'Scotland's most meaningful contemporary songwriter' The Scotsman
This year Brian McNeill celebrates the 40th year of a career that has established him as one of the most acclaimed forces in Scottish music. Brian has been described as ‘Scotland’s most meaningful contemporary songwriter’ (The Scotsman); add to that his work and influence as performer, composer, producer, teacher, musical director, band leader, novelist and interpreter of Scotland’s past, present and future and you have a man who has never stood still. He has performed around the globe, both as a soloist and with some of the era’s most influential bands, including Battlefield Band, which he founded in 1969, and Clan Alba.
Brian was born in 1950 in Falkirk and began his musical training in his early teens with violin lessons, but soon forsook that for the electric guitar. There followed a comprehensive musical education and mildly misspent youth - until his student years brought him to Celtic music. As a direct consequence, in 1969 he formed the Battlefield Band, which became one of Scotland's best known ensembles.
Brian plays fiddle, octave fiddle, guitar, mandocello, bouzouki,viola, mandolin, cittern, concertina, bass and hurdy gurdy. The importance of his songwriting, mostly about Scotland's past and future, has long been recognised. Songs including The Yew Tree, The Lads O' The Fair, The Snows of France and Holland, Strong Women Rule Us All With Their Tears, Any Mick'll Do and No Gods and Precious Few Heroes have established him as one of Scotland's leading songwriters.
Brian has two published novels, the first of which,The Busker came out in 1989 and a year later he left Battlefield Band to concentrate more on writing and solo projects. Since then he has also toured with Dick Gaughan, Clan Alba, Kavana, McNeill, Lynch and Lupari, Martin Hayes, Natalie MacMaster, Feast of Fiddles and his old friend Iain MacKintosh.
His audio visual shows, The Back O' The North Wind, about Scottish emigration to America, and the sequel, The Baltic Tae Byzantium, which explores the influence of the Scots in Europe, have won wide critical acclaim. His continuing connection with America's Lone Star State led to him being created an honorary Texan by the then Governor George W. Bush. For six years he was Head of Scottish Music at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
|If you want to know more about him, click here to visit his website.|
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