This week’s Album of the Week is Kissin Is The Best Of A’ from Bruce MacGregor and Christine Hanson.
Listen to our feature programme from 12 noon and 12 midnight on Saturday 21st January.
Kissin’ Is the Best of A’ – Bruce MacGregor, Christine Hanson & Friends: This lovely new album from Blazin’ fiddler Bruce with Christine Hanson on cello could be a follow up to his 101 Reasons To Do Nothing, albeit 10 years later, since Christine also featured on that album. Bruce writes in the sleevenotes that this CD is “a collection of tunes that we enjoy playing” . Included are the ancient air ”Gin Ye Kiss My Wife I’ll Tell the Minister’, The rather lovely ‘Sunday River Waltz’ and of course ‘Kissin’ Is the Best of A” from the mighty Athol Collection of 1884. Joining Bruce and Christine are Tim Edey on guitar and box, and Brian McAlpine on piano.
Taught the fiddle by the wonderful Highlander, Donald Riddell CBE, Bruce MacGregor never anticipated playing music for a living. As a graduate in Byzantine and Medieval Italian History at Edinburgh University, he discovered that conversations in bars never moved towards this topic and so decided to chance his hand on a Business post grad. at Napier University. It was here that he discovered he hated accounts and computers, and so that was two career paths crossed off the possible list. A return to his hometown of Inverness led to him to try and sell cars at his father’s garage. He quickly discovered he was pretty hopeless at this and he didn’t really like cars – he either drives a red one or a blue. So, he took his fiddle and went busking on the High Street with a pal instead.
A freak accident whilst being an extra in “Chasing the Deer”, one of the worst films ever made, resulted in him becoming a Researcher at the BBC in Inverness (it’s a long story…) A few years working there and moving on to being a Producer led to him making documentaries on famous Scottish fiddlers, which some folk obviously liked as they won two awards at the Celtic Media Festival. He made many feature programmes for BBC Scotland, including programmes on historical figures and landmark events.
However, the seven year itch had set in and he decided to set up Blazin’ Fiddles as a showcase band for a one-off tour. Fourteen years on and the band is still touring to packed houses throughout the country, having played at the Albert Hall, Buckingham Palace, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and hundreds of village halls in between.
Music has taken Christine Hanson from touring Canada’s High Arctic with a tango trio to playing traditional music in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.
While classically trained, Christine in her many roles – cellist, composer and sound designer – is eclectic in her musical explorations. Her experiences include compositional commissions, arranging, studio work, theatre work, and performing as an ensemble musician with a variety of groups that play classical, folk, pop-jazz, and experimental music. She is also an experienced instructor, teaching professional master classes in workshop settings on both sides of the Atlantic.
Christine also appears with the Amati trio in Canada.