Distil is a twice yearly gathering of musicians rooted in folk and traditional music, but who are interested in expanding their creative horizons into other other areas of musical practice. Distil, which was established in 2002, allows musicians to work with experienced practitioners from other music worlds: jazz, orchestral, contemporary, in a mutual exchange of ideas and experience.
The Distil Workshops take place at New Lanark, a World Heritage site with a beautifully restored 18th century cotton mill village nestled in the spectacular south Lanarkshire valley in southern Scotland, close to the Falls of Clyde and less than an hour from Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Distil 10: 19th – 22nd March, 2009 in New Lanark.
Starting the fiddle at age 8, Ruaridh went on to be taught by Douglas Lawrence who encouraged him to enter competitions across Scotland as a means of gaining performance experience. In 2001 he attended Strathclyde university’s BA Applied Music course, studying classical violin with Clive Thomas. Since graduating, Ruaridh has spent his time performing and teaching fiddle, as well as writing music for his duo with accordionist Angus Lyon.
Tia Files from Oban focuses on guitar and bass guitar in her band, Bodega. She started playing the chanter when she was four years old which later led to a full size set of bagpipes at the age of six. By the age of eight she had experience and success with both fiddle and bagpipe competitions including the National Mod. Curious to learn different styles of music, she auditioned and was accepted to the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland for Children when only ten. When twelve she successfully auditioned to the National Centre for Excellence in Traditional Music at Plockton High School. It was here she first heard folk music and in her second year changed her first choice instrument (bagpipes) to guitar. Being at the music school led her to taking part in many concerts home and abroad including Donald Shaw`s Harvest and Celtic Colours in Canada. After Plockton, Tia moved to Glasgow to study instrument making. She currently plays with Bodega, Winners of the Radio 2 Young Folk Award in 2006.
Jenny Gardner has been a freelance musician based in Scotland for twenty years. Her main instrument is the fiddle and although performance and teaching have been a continuing thread throughout her career, she also has a wide range of experience in theatre, community projects, education and recording, releasing her solo album CHO CHUK in 2005. Jenny is founder of ‘Fun Fiddle’, a project set up to offer fiddle tuition to adults and children and is currently resident in Pathhead where she works regularly with local children in order to develop her skills as a Kodaly practitioner.
Sharon Hassan is a fiddle player from Insch in the North-East of Scotland. She studied at the RSAMD in Glasgow and was one of the first graduates from the BA Scottish Music course in 1999. Since then Sharon has done quite a bit of touring both here and abroad, taught in schools and for loads of different music projects/feisean/workshops. She is currently working at RSAMD as Manager of the Musicworks department there as well as continuing with her freelance work. When she gets a minute or two she gigs with her own bands One Fine Day and Hoolichan.
Sharon has a particular interest in writing music for young people and finding ways of arranging traditional tunes for youth ensembles of every level in a way that is in-keeping with her traditional roots as well as being innovative and engaging for the performers.
Paul Jennings plays drumset as well as an array of percussion and hand drums including Cajon, Darabuka, Djembe, congas and electronics. He has toured the US more than a dozen times, notably with the dance show Tapeire.
In recent years he has also completed an album with Acoustic/Roots band Findlay Napier and the Bar Room Mountaineers. In 2005 he co-composed and performed a pioneering musical commission for the ‘New Voices’ strand at Celtic Connections.
Over the last ten years Paul has performed with acts including Old Blind Dogs, Croft No. Five, Wolfstone, Peatbog Faeries, Capercaillie, TAPEIRE, Fred Morrison, Fribo, Julie Fowlis and many other well known folk names.
Lauren MacColl is a fiddle player deeply rooted in the Highland tradition. Learning through the Gaelic Fèisean movement, her playing saw her win the BBC Young Folk award in 2005, and subsequently form her band, the newly-named ‘MacCollective’. In late 2006 Lauren won a Donald Dewar award to fund her first recording, named Classic Album of Celtic Connections 2008, and has just released her second, a project to record tunes from ‘The Highland Collections’.
Borders fiddler Shona Mooney (2006 BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year) began playing music with her parents in the band O’er the Border and has gone on to feature prominently in The Shee, Borders Fiddles and has toured with the Scottish folk orchestra, The Unusual Suspects. As a result of winning the award, she gained the opportunity to record her debut solo album ‘Heartsease’ for Foot Stompin’ Records which combines traditional Borders material with contemporary self-penned tunes inspired by the Borders landscape, culture and people. She composed a piece in 2007 for the Distil England showcase titled ‘Unsung Heroes of the Scottish Borders’ and currently she lives in Hawick working for the Scottish Borders Council as their Traditional and World Music Development Worker.
Guitarist, fiddler, composer and arranger Innes Watson (BA Scottish Music RSAMD) Plays with some of the best up-and-coming acts of Scotland such as Lori Watson and the Rule of Three, Border Fiddles, the Treacherous Orchestra, new Scots-Norse project, Boreas and Maeve MacKinnon among others. He was also a short-term member of the currently non-touring Croft No Five!
Innes is working on a solo album which will feature brand new guitar music and concepts in contemporary Scotland.
Lori Watson is currently researching larger scale and experimental composition by traditional musicians in Scotland including her own creative projects, the most recent of which was a series of simple graphic scores for four traditional musicians. She took part in Distil in 2003 and has been involved as composer and performer at the Distil Showcase. Growing up in the Scottish Borders and learning fiddle from local teachers, Lori later learned and collected from the older players and manuscripts and is actively involved in the current resurgence of Borders traditional music. In recent years Lori has developed her interest in Scots song and her performances are now a combination of instrumental and vocal pieces. Lori has composed music for various ensembles and contexts and is interested in all kinds of musical interaction from improvisation to electroacoustic to chamber ensemble.
Carina Normansson’s (fiddle,voice) roots lie in Västmanland , Sweden and is devoted to researching the traditional music and song of this area. She is also involved in the music of Dalarna, both as a member of Falu Spelmanslag, and Träton with Ola. Carina is best known in Scotland for her work with Anglo-Swedish band SWÅP.
Ken Hyder is from Dundee and started playing as a kid in his grannie’s kitchen. She used to play piano and improvise within the Scottish tradition (diddling).
Since then, Ken has drummed and played the northern hemisphere the long way round from Vancouver to Vladivostok with a lot of jazz musicians and ethnic musicians including Russian gipsy diva, Valentina Ponomareva , the late Vladimir Rezitisky, Celtic musicians Dick Gaughan and Tomas Lynch, Tibetan and Japanese Buddhist monks, and Siberian shamans.
At the end of the 1960s he formed Talisker, a band set up to play jazz and Celtic music. They recorded a few albums and played round Europe. After that Ken moved to London and began opening up his music to influences further afield.
He played with jazz/improv musicians like Maggie Nicols, Elton Dean, Jim Dvorak, Larry Stabbins, Nick Evans, Tim Hodgkinson, Sylvia Hallett and Phil Minton and with folk musicians like Frankie Armstrong, Sainkho Namtchylak, and Scottish piper Dave Brooks. Ken has also studied Celtic music in Scotland and in Ireland – and shamanic drumming and khoomei overtone singing in Tuva, on the Mongolian border.
One of Ken’s more radical projects was an album of socialist music with Scotland’s strongest folk singer and musician, Dick Gaughan. It was a departure for Dick, not because it was a purely instrumental album, but because it was totally improvised. http://www.hyder.demon.co.uk/
Belfast born Stephen Deazley is a freelance composer, music director and animateur whose work spans many genres; contemporary classical; music theatre; opera; dance; education and new media. His music and education projects have been performed across the UK, in Europe and the USA.
Acknowledged as a champion of music for children and young people, he was the first composer to be appointed as Creative Director of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s education programme. Under his direction (1999-2005) SCO Education received national and international recognition as a UK leader in the field of orchestral education practice.
Recent and current projects include Helter Skelter for circus performers and large ensemble commissioned by Tramway in Glasgow, Thri Heids commissioned for professional ensemble, live electronics and young amateur performers with a range of physical disabilities; and DREAM ANGUS, an opera for Scottish Opera’s new opera showcase in 2008 with a libretto by author Alexander McCall Smith.
He is founder and artistic director of the maverick performance group Music at the Brewhouse. http://www.deazley.org/