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Ron Gonnella

Ron Gonnella

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Last update: 29th Aug 2013

Fiddler Ron Gonnella was originally from Dundee, and lived for many years in Crieff, Perthshire until his death in 1994. Gonnella's great grandfather was a Robert Dewar, who was a shepherd near Tulliemet in Perthshire. Ron Gonnella recorded at least fifteen albums and taught at MorrisonÕs Academy in Crieff for many years. When he wasnÕt there he was travelling the world playing Scottish fiddle, recording albums, and performing on radio, stage and dance halls. His great love was the music of the Golden Age of Scots fiddle, typified by the compositions of Niel and Nathaniel Gow, Robert Mackintosh, William Marshall and Joseph Lowe. Gonnella played in the Scottish Dance Band circuit with the bands of Jim Johnstone and Andrew Rankine. He had his own band for a while - featuring Iain MacPhail on accordion - but it was as a solo artist that he toured all over the world promoting Scots fiddle music.

Until he married - late in his life - Gonnella would sit in his small flat and listen to his precious record collection and practise the fiddle tunes for his next recording. Top Scottish fiddlers such as Duncan Wood and Gregor Borland have told me of their admiration for his skills and techniques, and I think of him as a fiddler's fiddler. The instrument he mostly played was a 1722 Italian violin made by Carlo Antonio Tanegia. I have been told that after his death there were a number of fiddlers desperate to try it to achieve the same wonderful tone that Gonnella produced; in the end it turned out to be a mediocre fiddle, and it was the musician who was special, not the instrument.

Some of Ron Gonnella's recordings are listed below.

edfan.jpg An Edinburgh Fancy (Scottish Records 33 SR 131, c.1964)
with Ian Gilmour & Meta Forrest, Duncan Robertson, Bill Clement, The Atholl Players

Side A: The Weavers of Newly/The Flowers of Edinburgh
Side B: Niel Gow's Lament for James Moray Esq. of Abercairnie (Niel Gow)

All tracks traditional

Ron Gonnella (fiddle), with Robert Campbell (piano)


scvm.jpg Scottish Violin Music (Scots Disc SDL-001, 1966)

Side A: The Braes o' Auchtertyre (Crockat)/The Miller o' Dervil (Barnett)/Jamie Shearer (Duncan); Hard Is My Fate/Mrs Greig's Strathspey/The Perth Assembly (Duncan); Miss Graham of Inchbrakie (Nath Gow)/Glen Rinnes (D Grant)/Loch Leven Castle; The Fallen Chief (J Scott Skinner); Scott Skinner's Compliments to Dr MacDonald (J Scott Skinner)/J F MacKenzie, Stornoway (Ross)/Bleaton Gardens; Cluny Castle (Troup)/The Duke of Montrose/The Duke of Montrose
Side B: The House of Skene (Davie)/Kilwinning Archers/Pretty Peggy; Niel Gow's Lament for James Moray of Abercairney (Niel Gow)/The Weavers of Newly/The Flowers of Edinburgh; The Rover (J Scott Skinner); The Highland Society of Scotland/Lady Madeline Sinclair/The High Road to Linton; Coilsfield House (Nath Gow)/The Fallen Hero (Nath Gow); The 'Bonnie Ann' (J Scott Skinner)/Mrs Reid of Kilcalmkill (D Grant)/ The Earl of Seafield (D Grant)

All tracks traditional unless otherwise noted

Ron Gonnella (fiddle), with Robert Campbell (piano)


Gow Scottish Violin Music from the Gow Collections (Scottish Records 33 SR 135, 1973)

Side A: General Robertson of Lawars (Bowie)/Miss Stewart of Grandtully/Dunkeld Steeple (Niel Gow); The Mill, Mill O/A Favourite Quickstep; Auld Robin Gray; Niel Gow's Lament for the Death of his Second Wife (Niel Gow)/Lady Charlotte Campbell (Nath Gow)/Kincaldrum's Reel; Wishaw's Delight/Drummond Castle/The Earl of Morton's Jig (Will Gow); Niel Gow's Farewell to Whisky (Niel Gow); Colonel Hamilton of Pencaitland (Nath Gow)/Colonel H F Campbell/Miss Grace Hay's Delight;
Side B: Lady Cunningham of Livingstone (Nath Gow)/The Perthshire Volunteers/Mr Sharp's Favourite; Roslin Castle/Garthlands (McDonald)/Lord Mauchline's Reel (McLeod); Bothwell Castle (Nath Gow); Mrs Hamilton of Pencaitland (Nath Gow)/The Duchess of Hamilton/Mrs Stirling of Keir (Bowie); The Bonniest Lass in A' the Warld/Mrs Adye (Logan)/Miss Gibson; Miss Sally Hunter of Thurston (Nath Gow)/Dumfries House/Miss Johnston of Hilton's Fancy (Nath Gow); The Caledonian Hunt's Delight (Miller)/The Caledonian Hunt (Dow)/Mrs Hay of Yester's Reel

All tracks traditional unless otherwise noted

Ron Gonnella (fiddle), with Hugh Melvin (piano)


Lorne Scottish Dance Band: Danse Ecossaises Vol.2 (Arfolk SB 319, 1973)

Side A: Gay Gordons; Gaelic Waltz; The Sailor Reel; Highland Schottische; The Wild Geese; March; Gaelic Waltz
Side B: Hoopers Jig; Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh Reel; Inch of Perth; retreat Airs; Gaelic Waltz; Speed the Plough; Highland Barn Dance

All tracks traditional unless otherwise noted

Ron Gonnella (fiddle), Alastair Hunter (accordion), Jessie Cruikshank (piano), Alasdair Cameron (bass), Jack Stephen (drums)


fancy.jpg Fiddler's Fancy (Lismore LILP 5017, 1975)
The Music of Scott Skinner and William Marshall

Side A: The Bonnie Lass o' Bon Accord (Skinner); Donald MacPherson's Lament/Mrs Will/Sandy Grant o' Battangorm (Skinner); Miss Gordon of Park/Miss Hannah's Jig (Marshall); Chapel Keithack/Mrs James McInnes, Edinburgh/Lochrynach (Marshall); The Cradle Song (Skinner); Dumbarton Castle/Hoo Dinna Ye Play Mair? (Skinner); Corgarff Castle/Deat and Dr Hornbrook (Skinner)
Side B: Music o' Spey/Mr Michie/Mr John Smith, Alford (Skinner); Lady Niven Lumsden of Achindoir/The Earl of Fife/Lowe's Hornpipe (Marshall); Mr Morison of Bognie/Miss Stewart's Jig - of Bombay/ Major L Stewart's Reel - of the Island of Java (Marshall); Roseacre/Forbes Morrison/Davie Work (Skinner); Sir Harry Niven Lumsden Bart. of Achindoir (Marshall); Sandy's Goat/MacLeod and Mackay (Skinner); The Weeping Birches of Kilmorack/Glen Cottage/Gibson's Whisky (Skinner)

Ron Gonnella (fiddle), with unknown (piano)


gems.jpg Fiddle Gems (Lismore LILP 5044, 1976)

Side A: Well May My true Love Arrive/Glenmorriston/The Northern Racecourse; The Rebel War Song/Belladrum House/The Favourite Dram; Well May Charlie Wear the Crown/The Northern Meeting/The Sprightly Minikin; Sitting in the Stern of a Boat (McLeod); The Beauty of the North (S Fraser)/The Stranger in Place of the Worthies of Yore/The Inauspicious Wedding Day; Good Wife, Admit the Wanderer/The Maid That Made the Bed to Me
Side B: The Fall of Foyers (S Fraser)/The North Side of the Grampians/In Dispraise of Whisky; Archibald MacDonald of Keppoch/The Expert Dancer/The Merry Making; Huntly's Wedding Medley (S Fraser)/The General Gathering, 1745/ The Shepherdess/ My Ain, Kind Deary; Hymn to the Saviour; My Wife is Forever Storming At Me/The Hawthorn Tree of Cawdor (Campbell)/Come Lads, Now Be Ready; Caledonia's Wail for Niel Gow/Angus Fraser's Strathspey (A Fraser)/Three Sheep's Shanks

All tracks traditional unless otherwise noted

Ron Gonnella (fiddle), with George Donald (piano) and John Strachan (bass guitar)


burns night Ron Gonnella's Burns Night (Lismore LILP 5070, 1977)

Side A: The Bonnie Wee Thing/The Miller's Wedding/Corn Rigs; Lenox Love to Blantyre/Laggan Burn/Lady Badinscoth's Reel; Balinamora Ora/The Lothian Lass/Over the Hills and Far Away; I'm Ower Young to Marry Yet/An' Ye Hae Been Where I Hae Been/Miss Forbes' Farewell to Banff (Isaac Cooper); Ay Waukin O; The Dumfries Volunteers (Clarke)/My Only Jo, and Dearie O/Salt Fish and Dumplings; Aileen A Roon/Ye'll Aye Be Welcome Back Again/Duncan Gray
Side B: Major Graham/Ca' the Ewes to the Knowes/Johnnie Cope; John Anderson My Jo/Grant's Rant/The Happy Trio (Masterton); My Wife's a Wanton Wee Thing/O, Kenmure's On and Awa Willie; Miss Admiral Gordon's Strathspey (Wm Marshall)/The Collier's Bonnie Lassie/Whistle O'er the Lave O't (Bruce); Afton Water; Willie Was a Wanton Wag/Ye're Welcome, Charlie Stewart/Maggie Lauder; Lady MacIntosh's Reel/Goodnight and Joy Be Wi' Ye A1/Auld Lang Syne

All tracks traditional unless otherwise noted

Ron Gonnella (fiddle), with Walter Blair (piano) and John Strachan (string bass)


master.jpg Scottish Fiddle Master (Lismore LILP 5099, 1980)

Side A: Annie Laurie (Lady John Scott)/Miss Barstow's Reel (R MacKintosh)/Miss Robertson (R MacKintosh); Bert Gonnella's Jig (Gonnella)/Lizzie Duncan's Fancy (Gonnella); Dandie Dinmont (J Lowe)/Sir David Davidson of Cantray (J Lowe); Miss Campbell of Saddell(R MacKintosh)/Miss Sophia Campbell (of Saddell's) Reel (R MacKintosh); Willie Smith (P Milne)/The Morrisonian Strathspey (Gonnella)/James Millar, Bullionfield; Durrisdeer (Lady John Scott); Herbie MacLeod of Boston's Hornpipe (Gonnella)/Ron gonnella's Compliments to Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia (gonnella); Miss Mary Lee's delight (A MacIntosh)/Miss Marianne Oliphant (Rossie's) Strathspey (R MacKintosh)/Hon. Mrs Maule's Reel (R MacKintosh)
Side B: Johnny Faa/Miss Agnes Loudon (R Lowe)/Rachael Rae (J Lowe); The Prince of Wales (J Lowe)/Sauteuse (J Lowe)/Jamie Gow, Crathie Bellman (J Lowe); Bonny Aboyne (P Milne)/Mr Eager's Strathspey (J Lowe)/Miss Sandra Webster (Gonnella); Jamie Lyall (P Milne)/Willie Blair (Queen Victoria's Fiddler) (J Lowe)/Rut Bell's Reel (gonnella); Miss J Rose's Reel (R MacKintosh)/Mrs Oswald (of Auchincruive's) Favourite Reel (R MacKintosh)/The Good Doctor (Gonnella); Willie's Fair, and Willie's Rare/The Flowers of the Forest; Miss Gray of Carse (Archie Allan)/The Fife and Forfar Hunt's Favourite (David & Archie Allan)/The Forfar Hunt (David & Archie Allan)

All tracks traditional unless otherwise noted

Ron Gonnella (fiddle)


Crieff Hydro Live from Crieff Hydro (Crieff Hydro CHD 2401, 1981)
with Morag Murray, Iain MacPhail and John Gibson

Side A: Pibroch of Bonnie Strathearn/Barbara Bruce of Upper Cairnie (Gonnella)/Loch Earn (Nathaniel Gow); The Rowan Tree; Miss Oliphant of Gask's Delight/Miss Amelia Oliphant (Gask's)/Green Shades of Gask; Ron Gonnella's Compliments to Oona and Brian Ivory (Gonnella)/Happy May the Pair Be (Gonnella); The Laird of Cockpen/Bob and Anne's Strathspey (Gonnella)/Edith Raitt's Jig (Gonnella)/Mr Duncan's Delight (Robt Mackintosh)/Miss Rattray
Side B: The Braes of Glenturrote/Wi' a Hundred Pipers/ Wha'll Be King but Chairlie; The Auld Hoose; The Crieff Hydro March (Gonnella)/Janet Leckie's Strathspey (Gonnella)/Elizabeth Donaldson's Reel (Gonnella); The Lad of the Leal; The Piper o' Dundee/The Woodbridge Strathspey (Gonnella)/Rosemary's Reel (Gonnella); Duncan MacDonald's Fiddle (Gonnella)/The Road and the Miles to Dundee/Will Ye No' Come Back Again?

All tracks traditional unless otherwise noted

Ron Gonnella (fiddle), Morag Murray (vocals), Iain MacPhail (accordion), John Gibson (piano)


gms.jpg Ron Gonnella Plays the Fiddles of Gow, Marshall and Skinner (Ross Records WGR 028, 1982)

Side A: Niel Gow's Fiddle (Nath Gow)/Duke of Atholl's Reel (Niel Gow)/Mrs MacDouall Grant (Nath Gow); Niel Gow's lament for Abercairney (Niel Gow); Sir Walter Scott (Neil Gow Jr)/Pennycuik House (Neil Gow Jr); MacPherson's Lament; The Countess of Dalhousie (Neil Gow Jr)/Admiral Nelson's Hornpipe (Niel Gow); Cam Ye By Atholl? (Neil Gow Jr)/Here Awa', There Awa', Wandering Willie (trad)/Bessie Bell and Mary Gray (trad)/Flora MacDonald's Lament (Neil Gow Jr); Niel Gow's lament for the Death of his Second Wife (Niel Gow); The White Cockade (trad)/Mount Stewart House (trad)/Miss Mary Douglas (Niel Gow)
Side B: The Duchess Tree/The Kirrie Kebbuck/E M Ross's Welcome to Kiltarlity Cottage (all Skinner); Miss Laura Andrews/The Laird of Drumblair/Bonnie Banchory (all Skinner); Ashton Gonnella of Shreveport, Louisiana/Louis Gonnella of Muirhead (both Gonnella); Ron Gonnella's Homage to the the Gows, Marshall and Skinner (Gonnella); Miss Gordon of Park/Miss Hannah's Jig (both Marshall); Lament for Sir Harry Niven Lumsden of Achindoir (Marshall); Captain Cameron's Volunteers' March - Balvenie/The Marchioness of Huntly's Jig/Craigellachie Lasses (all Marshall); Mrs Major L Stewart of the Isalnd of Java/The De'il Among the Mantua Makers (both Marshall)


Ron Gonnella (fiddle)
with John Gibson (piano), Graham Robb (double bass)


eight Music for Eight Scottish Country Dances (RSCDS 13, 1983)

Side A: Miss Margaret Brander/Hon. James Ramsay's/Perth Assembly; Joe MacDiarmid's/Academy Jig/Hot Punch/The Steamboat; Our Highland Queen/Gallaton/Arbeadie/Davie Taylor/Tulchan Lodge/Hamilton's/Milladen; The Ladies of Dingwall/Davie Work/Miss rattray/Kincaldrum's Reel
Side B: Jockey's Dance/Lady Charlotte Bruce's Favourite/The Gobbie O/Archibald Minto; Archie Patterson/Miss Campbell of Saddell/Willie's Gaen to Melville Castle/Bonny Mally Lee/Hebridean Waulking Song; The Reel of the Royal Scots/Lieutenant Colonel MBH Ashmore, MBE


Ron Gonnella (fiddle)
with Iain MacPhail (accordion), David Flockhart (piano), Stan Saunders (bass)


eight The Scottish Sound of Ron Gonnella Playing a Stradivarius (AB 003-D, 1984)

Side A: Morrison's Academy Anniversary March (Gonnella); Caller Herring; Crieff Hydro March (Gonnella)/Castles In the Air/Flowers of Edinburgh; Cradle Song/The Marchfield Brae Scots Measure (Gonnella); Bert Gonnella's Jig/Lizzie Duncan's Fancy/Alex and Hazel Barbour of Bonskeid/Happy May the Pair Be (all Gonnella); Dundee/Dunfermline; General Baillie (Skinner)/Miss Lyall/Black Jock of Skellatur (Skinner)
Side B: Cape Breton March (42nd Regiment)/Herbie MacLeod's Hornpipe (Gonnella)/Aldridge's Hornpipe; The Bonnie Lass o' Bon Accord (Skinner); Miss Sandra Webster/Evelyn M E Murray of Cambride Mass (both Gonnella); Ae Fond Kiss/Rev Archibald Minto's Farewell to St Andrew's/Gallaton (Skinner); Durrisdeer; The Queen's Welcome to Invercauld (Skinner)/The Miller o' Dervil (Barnett)/Gibson's Whisky (Skinner); Bovaglie's Plaid (Skinner)/Milladen (Skinner)/Miss Rattray

All tracks traditional unless otherwise noted

Ron Gonnella (fiddle)
with George Donald (piano), Graham Robb (bass)


Lad o' Kyle The Lad o' Kyle (Atholl Brose AB008, 1986)

Side A: Rantin' Rovin' Robin/Willie Brew'd a Peck o' Maut/My Love She's But a Lassie Yet/Lovely Polly Stewart; I Lo'e Nae a Laddie but Ane/Dumfries House/My Wife's a Winsome Wee Thing/O Kenmure's On an Awa' Willie; The Queen's Visit to Morrison's Academy (gonnella); Afton Water; Mary Morison; The Marchioness of Huntly's Strathspey/Mrs James McInnes, Edinburgh/The Marquis of Huntly's Farewell/Mr Gordon of Hallhead's Strathspey (all Marshall); Speed the Plough/Sir David Davidson of Cantray (John Lowe)/Loch Rynach/Major L Stewart's Reel (of the Island of Java) (Marshall)/Mr Charles Stewart, Pettyvaich (Marshall)
Side B: The Duke of Atholl's Jig/Captain Frank Thomson, Crieff Golf Club/Bill Craig's Jig (all Gonnella); Roxburgh Castle/Over the Hills and Far Away/The March to Reform Street (Gonnella)/Here's to Thy Health, My Bonnie Lass; O' a' the Airts the Wind Can Blaw; At Waulkin' O; Lady Ann Hope/Miss Barbara Stewart, West Part, Elgin (Marshall)/The Scotsman in America/Ayrshire Lasses/Green Grow the Rashes O; The Lassies of Melrose/An I'll Awa' to Bonnie Tweedside/Sir Walter Scott (Neil Gow Jr)


Ron Gonnella (fiddle)
with George MacIlwham (flute), Angus Cameron (fiddle), Bill Hendry (piano), John Strachan (string bass), Walter Blair (piano)


Friend Ron Gonnella's International Friendship of the Fiddle cassette (Scotdisc KITV 453, 1988)

Side A: Kelvingrove/Glasgow Highlanders/Murdoch MacPherson's March (Gonnella); The Master of Barga (Wilfred Gillies)/Campbell's Road (Dan R MacDonald)/The High Bridge (Dan R MacDonald); Mrs Jamieson's Favourite (Charles Grant)/Sir David Davidson of Cantray (John Lowe)/Gillan's Reel (Peter Milne); Neil and Rhona Gonnella's Silver Wedding (Gonnella)/Donna's Wedding March (Gonnella); Strathearn/The Strathearn Herald Reel (Gonnella); Fil-O-Ro/Brochan Lom/Lord MacDonald's Reel; Bonnie Dundee/Elliot's Fancy (Jimmy Shand)/Dundee City Police Pipe Band (Jimmy Shand); Niel Gow's Farewell to Whisky (Niel Gow)/The Beaux of Oak Hill/Mrs MacLeod's Reel
Side B: Ron Gonnella's Compliments to Jimmy Shand (Gonnella); The Flower of the Quern/Professor Blackie/Marie's Highland Lad (all Skinner); The Provost of St Vigean's (Lindsay Ross)/The Corner House Jig (Andrew Rankine); John Beckwith's "Ye Banks and Braes"/The Lime Hill Strathspey (Dan R MacDonald); The Sahkin's o' the Pocky (Milne/Skinner); Sir Torquil Monroe/Elizabeth Donald, Moss-Side/Bill Sutherland (all Adam Rennie); June & Harry Goldenberg's Air (Gonnella)/Staten Island; Kinrara/The Duke of Gordon's Birthday/The Morayshire farmer's Club (all Marshall) Scots Wha Hae/Auld Lang Syne

All tracks traditional unless otherwise noted

Ron Gonnella (fiddle)
with George Donald (piano) and John Strachan (string bass)


Magic Ron Gonnella's Fiddles Magic cassette (Barga Music BM 3042, 1992)

Side A: My Love She's But a Lassie Yet/Davie, Davie Nick Nack/The Rose Tree; My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose; I Lo'e Nae a Laddie But Ane/My Wife's a Winsome Wee Thing/The Prince of Wales' Jig; The Thistle of Scotland/The Gallant Weaver/The Bluebells of Scotland; Lochnagar; The Dule of Perth/The Lass of Gowrie/The Bridle; Rev. Archie Minto's Farewell to St Andrew's Kirk (Gonnella)/Janet Leckie's Strathspey (Gonnella)/Elizabeth Donaldson's Reel (Gonnella); Aikey Brae/Bessie Bell and Mary Gray/The Bonnie Brier Bush; Barbara Bruce of Upper Cairnie (Gonnella)/Kinloch of Kinloch/Aldridge's Hornpipe
Side B: The Muckin' o' Geordie's Byre/The Scottish Horse/Janey Duncan's 92nd Birthday (Gonnella); Kilmarnock/Wiltshire; The Minestrone March/The Spaghetti Strathspey/The Ravioli Reel (all Gonnella); Jock o' Hazeldean/Comin Through the Rye/The Bonnie Wells o' Wearie; Highland Laddie; Dunkeld hermitage Bridge/Doon the Burn, Davie Lad/Crieff Golf Club Centenary Reel (Gonnella); The Queen's Visit to Morrison's Academy (Gonnella); Bert Gonnella's Jig/Bob and Anne's Strathspey/Lizzie Duncan's Fancy (all Gonnella); Scots Wha Hae/Auld Lang Syne


Ron Gonnella (fiddle)
with Bill Hendry (digital piano)



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