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With traditional songs, contemporary melodies and original compositions, CHERRYGROVE are one of Scotland’s most exciting folk ensembles. Nominated for ‘Up and Coming Artist’ at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards 2014, they have enticed audiences internationally with performances at the London 2012 Olympics as well as Europe’s largest celtic music festival, Festival Interceltique in Lorient, France. With graduates from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, former students of the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music and a finalist from the BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2013 competition, the band produce an exceptional level of musicianship which is evident in their thoughtful and sophisticated arrangements.
Marianne Fraser, Guitar & Vocals
Now a graduate from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Marianne is CherryGrove’s guitarist and singer. She was first introduced to traditional music by taking fiddle lessons with Aonghas Grant Senior when she was in primary school. Marianne then attended the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music in Plockton. Now a guitar teacher and keen songwriter Marianne describes her main influences as Karine Polwart, Boo Hewerdine, Nickel Creek and Regina Spektor.
Mhairi Mackinnon, Fiddle
Perthshire’s Mhairi Mackinnon is one of Scotland’s most innovative fiddle players. A former student of The National Centre of Excellence, she has studied under the expertise of Marie Fielding, Blazin’ Fiddles Iain MacFarlane and Andy Thorburn as well as Session A9′s Gordon Gunn. Mhairi has been involved in many projects and collaborations throughout the world and in the later months of 2013 Mhairi was invited as a guest artist to perform live on BBC Scotland’s ‘Take the Floor’ hosted by the legendary Robbie Shepherd MBE. As well as recording live on air, Mhairi has also acted as a soloist with Phil Cunningham and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra on a studio recording for the short film, ‘Whistle My Lad’.
Sarah MacNeil, Harp
Sarah began learning to play harp at age 11 and was first tutored by Rosie Morton. She has since worked with many accomplished players including Ailie Robertson, Heather Downie, Maeve Gilchrist, Michael Rooney, Corrina Hewat and more. While still at school she attended the Junior Academy of the RSAMD and won the prestigious Scottish Music Prize. After four years of studying music Sarah is now a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where she has obtained a First Class Honours degree, specialising in Scottish music.
Grant McFarlane, Accordion
Grant McFarlane is a dynamic young accordionist who performs and teaches extensively around Scotland and further afield. With a passion for composing, one of Grant’s tunes won a competition to be the soundtrack for the Royal National Mod 2013 and as a result, his ceilidh band opened the Mod in his hometown of Paisley last year. As a tutor with Feis Rois and as a senior tutor with Musicworks, Grant has a wealth of experience in both private and group teaching as well as delivering traditional music workshops. He is also promoting traditional music on an international scale having been part of musical collaborations in France, Germany and the USA.
Heather Shelley, Piano
Heather was brought up in the village of Golspie in the north of Scotland. She has developed her pianistic skills during her time at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is now a key figure in the Scottish Traditional piano scene. She has performed with the RSNO, at the European Network of Folk Orchestras Festival in Spain and a solo recital at the Steinway Hall in London. Heather regularly composes and takes much delight in teaching.
Fergus Munro, Drums
Having picked up his first set of drumsticks at age 13, Fergus began playing in pubs, clubs and venues at a young age. After moving to Glasgow to study, he quickly integrated into several bands already busy touring and recording. Entirely self-taught, Fergus draws on a wealth of experience gained from touring and performing at festivals and venues across the UK and Europe, in a variety of musical collaborations. Fergus’ influences include Steve Gadd, Benny Greb, Stanton Moore, Bernard Purdie.