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It has been suggested that the first move to play Irish music in a pub was in The Black Cap in London's Camden Town in 1947, followed by The Devonshire Arms, also in London. From then it spread over the years so that there are now Irish pub sessions all over the world, from Japan to Rio de Janeiro. Of course there were jam sessions before, during the Jazz era for example, but nothing has caught the people's imagination like the Irish pub session.

One reason for this, I think, was during the folk revival of the 1960s and early 1970s, when groups like Planxty, The Bothy Band and De Danaan burst onto the scene. Many young people were entranced by this exciting new sound, and determined that they too wanted to play Irish jigs and reels. This is true to an extent in Scotland where, in spite of having its own thriving traditional music culture, the majority of pub sessions are predominantly Irish.

I believe things are changing though, as more people discover the quality of Scottish music available, and exciting recording artists such as Jock Tamson's Bairns, Catriona MacDonald, Deaf Shepherd and Martyn Bennett exerted their influence. Edinburgh has a very healthy session scene, and now you're as likely to hear Scottish music being played as Irish.

As someone who has been involved in the Edinburgh session scene as a player and an instigator, I'm committed to improving people's awareness of Scots music and creating an environment where Scots music is not only accepted, but is seen to be the norm. This section of the web site aims to provide resources for people who are interested in playing Scottish music in a session setting. Click on the links the the right to take you to the various pages. If you have any particular questions or problems, let me know (email me).

Nigel Gatherer

 Nigel Gatherer, Crieff, Perthshire |