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
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.
Davey is our drummer and travels the world with us. He does a lot of the setting up and taking down and is involved with all the bands. He leads the very successful Selkirk Haggis Hunt annually and the Selkirk Sessions folk festival.
Amelia Ewing (youth tutor)