Monthly news summary of all the happenings and up and coming events in the Scottish Traditional Music scene.
Born Richard Peter, the eldest of three children, in 1948 his mother, Frances MacDonald, was a Highland Scot, originally from Bohenie in Lochaber, whose first language was Gaelic. She was a singer in both Gaelic and English. His father, Dick, was born in Leith of an Irish father, an Irish speaker and fiddle player, from Doohoma in Mayo.Gaughan was brought up immersed in the musical traditions and culture of the Gaels, both Scots and Irish, which naturally, therefore, provide the foundation for everything he does.
He has been a professional musician and singer since Jan 1970. Has been playing guitar since the age of 7 and made his first solo album in 1971. Working mainly in the areas now known as "Folk" or "Celtic" music, he has recorded quite extensively since then in many countries and in various combinations. Has also worked extensively as a session musician in a wide variety of musical styles.
During this time he has also been fairly active as a record producer, midi programmer, composer - composing the music for films for the BBC, Scottish Arts Council and independent producers - actor and theatre music director, having been in both roles with the celebrated 7:84 (Scotland) Theatre Company in the early 80s, songwriter whose songs have been recorded by, among others, Billy Bragg, Mary Black and Capercaillie, and also served for several years as a reviewer/columnist with Folk Review magazine in the late 70s. Instigated the setting up of the association Perform in the early 80s and was its Chair for 2 years.
He was an early member of the band Boys of the Lough and is on their first album and was with the now-legendary Scottish Folk-Rock band, Five Hand Reel, making 3 albums with them. In the 90s he founded and produced the short-lived but quite extraordinary ensemble Clan Alba.
Having very eclectic tastes, he also plays everything from free jazz and rock to country music and has studied orchestration to develop his compositional and midi programming skills. He plays most fretted stringed instruments but his natural instrument, and perhaps what he is happiest doing, is acoustic guitar. His greatest musical love is for the ancient traditional Scots ballads. Also know as The Muckle Sangs (the big songs), these are the big story songs which form a substantial part of Scotland's living wealth of traditional song.
Over the years, Gaughan has recorded and performed many of these "Muckle Sangs", The great Scots Ballads are mostly of very great antiquity with some of the themes and motifs being traceable back thousands of years. Full of mystical and supernatural references. they are very dramatic and powerful and Gaughan has always insisted that the greatest singer of ballads he ever was privileged to hear and learn from was the late Jeannie Robertson.
Gaughan Live! At The Trades Club By Dick Gaughan
You go home from a Dick Gaughan session feeling exhilarated, not just at the wonderful skills of the most potent singer ever to emerge from the Scottish folk-music revival, but by the sense of the stark exposition of wrong and the tremendously argued legitimacy of right.
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