Sheila Sapkota (Organiser / Teacher)
Although a science teacher to trade, Sheila Sapkota has played the violin/viola for many years and plays locally and further afield.
“I discovered fiddle music when I was sixteen years old (having studied classical viola for eight years). There was no turning back! Traditional fiddle was so lively and fun!
Fiddle playing is fun and I believe lessons should be fun too. It is about meeting people and making music together as well as listening and learning different types of music. “
When Sheila, established ‘Riddell Fiddles’ (named after an area near Selkirk) in 2003 it was just as “a wee fun group” at a time when there were no other comparable facilities in the area for learning to play traditional music. Now the organisation, through its inexpensive weekly group lessons, has introduced several hundred people from all backgrounds, generations and ability levels to traditional fiddling and the sheer delight of making music together. The group has toured at home and internationally. Their website is a known traditional music resource the world over.
Sheila has played with Riddell Fiddles, associated bands and her own duo all over the word and always has some great ideas to spread the ‘word of music making’ around.
Louise Douglas (Advanced Class Tutor)
Louise runs her own class at Riddell Fiddles and is an extremely popular teacher.. Her knowledge of Borders tunes and her style of playing are second to none.She is in great demand to perform locally but is always on hand to offer advice and encouragement to learners. Louise is always happy to join in with the current musical madness – be it a musical train jaunt to mallaig or a tour of Barbados.
Karen Hendry (Administrator)
I came to fiddle playing in my late middle age but I have always had a love of traditional music. I have never played any musical instrument before or learned to read music but Riddell Fiddles has still enabled me to play fiddle. I always thought I couldn’t play an instrument but Riddell Fiddles inspired me to give it a go and now I wish I had learned years ago. The personal satisfaction I get from learning a new tune and the enjoyment I get from playing with others is enormous. The group has also widened my circle of friends and opened up areas of music in the Borders and beyond that I was unaware of.
I have over 25 years office experience – administration, organising details, communicating information to people or anything ‘office based’ comes as second nature to me now which allows me to cope with the varied administrative demands that arise from Riddell Fiddles
Donald, originally from Kelso but now Hawick-based, came to folk music relatively late, his early musical influences being classical and rock. He played electric guitar in rock cover bands in the mid-1970’s before giving up performing to become a maths teacher. Dick Gaughan was an early folk influence but it wasn’t until a visit to Denholm Folk Club in 1996 that Donald started playing acoustic guitar exclusively, rather than electric.
Initially, most of his songs were drawn from contemporary American sources such as Guy Clark, Steve Earle, John Hiatt, John Prine and Nanci Griffith but more recently Donald has started to concentrate on traditional and contemporary Scottish songs.
As well as playing for Carlenjig he is the resident guitarist for Riddell Fiddles, and teaches and builds guitars professionally.
Borders fiddle player Shona Mooney is one of Scotland’s leading traditional musicians. Since winning the prestigious BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2006, she has appeared at international festivals such as Tønder (Denmark), gone on tour with Scottish Folk orchestra, The Unusual Suspects, The Shee, Borders Fiddles and recorded her debut album, ‘Heartsease (viola tricolour)’. It fuses musical agility with thematic concept, traditional Borders style with contemporary flair, and it’s no surprise that it has gone on to have plenty of positive feedback, including ‘Top of the World’ (editor’s choice) in Songlines magazine, 5-star reviews in The Herald and multiple broadcasts on BBC’s Late Junction.
Currently I am living in the bonnie town Hawick, in the Scottish Borders. I am employed by the Scottish Borders Council as a Traditional and World Music Development Worker. I teach the fiddle around five schools and help to organise workshops, events and projects in traditional music all over the region.
Catriona is a proud bearer of one of the world’s great fiddle traditions, that of the Shetland Isles. A star pupil of the late Dr. Tom Anderson MBE, Catriona at once embodies the strength and spirit of her heritage and the freshness and diversity of a thoroughly modern performer. Her superb playing and great charisma, have established her world wide reputation. In 1991 her dexterity and presence became acknowledged on a wider stage, when she won the prestigious BBC Radio Two Young Tradition Award Her album ‘Bold’ (peerie angel productions PAP001) sees her flourishing as a progressive performer in her own right, offering a wealth of exciting, original musical ideas whilst still firmly holding hands with the past, a part of the ever evolving tradition.
Raised in Galloway, Amy Geddes is now at the forefront of contemporary Scottish fiddle playing as a performer, teacher and composer. She has performed in Scotland and Europe with various artists including Tannas, the Scottish Step Dance Company and Savourna Stevenson and all female group Maysha. Her fiddle style has developed over the years through playing with a numerous musicians in an eclectic variety of musical styles including, for example, a performance on a tribute album to Brian Wilson and with a new piece of music for the Edinburgh Mela, working with Chinese and Pakistani musicians. Amy has an assured and unique fiddle style firmly rooted in Scotland yet enhanced by an increasingly broad wealth of musical experience. Amy is now based in Edinburgh and is a full time musician, performer and teacher.
IAIN FRASER is in constant demand as a performer, teacher & workshop leader. Iain grew up surrounded by music and now tours regularly throughout Scotland and North America with a large repertoire that ranges from older 18th century tunes to new compositions inspired by his family and surroundings in his adopted home in the Scottish Borders.
His particular interests include exploring the great rhythmic & emotional capabilities of the fiddle as well as the relationship of the fiddler with dance & older styles of fiddle music. He has earned a reputation as a soloist with a large repertoire of fine Scottish tunes & is actively involved in promoting the learning & preservation of traditional music.
Formerly principal fiddle tutor at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama in Glasgow, Iain is now a director at Merlin Music Academy
Tony was born and raised in London but now lives in Selkirk.
His musical career began at the age of 11 when he became a choir boy. He did this until his voice broke at the age of 15. At the age of 17, he bought his double bass and began playing in a skiffle group. After two years, he went electric and started playing the electric bass in a rock and roll band. He subsequently played various other types of music, including rhythm and blues, country music and folk music. Music lovers of a certain age may well remember him performing in two legendary bands, Blackcock Spinney and the Jerx, in and around the Scottish Borders in the1970s.
He is a behavioural scientist by training and has spent all his working life in management education and training. He is currently a self-employed management training and development consultant. He is a self-taught musician. He plays music for fun.
He regards playing with Riddell Fiddles as a pleasure and a privilege, providing him with the opportunity to play with some outstanding musicians. It has also given him the chance to get back to playing the double bass, after the best part of 40 years away from it. He strongly supports the work that Riddell Fiddles does in helping people of all ages, backgrounds and ability levels to develop their musical skills and enjoy playing and performing music.
Ian Oliver was born and brought up in the Jedburgh area. He went to school in Jedburgh and then Hawick High School, before going to Heriot Watt University to study Civil Engineering.
He has always had an interest in photography, but this interest only became more serious in 2001, when he joined Galashiels Camera Club and the Royal Photographic Society. He holds a Licentiateship with the RPS. He has also had a number of acceptances in National and International Photographic Exhibitions.
After 27 years in the Water Industry, the opportunity arose to take voluntary redundancy in 2006, and he took the bold step of changing career completely, and took a course in picture framing.
In 2011 he opened his own Gallery where he frames his own images for sale, as well as framing almost anything for anybody, and has a good range of quality crafts from the Borders and beyond. You can find the Gallery in Tweedside Road, Newtown St Boswells. (See www.tweedsidegallery.co.uk)
His images are mainly landscapes, but has had an involvement with folk music locally for a number of years, and is the official photographer for several folk festivals, as well as Riddell Fiddles, and also helps look after their web site.
Ten years working in finance in London has prepared me for the weekly chaotic coffee carousel which is Riddell Fiddles. I have responded to the challenge and appreciate that the coffee and cake plays an enormous part in Riddell Fiddles’ success. I dry the dishes in time to the music.
I live in Selkirk and also work at the high school.