NOW WE ARE SIX
In late September 2016, following the death of Whigmaleerie’s
brilliant fiddler Ian Ross after a short illness, the remaining
Whigs decided not only to continue with the band but also to
step out into new territory by inviting two younger fiddle
players to join the band. Not only have Whigmaleerie discovered
two exceptional fiddlers, they have also found two musicians
whose command of other instruments weave a new vibrant sound and
exciting material for both the ceilidhs and the songs.
Whigmaleerie are proud to announce to an unsuspecting world –
‘Now We are Six’.
John Duncan of Sketraw, originally from Leith, relocated to
Aberdeenshire after military service. John began playing Trombone
and e flat bass at school at the tender age of 11 before progressing
to playing in championship brass bands. During his army career, he
discovered traditional folk music and learned to play both guitar
leaving the military, John played in the local folk music scene
around Aberdeenshire and Moray, and in 1985 founded Whigmaleerie
with Alistair Robertson. ‘Big’ John continues to play guitar, calls
the ceilidh dances, and shares vocals with John Woodside. A huge
presence both on and off stage, it is alleged that John ensures that
the other band members do as they are told..... occasionally!
keyboard player Alistair Robertson hails from New Pitsligo
and is a co-founder of Whigmaleerie.
played accordion before transferring his skills to keyboards, and
now has the unenviable task of "holding it a'gither" for the band,
but please don't ask him to sing! His enthusiasm sometimes needs
curtailment, yet on other occasions he prefers a more relaxed,
Towards the end of 2016 Fiona Jamieson was invited to play
with Whigmaleerie. She began playing Scottish fiddle music when she
was 9 years of age and hasn’t stopped. From years of playing in
groups, meeting other musicians and courses like "The Splore" and
the Applied Music course at Strathclyde University, Fiona has had
brilliant experiences and a lot of fun playing and learning more
about the tradition of Scottish music. However, that’s not all - as
a classical violinist she currently plays with the Grampian Concert
Orchestra and the Loanhead Quartet, and she certainly knows her way
around a piano or keyboard.
Having played with various traditional music groups and ceilidh
bands over the years including the Garioch Fiddlers, Celtacad, Kask,
and Ceilidh Mor, she is very excited to be a vital, creative part of
the unique Whigmaleerie sound and style!
Stuart Fowler, the band ‘junior’, will play with Whigmaleerie
from 2017. He was raised in Buckie with fiddle music sounding
throughout the family home – his dad was an accomplished fiddler,
and Stuart now resumes his late father’s role of playing fiddle
alongside John Woodside.
Stuart has another
connection with Whigmaleerie - he plays the electric fiddle
previously owned and played by the late Ian Ross. When Stuart isn’t
fiddling, he likes nothing better than playing the guitar – another
Alex Sutherland, born and bred in Banff has the reputation for
being a hard-hitter ... with soft touches! A versatile drummer, he
has been known to perform the occasional drum solo when the band
disappear off-stage to escape a battering!!
Alex is the band’s expert on current chart hit music, with compiled
playlists entertaining guests through the pa system during the bands
Whigmaleerie’s principal guitarist, John Woodside, moved to
Aberdeenshire over 20 years ago. He is an award winning
multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, and has gained respect as a
booking agent for folk artists in both Europe and UK.
2008, Whigmaleerie made him an offer he couldn't refuse and he
became the "new boy" extending their repertoire and expanding their
sound. Equally comfortable with either acoustic or electric guitar,
his various other stringed instruments are kept locked in a cupboard
to protect the neighbours from "traditional tinitus"!
Ross from Portgordon, Whigmaleerie's fiddle payer for almost 20
years passed away in September 2016 after loosing his fight against
Leukaemia. Ian studied violin under the late Miss Kim Murray and due
to his progress over the years was able to be accepted into the Band
of the Corps of Royal Engineers at the age of 14. This was one of
the few establishments in the British Army that had a working Full
Symphony Orchestra and Ian had to wait until his 15th birthday
before signing up and setting off to Chatham in Kent, 600 miles from
He served with the "Band" for over 24 years, playing Violin, Viola
and Clarinet, touring such places as France, Belgium, Holland,
Germany, Northern Ireland, Gibralter, Hong Kong and the Falkland
Isles. He was the leader of small ensembles and his style and
command of solo "Scottish Fiddling" made him in great demand and he
was much appreciated. He will be missed by us all.