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Anne Neilson - 1944 - 2019

Anne was introduced to traditional music in 1957 at the second meeting of the Ballads Club in Rutherglen Academy. She was one year behind Gordeanna McCulloch at the school, but their relationship with each other and their impact on others were to last for the rest of their lives. Anne worked professionally as a teacher after leaving school and if she made only a fraction of the impression that she has made on many of Scotland’s younger musicians, she must have been a great teacher. Anne worked with, taught and supported many students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland who clearly thought that she was amazing, evidenced by the many tributes paid to her on social media.

Gordeanna McCulloch - 1946 – 2019

I am writing this tribute to Gordeanna in strange circumstances and with a heavy heart, counterbalanced by the fact that Gordeanna has been, and remains, one of the most influential and inspirational figures of Scotland’s folk revival. Anne Neilson, Gordeanna’s friend and collaborator, was to have written this tribute, but within 48 hours of contacting her for an update and a promise from her that she would work on it at the weekend, we received the shock news of Anne’s sudden death at home. Anne’s tribute would have been knowledgeable and heartfelt; my writing is more general and observational. Thankfully Gordeanna’s life has been well documented elsewhere and the fruits of her work are all around for us to see and hear.

Alan Bell - 1934 - 2019

It was with great sadness that the family of Alan Bell announced that he had passed away on 25 April after a short illness. Alan was 84, a much-loved husband, brother, father, uncle and great uncle. He was best known as a performer, writer and as the founder and director of the Fylde Folk Festival which ran from 1972 until 2014. Alan was planning a one-day Fylde Folk Festival revival on Saturday 22nd June 2019 in Fleetwood, an event which was also to mark his 85th birthday. His family quickly confirmed that it was his wish that this event would go ahead and so it will now be held as a celebration of the man and his music.

Maureen Jelks - 1941 - 2018

Maureen died at her home in Kirriemuir on 20th December 2018. Blessed with a modest unassuming demeanour, crystal clear voice, unassailable optimism and an unforgettable laugh, Maureen made countless friends in her 77 years.

Bill Spence - 1940 - 2019

Bill Spence of Voorheesville, NY, passed away on 7th February 2019 at the age of 78, with his family at his side.
Known as a master of the hammered dulcimer, Bill Spence is often credited with the folk instrument’s revival in the 1970s. Bill’s musical and social achievements over very many years are simply astonishing. Not only was he a great musician, he also dedicated much of his life to encouraging and supporting other musicians. The following words quoted from Walt Michael, one of many musicians inspired by Bill to take up the hammered dulcimer, hint at some of the things which Bill achieved.

Roger Marriott - 1928 – 2019

Roger Marriott died in February in hospital after a relatively short illness. A lot can be packed into 90 years and it is a testament to Roger that at his funeral there were people present from so many differing aspects of his life. Together, he and his wife Beryl, who died a few years ago, were incredibly influential figures in the folk revival, and were known to many in the current scene.

Bill Caddick - 1944-2018

Like most readers of The Living Tradition, I knew Bill through his songs, folk club and festival appearances and knew very little about the other aspects of his life and family. Attending Bill’s funeral, together with three or four hundred other people, was an uplifting, emotional and revealing occasion.

Frank Bechhofer - 1935-2018

Refugee, Cambridge graduate, Royal Artillery officer, engineer, Shakespearean actor and director, sociology professor, folk club organiser, folk music agent – Frank Bechhofer was a veritable polymath indeed. As his family confirm, he seldom spoke in depth about the first of these attributes, yet they recognise that his experience of arriving in Nottingham from Nuremburg at the age of three, without a word of English, as his Jewish family fled the Nazi regime, undoubtedly shaped his outlook on life in subtle ways. Committed to the politics of inclusion and social justice, his door was always open, and a warm welcome awaited inside for all comers.

Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin - 1950-2018

Musician, composer, performer and educator Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin died on 7th November 2018 at the Milford Care Centre in Limerick after a lengthy illness. He was 67.

Vincent Campbell - 1938-2018

Vincent Campbell, a hero of Donegal fiddle playing, passed away on 2 December 2018. He was born on 22nd August 1938, close to Glenties in the Donegal Gaeltacht, in an area known locally as The Croaghs. This area was part of a rural society which had traditional music, dancing and the Irish language at the centre of its culture, and this always remained a huge part of Vincent’s life.