Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club & Friends – Of an Island


Of an Island Review by Ian Dearden

What a delightfully pleasant task it is, to be asked to review this 2012 CD from the Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club (MSFC) and its’ talented and famous friends!!

Having spent some time in the early 1980s hitching all over Scotland (although sadly not to either the Shetlands and the Orkneys, the source of many of the tunes on this disc), and given the Scottish bloodline from my maternal grandmother, whose family came from Stornaway, I’ve long been drawn, irresistibly, to Scottish tunes and songs.

The MSFC is an extraordinary club – 17 years old, five CDs, and a thriving membership aged from 8 to 78.

When they perform, they do it ‘en masse’, which means, in English, one hell of a lot of fiddles!!

Founded in 1995 by (recently retired) pianist Judy Turner, and now under the direction of Matthew Robertson, the group is dedicated to playing Scottish tunes, and tunes from the Scottish diaspora.

On this fifth CD, Of An Island, there are bucketloads of such tunes.

This CD features a number of international guest artists, Chris Stout (fiddle) & Catriona McKay (harp), Alasdair Fraser (fiddle) & Natalie Haas.

The MSFC has had the benefit of collaborating with these guests, and the talented Australian fiddler George Jackson, and the inspiration is obvious in the contributions each of the guests has made to this CD.

The MSFC is a large ensemble (some 47 members, plus guests, perform on this CD), but the sound is always clear and crisp.

With backing instrumentation that variously includes guitar, mandolin, bass, piano, harp, and three cellos, there is a risk that the ensemble will collapse under the weight of numbers, but the arrangements are thoughtful, engaging, and reflect a keen appreciation (of the aural equivalent) of light and shade, ranging from delicate solo moments to the sound of thundering massed fiddles.

The tune selection ranges from the Shetland and Orkney Islands to Cape Breton, the Appalachians as well as a swag of original tunes and songs “in the tradition”, all of which will delight anyone with even a hint of the celtic in their bones, their musical DNA or their interest in music!!

Superbly recorded by the inimitable Hugh McDonald (no mean fiddler himself), beautifully presented with comprehensive liner notes, this is a ‘must have’ for anyone with a passion for Scottish fiddle music (and singing).

2 in stock (can be backordered)

SKU: TN1846-68 Category:


Now approaching our 25th anniversary and stronger than ever, the Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club explores the lively sounds of Scottish music, with repertoire that both acknowledges and reinvents traditional roots, drawing enthusiastic and loyal crowds. Regularly collaborating with some of the world’s best traditional musicians, the Melbourne Scottish Fiddlers deliver a charming and exhilarating show.

Musicians from 8 to 80 play together in our monthly gatherings, sessions and performances, and have recorded 7 CDs, with two of our CDs, “Gates of Gold” (2008) and “Of an Island” (2012), winning several awards. The Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club performs in many festivals around Australia.

We have undertaken successful major tours including a 2 week tour of New Zealand in 2005, 10 day tours of Tasmania in 2008 and regional New South Wales in 2010 and a mini-tour of Western Victoria in 2012. Our last tour was the biggest ever: 18 days around Scotland, including Shetland, during September/October 2015. Next one – it’s a bit hush-hush as yet, but we’re looking at Canada in 2023!

The group collaborates regularly with some of the world’s best traditional musicians, such as American-based Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas, Chris Stout, Ross Couper and Catriona McKay from the Shetland Islands, Adam Sutherland from Scotland, as well as home-grown heroes such as Chris Duncan, Catherine Strutt, Chris Stone and Catherine Fraser.

The Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club always gives a lively and captivating performance, with a heart-warming mix of the traditional and the contemporary, of songs and of tunes, that will bring a smile to the lips and perhaps a tear to the eye of anyone who can trace a link back to Scotland, to Shetland or even to Nova Scotia.

Additional information

Weight .075 kg
Dimensions 14 × 12.5 × 1 cm


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