Silly Wizard

Music from Silly Wizard

Photos of Silly Wizard


My brother, Gordon was part of one of the most famous Scottish folk bands of all time, Silly Wizard. They were the most exciting traditional folk band of their time. Gordon is brilliant at percussion, he was also probably one of the best bodhran players in the world. He was the rhythm man. He held them all together, but over the time you had John and Phil Cunningham, Phil now writes music for the BBC. He runs the Hogmanay show on BBC Scotland and he’s part of transatlantic sessions.

Phil, when he was 14, came down here and stayed with us for a couple of weeks. And I actually went and round folk clubs with him sang with him. And it was brilliant to do, what a talent. And Andy Stewart, who was one of the greatest songwriters to ever come back to Scotland, everybody sang his songs. But they were an incredible band and I used to go up when I was a kid to Edinburgh to the festival, great times. I learned to play the mandolin whilst on sessions with Silly. We used to play the Triangle Folk Club with people like Barbara Dickson

Then Silly Wizard became a proper band, they were touring the world. Any time they came anywhere near here, I would go and meet them and then I’d play with them, I have never played pipes so fast in my life, it was just an absolute joy to do. It was one of the highlights of my life to be able to do that. It all went silly when we started to do quite a lot of concerts with them when we were Jones and Company. They actually came down to the Floral Pavilion.

That particular night was quite eventful for me. Dougie MacLean, another fabulous songwriter out of Scotland, a very famous guy, was playing fiddle and singing. I’d learned one of his songs called Over My Mountain, and I asked his permission if I and the girls could sing it. And he said, ‘Of course you can’. We sang it in close harmony and in the interval he sat me down and he said, ‘that was really lovely but if you like that song, you’ll love this…’ And he sat there and he played Caledonia. Now, Caledonia is like the Scottish national anthem and he wrote it just at that point.

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