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Celebrating 40 years of the Dundee fiddlers

Celebrating 40 years of the Dundee fiddlers

There’s a pause just before the arced bow comes down to kiss the strained strings of a fiddle.

It’s a moment musicians know well as 'the heartbeat of sound'; the silent beat that stirs anticipation and excitement for the song that it is to come.

It’s a pause that Dundee musician Paul Kinnear knows well.

“I get a sense of pleasure and relaxation with an instrument, I must admit. I think it’s the same for every player,” said Paul.

“They prefer us not to stamp our feet in rehearsal but your feet just can’t help tapping.”

Paul, 42, has been a member of the Dundee Strathspey and Reel Society for the last 30 years, a local group which prides itself on their guardianship of Scottish music.

Now, after four decades of history behind them, they are set to celebrate their 40th birthday year with a series of events throughout 2014.

“It’s the joy of the music that has kept me here so long,” said Paul. “I joined here when I was 13 years old and we have folk of all ages taking part.

“Our current music director is only 24 years old and our oldest original member, Tom Fenton, is 82 this year. Our age range of players at the moment is anywhere from the early twenties to the early nineties”

Over the decades, the group have performed on national television and across Europe, even heading to London to play at the great Albert Hall.

“I would have to say one of my favourite moments was one of our trips to Germany,” recalls Paul. “We were playing to a whole other culture and it was quite an experience.

“We all play a similar style of music in Scotland, but people’s tastes are different across the country. We play and cover quite a vast area but we have had to evolve and move with the times.”

Tonight, as a mark of their evolution and party spirit, the group will be hosting a celebratory ceilidh to help raise funds to put on an even bigger event later in the year.

Ian Paul

The group hope to release an album and hold a Fiddler's Rally in the Caird Hall on May 24, at 7pm, with invited fiddlers and accordionists from other reel societies across Scotland taking part.

As Paul said: “We’re taking the whole year as one big celebratory year. We’d love for you to join us.”

You can follow the adventures of the Dundee Strathspey and Reel Society online and get in touch with them directly if you are interested in their work.

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