The Celtic Music Radio Album of the Week commencing Saturday 1 November is probably the first album in any genre ever devoted to the Octave Fiddle (aka Baritone Violin), a regular acoustic fiddle strung with octave strings with a range between the viola and the cello and a dark, ancient sound. The album is called ‘Octave Fiddle – Baritone Violin’ from Gavin Pennycook.
The repertoire is rooted in Scottish and Irish traditional music, but also includes tunes from Scandinavia, England and Wales, along with Gavin’s own fiddle versions of a few famous classical tunes, maybe never previously recorded by a traditional fiddler.
Gavin Pennycook has Ewan MacPherson on guitars and jew’s harp and also John Morran on guitar and mandola.
Gavin learned to play fiddle and whistle as a youngster with Frank McArdle of St Roch’s Ceili Band Irish Minstrels Comhaltas in Glasgow.
He started playing mainly Irish music, and it still forms a huge part of his repertoire, but Gavin began to play a lot more Scottish music during his early teen years, then Scandinavian, Breton, Asturian and other European and North American traditional music from his late teens onwards.
Gavin played with lots of bands in the 1990s and early 2000s, but recently he has been focusing more on small-scale and solo projects, though he says that he still enjoy a good session!
Gavin was the first Scotsman to win an All-Ireland fiddle title and winning the Amber Fiddle Award 2012 seems to mean that he is the only fiddle player ever to win major solo titles in both Scottish and Irish music.
Gavin’s latest project is an album on the octave fiddle (aka baritone violin), a regular acoustic fiddle strung with purpose-built octave strings.
Celtic Music Radio Album of the Week, Saturday 1 November, 5.00pm and Monday 3 November 2014 at 7.00pm.