditional Music Award will be presented to Bill Wilkie MBE from Perth who founded the All Scotland Accordion and Fiddle Festival more than 60 years ago, and Bliadhna nan Òran is being celebrated for its Services to Gaelic Music.

Others to be inducted include folk singer Ray Fisher, pianist Pam Wilkie who has been the foundation of many leading Scottish country dance bands for the past 60 years, Gordon Duncan, one of the greatest-ever exponents of the bagpipes and Donald Macrae, regarded as a legendary Gaelic singer.

Launched in 2005, the Hall of Fame acknowledges and recognises people in the music industry who have supported and influenced the development of Scottish traditional music during their lives. Inductees in previous years have included The Corries and Runrig.

Director of the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame Simon Thoumire said: “We are indebted to these musicians for what they have given Scotland over the years. Without them, traditional music would certainly not be in such a healthy state and so it is only fitting that we celebrate the contribution they have made not just at home, but in taking their music across the world.”

The awards will be presented at a gala concert, with performances from artists including The Chair, Phil Cunningham Band, Jenna Reid and Harris Playfair and Fullsceilidh Spelemannslag.

About Rosalind Griffiths

I am a Shetland Times reporter covering news, including health stories, and features. I have been in Shetland for more than 30 years.

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