Sunday, April 24, 2022

Playing Scottish Cèilidh music on accordion

Last Saturday was a milestone! I played my first Cèilidh, well sort of. Here's what happened; some local theater friends volunteered to learn how to dance at a Cèilidh while I played the accordion. Back in 2019, after a short visit to the Isle of Eigg, a small island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, I decided to incorporate Scottish Cèilidh music into a music theatre show about the island. I worked with several professional accordionists on Skype during the Pandemic. Mike Aman owns Monarch Accordions and we worked on my repertoire and technique. His accordion orchestras are legendary and his daughter is a national accordion champion. Sandy Brechin is in Edinburgh and he's one of Scotland's best known Cèilidh accordionists.

Cèilidh Dance Training

In any case, earlier this year it felt like it was time to come out of the woodwork so I reached out to several local organizations specializing in Scottish dance and one of them connected me with a Scottish couple living in Colorado who were involved with Cèilidh dancing in Scotland. We had a Skype call to discuss the specifics and penciled in a date to get together. Everyone was eager to participate and learn more about the dances and the culture behind them too. Playing the music was the easy part and everything seemed to flow naturally. We played tune sets for a Gay Gordon, a Reel and a Jig and it was so much fun! 🎭