Auchencairn musician Ruth Morris has juggled many different roles during her successful career in music.
A full-time professional musician, music and dance teacher, Ruth is a member of many high-profile bands including Journeyman, Moishe’s Bagel and Bellevue Rendezvous and has devoted her life to bringing music to as wide an audience as possible.
More recently, Ruth has teamed up with Gavin Marwick (fiddle) and Pete Garnett (accordion) to form cѐilidh dance band Whirligig and they begin their tour of the region at Eskdalemuir Community Hub on Friday (8 September) as part of the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Live Support for Ambition scheme.
Originally from Yorkshire, Ruth began her musical career as a classical pianist and says she discovered the joys of traditional music while globetrotting in her early 20s.
She said: “I travelled around the world playing fiddle, experiencing different cultures and musical forms. I took up the nyckelharpa in 2005 and that instrument opened up a whole new dimension of music for me.
“Being a member of so many different bands allows me to experiment with many forms of music. Whirligig is a cѐilidh dance band so the emphasis is on arranging musical compositions for dancers. The tune requires the right type of feeling to get people up onto the floor whereas a concert is purely about the sound.
“Gavin, Pete and I have been playing together for so long now that we can be inventive in the line-up. We are putting a lot of energy into the Whirligig tour and intend to have a lot of fun.”
The Whirligig cѐilidh dance tour continues with gigs in St Couans Hall, Kirkcowan, on 29 September; St Ninian’s Hall, Isle of Whithorn, on 21 October; Corsock Village Hall, on 27 October, and Gatehouse of Fleet community centre on 24 November.
Ruth added: “We are very keen to bring good music to the more remote parts of the region and into some of the smaller halls. The Arts Live project has helped us not only to do that but also to keep the ticket prices low.”
“The events start at 8pm, finish at midnight and provide a fun and lively evening of great family entertainment. We have put on a Christmas cѐilidh dance at Auchencairn for years and they always sell out. The wonderful thing about cѐilidh dances is that everyone can enjoy them, from children to the elderly. Teenagers love them.
“Everyone is welcome to come along and there’s no experience necessary as I’ll be calling the steps. For those who don’t want to dance, there is some great music to listen to and we’ll be playing concert material between the dances.”
Photo by Kim Ayres Photography