The Cromar Folk Club landed on St. Andrews day. The club is the last Friday of each month at the Aberdeen Arms, Tarland. This months club’s guest were the Sangsters. They had an extra role to play this month too, to kick off the start of the Cromar Folk Festival 2012, the first ever. The Sangsters hail from Fife and they gave us a stirring evening of songs, ballads and tales. Every song filled with passion and their acoustic harmonies being a special treat. A couple of songs on the video below:

St. Andrews weekend saw the first Cromar Folk Festival take place.  Starting on the Friday evening with the Cromar Folk Club itself.  Joe Atkin compared the evening with no shortage of local open mic talent to get the evenings entertainment going.  The Sangsters where the evening guest.

Saturday started with a fiddle Work Shop at 11am in the Aberdeen Arms by Paul Anderson and then after a bit of lunch a session from 2pm till the early hours.  Here is the session in full flow:

Come and join in St. Andrews weekend 2013.



The Cromar Folk Club has been going all year and eventually I’ve got a video prepared for October.  Paul Anderson, Tarland fiddler leading the way followed by ballad song from Shona Louise Donaldson.  Alistair McDougal also caught on film.  A cracking night of local talent again.

With video production back operational, the October 2011 blog post.  This months guest was Alistair MacDougall, a regular at the Club and at the weekly Tarland session at the Aberdeen Arms.  Before Alistair took to the stage, a healthy list of open mic guests.  Aboyne fiddler, James Littlejohn opened with a sombre slow air before livening up the notes with a pipe march and strathspey.  Next an accordion set by Gary Anderson, foot tapping tempo jig followed by a more continental style that wouldn’t have been out of place on the streets of Paris.  Ballads from Shona Donaldson with a spooky Halloween theme, a robust bothy ballad from Eion Taylor.  David Anderson on fiddle teamed up with Norman on guitar to produce a rich toned waltz and more.  The star guest and our MC for the evening Paul Anderson completes the guests on the video at the end.  A great variety of entertainment, thanks to all, on and not on the video.

The star guest then took to the stage.  Playing both solo and with accompaniment along the way with Rob on mouth organ and Paul Anderson on fiddle.  Songs and ballads that ranged from ‘Black is the colour’ to ‘The water is wide’  to the tales of the ‘Rambling boy’.  Thoughtful words and relaxing tones on guitar made for an enjoyable evening of music.

The Cromar Folk Club was full to the gunnels this month.  Jonny Hardie and Normal were the special guest but before they took centre stage there was a raft of open floor guest eager to entertain.  Gary Anderson got the evening off and running with some waltzes before upping the tempo.  A Derby singer then shared a couple of ballads.  Guests from afar continues with Australian flute playing along with a guitar for a hearty rendition of the Irish Rover.  Open floor acts of all ages prepared the stage for the entry of Jonny and Norman.

First half open floor acts:

Second floor acts:

Here is some links to other performances,  Healther Anderson & James Littlejohn  and the finale.

A brighter summer’s night greeted the Cromar Folk Club.  The Club opened the floor to all and that produced singers from as far as East Germany to Alford, and Dess to Essex, England!  Not only an international dimension but the ages of artists ranged from the young to the not so young but all young a heart.  The evening was opened by a few tunes from Aboyne fiddler, James Littlejohn followed by a first time artist at the club, Chris Sawyer also fae Aboyne that “pushed the definition of folk” with a couple of more modern ballads.  Next our youngest artist of the evening, Rhiann Matthew sang a beautiful ballad and followed it up with touching fiddle playing with her mum, Heather Anderson.  More fiddle, song and guitar playing followed.  Here is a summary of the first half of the evening artists that include: Chris Sawyer, Rhiann Matthew, Heather Anderson, Eilidh Anderson, Ellis Milton, Ian Taylor, Alastair MacDougal, James Littlejohn.

Alan Taylor sang heartily a ballad about the changes seen in our local economy and entertained and produced laughter telling the bothy ballad about a local bobby (policeman).  The second half started with our regular MC and host of the Cromar Folk Club, Paul Anderson, fiddled out a few toe tapping tunes before treating us to the first public playing of a new composition, a Lament he had just written to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the Battle of Harlaw,  a bloody affair by all accounts.  Next our German guest took to the floor with guitar to sing heartily a couple of well know Irish songs. Songs and tunes kept flowing until a combined sing-a-long of the Wild Rover brought the evening to a rousing end.

The second half floor acts included, Paul Anderson, Klans Luckan, Glinde, East Germany, Pat Bartlet, Chelmsford, Essex,  Alan Taylor, Matt Milne and Sandy fae Dess.

The first Cromar Folk Club of 2011 took place on the last Friday of May 2011 and while it has been a few months since the last club this evening was worth waiting for.  The evenings guest was singer,  Shona Louise Donaldson.  But before Shona took to the floor, open mic spots were snapped up by local artists.  The first being local fiddler David Anderson, followed by a couple of first time performers at the club, who sang ballads, then back to the fiddle with James Littlejohn playing March, Strathspey and Reel by J. Scott Skinner followed by the Blue Mount Waltz, Pipes filled the Aberdeen Arms hall as Matt and co. stirred the audience, with the first half artists completed with a song by Alistair on guitar, accompanied by Paul Anderson, our MC for the evening.  With the audience warmed up, Shona took to the stage.

The video below contains just a few of the ballads and songs Shona treated the audience too.  Each introduced with intriguing background stories or tales.  From her first note to her last, the tone, empathy and rhythm of her voice produced the most majestic and enjoyable listening.  The audience was encouraged to join in many a chorus line even in Gaelic but we let Shona marvel us with that!  To close the first half, Shona team up with our MC for the evening (and husband) for a fiddle duet, that included tunes from Sweden and those closer to hame.

Part II review coming soon:

Open Floor artists First half:

This months guest acts were taken from the young generation of folk.  But first the evening was kicked off by the ‘elder’ generation as David Anderson warmed up the audience with tunes on his fiddle.  Open mic performances followed on guitar -a newly written folk tune about rubbish! Then the first guest Eilidh Anderson on fiddle, the first of the young guests to take centre stage.  Traditional Scottish tunes started her set but she added in a non Scots set to mix up the variety and to show off her skills.  The next young guest was Eion Taylor.  Lively mandolin playing followed by bothy ballads, complete with a re-enactment of the horse pulling a plough.  Then it was time for a break.

The second half had flute solo and tales, California guitar / songs and more fiddling  before the third young guests of the evening.  Brothers, fiddling solo and as a duet. The solo’s included a Scandinavian reel that was played at a fair lick, impressive playing from both the brothers.  An accordion, guitar and fiddle entertained before the last of the young guests took centre stage, this time sisters.  Full of enthusiasm the quines filled the room of song. Duets, solos, tales and a poem showed much diversity of talent.  A great mix of high tempo songs for all to join in, with slower and very moving love songs that captured the audience in awe.  The young guests were complete but the audience wanted more so they all joined together to play and sing together ( they had arranged a set at the break!) and that sent everyone home with a big smile on their faces.  The young generation delivered a top night of entertainment.

There was a ‘tap’ on Morven and a night sky more familiar to October was hanging over Tarland on the last Friday of July.  However, this months club soon ensured plenty of warmth and summer fun was around.  This month the club guests were Carol Anderson and Martin MacDonald.  But before they took to the floor it was a busy open mic evening, a total of 12 acts over the evening.  Paul Anderson was the MC for the evening and got things started with a lively couple of sets on the fiddle.  Song, bothy ballads, accordion and fiddle and more soon had the hall full of locals and tourists clapping along, tapping their feed and enjoying a laugh at the tales told.  Then the guests took centre stage.

Time was running on so the second half got underway, guitar and song, fiddlers and bothy ballads heartily sang by young and old(er) with the audience willing to join in.  Then the guests returned with more stirring tunes, stories, Martin’s drum rolls on guitar and solo renditions of Marches entertained.  The tempo was slowed right down too as Carol played a soul smooth Waltz before swinging into Retreat Pipe Marches before they finished with high tempo reels.  However, the audience was not ready for a close to the club so other fiddlers joined in for a tour of familiar reels before the final chord was played.  A joy of an evening again.

A richt fine summers nicht for the Cromar Folk Club this month.  And there was no shortage of entertainment with a string of open floor performances.  The evening started with a March, Strathspey & Reel on fiddle followed by trio of ballads and songs.  Some self written, others lamenting the tax mans share O’ the whisky and a duet.  A tin whistle – guitar combo set the stage for this month special guest and founder of the Club, Paul Anderson.   A set of hornpipes got the tempo off to a lively start.  A wee history lesson on James Scott Skinner introduced a seamless set of his tunes, Slow Air to Reel.

A short video of some of the first half open floor performers.

This months special guest, Paul Anderson in full flow.

The second half started with one great performance after another as ballads were recited, a fiddle duet, mandolin and bothy ballads heartily sang.  Paul returned to close the session with some dazzling fiddle playing including a request for the Orange Blossom Special, which entranced the audience.