Home‎ > ‎Archived Pages‎ > ‎

Musicians


Jane Ellis

Braidwood, NSW

Piano
Jane Ellis





Formerly a music teacher and a keen folk musician since the 1960s, Jane has played piano for Scottish Country dancing since joining the ACT dance band, Fife and Clackmannanshire, in 1994. Led by fiddle player, Kate Scott, this band earned a good reputation for its dance and concert music in the Canberra region and SE Australia.

Jane continued with the band after it’s renaming as Strathmannan until 2007. She now accompanies fiddler, Bob McInnes (Stringfiddle), playing for ceilidhs, socials, dances and balls as well as arrangements of Scottish jigs, reels, strathspeys and airs, and music from other traditions, for folk festival performances.


James Gray

Scotland/Norway

Piano
James Gray






Born into a family actively involved in the local Scottish country dance scene, James grew up surrounded by a love of Scottish music and culture. He started piano lessons at the age of five, initially being taught by his grandmother, who played for his parents’ dance classes, and later took up the accordion.

James is well known among Scottish country dancers for his solo and ensemble piano playing. He has played as a solo musician at dance schools all over the world, and was the director of the first RSCDS youth school. He plays in the dance band Scottish Measure, and in a duo with Keith Smith. The Host of the Air was his first ensemble release with musicians Susie Petrov and Laura Risk. In 2006 he released a solo album Piano Dance, and he is featured on the RSCDS recordings for Book 17 and Graded Book 2.

On Opus Dance he has teamed up again with Susie Petrov to record a CD of his compositions for his father’s dances. James lives in Oslo, Norway, where he is often seen skiing or heard playing accordion. He maintains his links with Scotland, and plays regularly at the RSCDS summer school in St Andrews.


Bob McInnes

Robertson, NSW

Stringfiddle

Bob McInnes






Bob dusted off his violin in the mid-60's to play folk music and started in dance accompaniments for Sue Beaton's Canberra School of Irish Dance. In 1972 he formed Stringfiddle Tradition. As President of the Monaro Folk Music Society, he established the regular bush dances at the Yarralumla Woolshed and the Albert Hall in Canberra.

In 1973 Stringfiddle was joined by the late Mike Heaney to become the Reel Tradition, which was Bob's first introduction to Scottish Country Dance accompaniment. Later in the 70's, while playing for a Scottish Ball in Newcastle, he first met Chris Duncan who, over the years, Bob had come to regard as his chief mentor in Scottish fiddling.

Bob is also well-known in Colonial and Contra-dance circles. During the past 20 years he has travelled up and down eastern NSW to play for Scottish country dance socials and balls, Scottish weddings and Burns celebrations. Bob and his current piano accompanist, Jane Ellis, have been friends for many years and work well together.

Iain Mckenzie

Queensland

Accordionist
Iain Mckenzie








Born in Bannockburn, Scotland, Iain has been playing the accordion to audiences since an early age forming his first band at the age of 14. Brought up in the tradition of Scottish music and dance gave Iain the opportunity to play both in Scotland and overseas thus widening his experience and repertoire.

Iain has played with various bands such as Rusty Nail, a Celtic folk band, in Scotland and Dalcassian Scottish Dance Band in London and formed the Balmoral Dance Band while in New Zealand.

Now resident in Mackay, Queensland – Iain has been a featured musician at many RSCDS socials, balls, dance weekends as well as Summer and Winter Schools throughout Australia and New Zealand over the last 12 years.

Kate Scott

Canberra

Fiddle
Kate Scott






A fourth and sixth generation Australian with Scottish ancestry on both sides, Kate received classical music education in piano throughout her school years. While studying art and teacher training in Newcastle, she was introduced to folk music and its instruments.

Mesmerised by the fiddle, she soon took up the instrument and became a founding member of the legendary Scottish music Canberra-based band, Reel Tradition, first as piano accompanist. Kate attended fiddle courses in Stirling, Scotland to learn the traditional style of playing the strathspey, and soon took up the role of band fiddler. Over seventeen years Reel Tradition played for Scottish country dancing, bush dancing and ceilidhs, and travelled to festivals and folk venues throughout the country.

Later, Kate became lead fiddler and co-ordinator of Fife and Clackmannanshire – and this was before finding out that her great-great grandfather had been born in Fife! The band changed its name to Strathmannan and released a self-titled CD. The current line-up with Mark Jenner on fiddle and Dan Bennett on piano is a unique musical fusion of Scottish, folk, classical, modern and jazz styles.


George Meikle

Dumfries, Scotland

Accordion
George Meikle





Although born in Perthshire, George now stays in Dumfries. He started playing the accordion at the age of 6 and was taught by the inimitable Bill Wilkie in Perth.

The first band he played for was “The Strathearn Dance Band” and after a few years he then formed his own “Lothian Scottish Dance Band” in 1974. In the subsequent 40 years the band has made around 14 recordings and many broadcasts. Although it initially started as a full 6 piece band, over the years it has now dwindled down to a regular 3 piece band comprising accordion, fiddle and keyboard.

One of the problems with the SCD scene is that you have to ensure you play the correct original tune for each dance. The obvious solution was to put all of the information, as and when I gathered it, into a database of useful information. This was to be an ongoing challenge and to date my database now has almost 15,000 dances in it. The database is published by the RSCDS Sutton Coldfield Branch as the “Sutton Coldfield Dance Index” and is updated on a fairly regular basis. I currently have on file the correct original tune for roughly half of these.

Some years ago George misplaced some of his band’s manuscripts. This made him realise that there had to be another way to store and carry all the correct music. As a result of this he came up with the idea of putting all his music onto computer so that it could be easily reprinted should anything go missing again. For the past 10 years he has constantly added to his collection and now has all the band music on computer.

As a result of this work George approached the RSCDS in 2004 with an idea to put original tunes for all the RSCDS dances into one single book, instead of the 60 plus books that existed. After an initial meeting with the MS committee they decided to take the idea on, and some 18 months later they eventually published “Originally Ours” which has sold very well, with sales far exceeding all George’s expectations.

George is currently the RSCDS Music Director, a post he has held for the past 4 years.