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Nick Keir - 1953-2013

Nick Keir was a singer, songwriter, master musician and a man who loved Edinburgh, the city where he lived. He was one of the most witty, generous and thoughtful people I have ever known. We spent 10 years together on the road with the McCalmans and another year working as a duo after the McCalmans finished in 2010. Over the years he kept Ian and me entertained with some of the funniest one-liners you're ever likely to hear. Sadly Nick died on 2nd of June - taken too early - he was only 60.

Nick started his musical life while studying at Stirling University in the 1970s, forming a band called Finn MacCuill with some of his university mates. They played many concerts in Scotland and abroad. They also provided much of the musical backing for the 7:84 Theatre Company.

In 1982 Nick joined the McCalmans and was to remain with them right up until 2010. He added great musicality to the group, playing guitar, mandolin, whistle and harmonica. He had threatened to learn to play the bodhran, but we managed to stop him from that. What a lot of people won't know is that Nick was also a keen amateur actor, he was a great mimic and his impersonations of some of our well known folksingers (no names mentioned) often had Ian and me in stitches.

Nick was always a prolific songwriter, writing many songs for the McCalmans, some of which have become standards in the Scottish folk repertoire such as The Bonnie Maid Of Fife, Song Of The Plough and Corryvreckan Calling. He released four solo albums the last of which, The Edge Of Night, was recorded and released during his illness. It has gained great critical acclaim, and I know that Nick was extremely pleased with the album.

Nick not only had many friends in Scotland, but all over Europe, and I'm sure that like me, they will find it hard to believe that he is gone. Happy memories.

Stephen Quigg