I am excited to announce my new record “The Lost Summer” which is coming this spring! I’m working on finishing it up, having started the recording process a couple years back, in late 2021. I am running a crowd-funder to get it over the finish line and would be so grateful if you’d consider helping me out. You can pre-order the album, I’m putting together a brand new book of my tunes which you can order, there are fiddle lessons, photographic prints and you could commission me to write a tune!
I just had a brilliant weekend of shows with the core band for the record - Conor Hearn on guitar, Ethan Setiawan on mandolins and Brendan Hearn on cello. It was so lovely to play in some places that are special to us - One Longfellow Square in Portland and The Dance Hall in Kittery, Maine and back in the Boston area, at Club Passim in Cambridge.
This weekend I’m headed out for some shows with Corner House, going as far as Delaware, with a couple shows in New York and one in Rhode Island.
My duo with Ethan Setiawan, Hildaland, has a new record, “Sule Skerry” coming out on the 3rd of November! Preorder/save that now, here. The first two singles are out now and a third, the title track, comes out on the 25th of October. We are also delighted to say that we are going to be in Glasgow for Celtic Connections festival in January. We have a few other shows coming up in Maine, Indiana and Michigan as well, find the info here.
Lots of fun things in the works for 2024, I can’t wait to share! I’ll leave you with some film shots from some time in Maine with family.
Well it’s been a few years since I wrote on my blog here! Thought I’d write a little about what I’ve been up to and what’s to come. Back in March I made it home to Scotland for the first time in well over three years, after I finally got sorted with a Greencard. It was amazing to see my family and friends and surprise my Granny and folks, who had no idea I was coming! I found some undeveloped rolls of film and discovered some photos from the past 5 years, including the above pics with my pals the Hearns, back in 2017!
When I got back to the States, I had a couple of lovely shows with two of those Hearns, Brendan and Conor, along with Ethan. We had Dylan Ladds film and Peter Atkinson record a show in the Armory in Somerville, here’s a little teaser of that.
I’ve been working on a new record with these lads playing with me, along with some other special guests. I am working on a name for that, finishing it up, creating artwork and hope to get it out into the world later in the year.
Meanwhile, I have a busy summer ahead of me, lots of gigs and festivals with Corner House and Hildaland. I’ll be playing some of Ethan’s music from his new record, Gambit, on a couple of shows. I’m headed back to Scotland for weddings and catch-ups and hopefully lots of music, too.
I’ve been really enjoying working on some web design lately, something I’ve done for my own projects for years, but hadn’t for other folks until recently. Get in touch if you’re interested in working with me, I’d love to talk! Same goes for photography, album layout and such like. Here’s the cover of Maura Shawn Scanlin’s beautiful new record, which I had fun creating.
It’s beautiful weather here in Maine this week and so I’m going to head out and get some seeds in the ground, before I head to Brattleboro VT, to work on some new music with my pals Alex and Eric, in Bellwether. Happy spring!
Corner House I have been having a lot of fun playing with my new trio Corner House and I’m really excited to be bringing them over to Scotland to play some concerts this month. We will be starting out in Orkney and working our way down to Glasgow, playing in some lovely spots. Come along and bring all your friends!
We are extremely grateful to have received support from a number of local businesses for this tour, so huge thank you to Loganair, S&JD Robertson Group, Highland Park, Pentland Ferries, The Brigg Larder, Hair&Beauty at Salon 7, Deerness Distillery, Orkney Ferries, The Longship and Kirkness & Gorie.
8th June Gable End Theatre, Hoy, Orkney 9th June Woodwick House, Evie, Orkney 10th June Stronsay Hall, Stronsay, Orkney 12th June Graand Owld Byre, Westray, Orkney 14th June Burray Hall, Burray, Orkney 15th June Lyth Arts Centre, Lyth, Wick 16th June Arnisdale Ceilidh House, Arnisdale, Glenelg 17th June The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen 18th June Sofar Sounds, Inverness 19th June Folklub, the Hug and Pint, Glasgow
As well as the tour, we are really excited to announce the release of our first recording. The self-titled EP draws heavily on both American and Scottish traditional fiddle music, and highlights the areas where the two intersect. It features compositions from each of us, including my tune “Gabe’s 24 Hour Tash,” “Friends with the Weather” by Setiawan, and “Work”, co-written by Setiawan and Hawkins. Each of these tunes play with the forms and tropes of these styles, and this exploration is continued with the group’s take on traditional tunes from both sides of the Atlantic.
Its out on the 8th June, click the link below to pre-order a digital copy, or come along to one of our shows to pick up a physical copy.
As well as Corner House, I’m excited to have Katie McNally and Conor Hearn coming back to Scotland for some more concerts in Orkney and beyond. They couldn’t get enough of the grey July weather, sea swims, boat parties and Orkney gin and so will be heading over again in July!
17th July Braemar Gallery, Aberdeenshire 18th July Torridon Estate House Concert 19th July Lyth Arts Centre, Wick 20th July SofarSounds, Inverness 22nd July The Reel, Kirkwall, Orkney 24th July The Graand Owld Byre, Westray, Orkney 25th July Skaill House, Orkney 26th July The Hug & Pint, Glasgow
My 6th semester at Berklee College of Music was another brilliant one, taking lessons with Darol Anger and playing in a quintet under his direction, learning some clawhammer banjo from Bruce Molsky, playing Bela Fleck tunes in Joe Walsh’s ensemble and more fun playing with World Strings and working on an arrangement of a new piece to play with the group, with the help of Eugene Friesen. I’m already really excited for my final year and can’t believe it’s come round to that already!
Here’s a video of World Strings playing a piece written by violinist Seoyeon.
Here’s a Fiddlecam video of ‘Child’s Play’ in Joe Walsh’s Bela Fleck ensemble and a few recent pics. Follow Fiddlecam on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube, I’ve been posting lots and will be doing lots more when out and about this summer!
Here are a few of my lovely musicians friends who I have had the honour of photographing/videoing recently: Lula Wiles, Rachel Sumner, Owen Marshall and Jenna Moynihan, Sadie Gustafson-Zook, George Clements and Rakish.
I managed to get out and about a bit this semester, with short trips to Portland MA, NYC and Cleveland, as well as Hanneke Cassel’s Pure Dead Brilliant fiddle camp. Emilie and I explored the beautiful NYC Botanic Gardens and accidentally ended up in a photo in the New York Times, playing some tunes in a newly opened Irish pub..
I enjoyed taking lots of photos for the Berklee Instagram account again this semester, as well as performing at the Middle East Festival and various Berklee American Roots Program events, including a fun square dance with Bruce Molsky.
And survived another mostly cold, wet, grey and snowy ‘spring’ in Boston! (Photo of me by Ethan Setiawan.)
After getting back home to Orkney last month, I had another lovely visit from Elly Lucas,
our yearly catch up (we don’t get to see each other nearly enough!) Lots of fun pottering about Orkney, taking photos and playing a few tunes together
I hope to see you at a concert somewhere this summer. (Please do help spread the word even if you can’t make it. It’s such a huge amount of work to put these things on and always a bit nerve-racking, not knowing if folk will come out! We hugely appreciate when folk support live music and take a chance on new music; it’s nowhere near as fun playing to an empty room…)
Thank you for taking the time to read, have a fantastic summer!
Is it really mid February already?! I’m a bit late with this but better late than never?! 2017 was another brilliant year for me, which started out with the live launch of my debut album Out of My Own Light, at Celtic Connections
Festival in Glasgow in January. It was a fantastic evening, with a fantastic bunch of musicians and friends and I’m delighted with the response I had to the album and the reviews it received.
“The Margaret S Tait Project builds a musical bridge between memory and motherland and it’s a powerful document.”★★★★ (New Internationalist Magazine)
“This is a truly beautiful piece of art.” ★★★★ (Songlines Magazine)
I was incredibly excited to kick off 2018 launching a new project with some of my favorite fiddlers, Laura Wilkie from the
Highlands of Scotland and Jenna Moynihan and Katie MacNally at Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow in January, sharing the stage with the fantastic Le Vent Du Nord. We share a passion for both Scottish and American fiddle music and after chatting about the importance of fiddle camp in fostering that, decided we should play some music together and Celtic Connections was the perfect festival for our debut show! I can’t wait to play with these women again, hopefully it can happen in the near future, watch this space!
This year I have, again had the chance to photograph so many wonderful, talented friends, here is a selection of photos.
I also had a lot of fun shooting video of musician friends, including this one of a bunch of housemates and friends:
This summer one of my fiddle pupils, Katrina, turned 16, and for her birthday she got dolled up 50s style, along with her friends (another of which I used to have a lot of fun teaching too) and I got to come along and take photos, all round Edinburgh! It was a fantastic day, and so lovely to see the girls looking so beautiful and grown-up!
This summer I had a lot of fun playing music all over Scotland with my great friend Conor Hearn playing guitar with me. We started the tour in Orkney, where we were joined by New England fiddler Katie McNally for some island hopping and a couple of mainland shows. We visited the Ring of Brodgar and shot a wee foggy video..
I was extremely honored to have been asked to represent Orkney in a fantastic project, spearheaded by Alex MacDonald from Lewis, which celebrates the links between three Scottish island groups, Orkney, Shetland and the Hebrides. It was a lot of fun to work with Maggie Adamson from Shetland and Jane Hepburn from Lewis, along with our brilliant accompanists.
NuDay Syria Fundraiser
I was delighted to be asked to play a few tunes in a fundraiser concert, organised by Katie McNally, to help raise money for the charity NuDay Syria this autumn. I enjoyed playing some tunes with guitarist Eamon Sefton and fiddler Emilie Rose.
I set up a youtube account, as well as an instagram for Fiddlecam this summer and took a lot of videos while traveling around. I was very grateful to have been gifted a GoPro camera in order to upgrade fiddlecam a little and have been having a lot of fun with that since!
North Coast 500
I had a fantastic couple of days driving up the North West coast of Scotland, when my Canadian cousin Judy came to visit. We took the long road home, on the way up to Orkney and saw some really beautiful spots along the way.
My lovely friends Steven and Mikeala had the most picturesque wedding on the island of Mull this summer and I had a fantastic time taking photos at it. I mean, just look at that golden sand and blue sea, do this not look like a Visit Scotland ad to you?! <3
My beautiful, talented friends Eden and Lukas got married outside of Boston in October and I had so much fun taking photos at the beautiful autumnal wedding! Eden and Lukas make the most gorgeous banjos, check them out here: www.ozarkbanjo.com
It has been another fantastic year at Berklee College of Music, I’ve learned from so many inspiring and brilliant teachers and had some incredible opportunities. Earlier this year I was extremely lucky to have had the chance to perform with world renowned pianist Tigran Hamasyan, along with Berklee World Strings. His music was an inspiration to me while I wrote my album, so this was an exciting thing to be involved in. We also recorded strings on an album of jazz ballads by Kenny Werner and Peter Eldridge and traveled to Connecticut to teach high school kids and play a show there too. I really love playing with this fantastic group!
I had the chance to play at Freshgrass festival with two of my housemates, Ethan Hawkins and Ethan Setiawan, in our (recently named, thanks to our friend Dr Fogel) trio, Corner House, as part of the Berklee American Roots Showcase. Mum and dad had their first trip to Boston and came along to the festival with us for the weekend, dad took this little clip of us playing in one of the galleries at Mass MoCA.
I’m over the moon to say that my album ‘Out of My Own Light’ is released tomorrow, 2nd December 2016!
I am so so thankful to so many people who have helped along the way with this project, in so many ways and I’m over the moon with the outcome and can’t wait to share this music.
I am extremely thankful to the incredible team in the studio; Jennifer Austin, Mike Vass, Su-a Lee, Duncan Lyall, Signy Jakobsdottir, Angus Lyon and Mike Guest; it was such an honour and a privileged to have the chance to work with you all and I enjoyed every minute of it. Thank you to Nick Turner and Mary-Ann Kennedy of Watercolour studio, a beautiful and inspiring setting to record an album and to Iain Hutchison of GloWorm Recordings, Alison Smith at Maxwell Music and all at Golding Products.
A heartfelt thank you to all my family and friends at home and across North America; to Alasdair Fraser and all at Valley of the Moon fiddle camp, Joella Foulds and Celtic Colours Festival, to everyone who hosted me, looked after me, inspired and encouraged me. Thank you to my cousin and fantastic travel buddy Alice Tait. A special thank you to Betty-Lou, Del, Dovie, Lorne and Meb for their memories of Margaret, of the war and of Orkney and to all of their families for such a warm welcome.
Thank you to Lachlan Young for his hard work on this project, to Colin Gray, Iseult Timmermans, Sarah Fishlock and Street Level Photoworks for help and advice. Thank you to Duncan McLean for the literary advice, to Sinclair Roberston, Leah Seatter and the Orcadian, Radio Orkney, Sue Wilson, John Crosby, the Orkney Trad Music Project, Jenny, Hazel and the Reel. A huge thank you to Douglas Montgomery, without whom I would not be where I am today. Thank you for inspiring me right from the beginning and for your continued support over the years!
I am eternally grateful to my family for their support and for trusting me with my Grandmother’s treasured diaries, letters and photographs and allowing me to tell her story.
Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered the album and helped me to raise funds to study at Berklee College of Music - I am so so grateful for your help in making this amazing opportunity possible for me and I can’t wait to share what I am learning and to make more music!
This project would not have been possible without generous funding from Creative Scotland, S & J D Robertson Group Ltd and Enterprise Music Scotland. I am extremely grateful for this.
I am delighted to be home after a fantastic year at Berklee College of
Music, back just in time for another fantastic Orkney Folk Festival and
some beautiful Orkney sunshine! (The best kind..)
I was really chuffed to have achieved a full set of A’s for this
semester and I feel I’ve learned so much in the past 8 or 9 months there
and met so many fantastic people. I am really excited to say that I
have just been awarded repeat funding from the Robertson Scholarship
Trust and I’m awaiting decisions from a couple other trust funds as to
whether they might help me for another year also. I am excited to return
and am working hard to make it possible. Being able to work as a
photographer for Berklee’s marketing department has been a huge help, so
I hope to be able to continue doing so in September. I have signed up
for some great classes and will continue to learn from Bruce Molsky, as
well as Darol Anger and technique expert Sandy Kott. Exciting times!
It has been so lovely to be back home in Orkney, as well as catching up
with people in Glasgow. I had a lovely photo shoot with fiddler Eilidh
Firth the other week and have a couple more lined up in the coming
months, which I am looking forward to. I had the chance to photograph a
beautiful Orkney wedding at the St Magnus Cathedral a week or so ago and
I’m looking forward to one in Hoy at the end of July. We were
incredibly lucky the have the beautiful Poppies display up at the
Cathedral, which made a beautiful backdrop for the group photos.
This week I am just outside of Paris, catching up with my English ‘twin’, the lovely Elly Lucas,
getting ready to photograph a French-Russian wedding in
Saint-Germaine-En-Laye. We are both a bit giddy with excitement, having
taken a peek at the venue and the couple’s plans for the day! We then
have a couple of days to explore Paris, before we head back to Sheffield
and work with the equally lovely Rosie Hood, on photography for her upcoming album.
Last time Elly and I got together for a photographic adventure, we hiked
to the Whangie, in the Kilpatrick Hills, near Loch Lomond, and we also
spent a lovely day in the Glasgow Botanic Gardens.
I’m really excited to say that I’m going to be playing some concerts all
round Scotland this July, with some great friends! Galen Fraser and I
met at his father’s fiddle camp Valley of the Moon
in California, in 2013 and have been great friends since. During the
past year in Boston, we often got together and played music, at home and
in various Irish pubs, along with lots of great musicians and friends.
Galen has just finished making his debut album ‘Mischief Managed’ (we
had a great time taking photos in Boston for the artwork!) and if we are
lucky, he may have a few copies with him! Take a look at his website
We are excited to play music from both of our album projects, as well as
lots of our favourite tunes from Scotland, Ireland, America (I have
really enjoyed lessons in Old Time fiddling with Bruce Molsky at
Berklee!), Scandinavia and beyond, as well as tunes learned at Valley of
the Moon. We will be joined by lots of friends along the way and are
really looking forward to getting out and about and playing our music.
We are delighted that NorthLink Ferries are helping us out with some discounted travel, thank you to them for their sponsorship.
Out of My Own Light
I am chomping at the bit to release my album, though shall have to
remain patient, as the plan is for an official release on the 2nd of
December! I am currently looking to book a release tour in January, so
will have more updates on that in a couple months time.
I am still working my way through the list of donators to make sure that
have sent out all the rewards for my Indiegogo campaign, please do get
in touch if you haven’t yet received your CD etc. I have had some really
lovely feedback so far, so I am really delighted about that - I have
been excited and nervous to hear what folk think, so it’s lovely to hear
such positive things about it! Thank you once again to all who helped
me to make it to Berklee, by helping me with my Indiegogo fund-raiser,
it is so much appreciate.
I’m extremely excited to say that I have been offered a place and a generous scholarship, to study music at Berklee College of Music in Boston in September! I auditioned in London in Feb and have been offered an almost full-fee scholarship, so I am now looking to raise the remainder of the fees living costs, in order to take up the place. I have launched a crowd funding campaign, with lots of things in return for donations. I would very much appreciate if you would take the time to have a look and share the campaign if you can:
Bichan’s vividly expressive and evocative chamber-folk score underpinned a wonderfully engaging, absorbing illumination of past lives and family ties. Sue Wilson, The Scotsman, 25th May 2015
I have just about recovered after a crazy weekend at the Orkney Folk Festival, which saw me perform my first show for ‘Out of My Own Light’ and play several gigs with the Fara lasses, as well as the Fiddle Gathering and joining Hadhirgaan, Douglas Montgomery’s school fiddle group, for a tune (a fair few years since I played with Hadhirgaan!) I’m absolutely delighted with how my concert went and totally over the moon to have received such a fantastic review from Sue Wilson, in her round up of the festival in the Scotsman on Monday. It was really wonderful to have so many family and friends of my Grandmother there and again at the special viewing of the exhibition in the Pier Arts Centre, I was delighted to hear so many nice and encouraging words from folk. Thank you again to the festival for having me and for such a great weekend, I can’t wait for Orkney Folk Festival 2016! Take a look on my blog about the project to see photos of the exhibition, concert and the photographic book:
I put together a behind the scenes video from our time at Watercolour Studio in Ardgour (near Fort William) and at Gloworm studio in Glasgow recording piano parts, featuring a rough of one of the tracks we recorded. Take a look: