Royal Deeside The Singing Land

Deeside has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to music and song. From its source, high on Braeriach to its mouth at Aberdeen, the river Dee could be described as a river of song; such is the wealth of music and song that follows her course to the North Sea.

Two of Scotland's great fiddlers and composer's were born on Deeside; Peter Milne "the Tarland Minstrel," to whom Paul Anderson is related and his most famous pupil James Scott Skinner "the Strathspey King."

Both players had successful careers and both performed for Queen Victoria at Balmoral Castle but Skinner in particular would become a legend in his own lifetime and it's believed that around 40,000 mourners lined the streets of Aberdeen as "the King's" coffin made its way to Allenvale cemetery.

Aberdeen Arms Tarland - a Tuesday Night "Music Session"

Traditional music is an important part of the culture on Deeside and you're sure to find live music somewhere during the week. The Deeside Inn has music most Saturday evenings and also some midweek sessions. Equally some of the local pubs such as Coilacriech Inn, Aberdeen Arms, The Learney Arms, the Deeside Inn or The Boat Inn have music evenings/sessions on from time to time.

Born in Tarland 1970, Paul Anderson is now an internationally renowned fiddler of some repute, having composed over 500 pieces in the Scots style. 

He began playing the fiddle after finding an old French violin under his grandparents spare bed on the family farm near Tarland aged about 5 and it's since taken him all over the world promoting Scotland's national fiddle tradition.

During his competitive career Paul has won most of the traditional fiddle championships in Scotland including the premier Glenfiddich fiddle championship.

His music provided the theme tune for the film Red Rose about the life of Robert Burns. A regular on Scottish T.V and radio, he has also presented a series of features on traditional Scottish music and song for the BBC Scotland programme, Landward.

In 2015 he wrote his masterful Highland Symphony and is one Scotland’s most successful fiddle tutors with his pupils regularly winning fiddle championships all over Scotland. He also plays regularly for the Royal Family at Crathie Kirk and performed at the 80th birthday party for Sir Sean Connery. 


"The Rose of Glendavan" by Paul Anderson

filmed at the Muir of Dinnet by Braemar Media

Most recently he has released his new album entitled “The High Summit” Inspired by his passion for the landscape, history and culture of his rural homeland in Aberdeenshire, famous for its standing stones, this recording presents over 50 original pieces by one of Scotland's most celebrated composers and fiddlers. "The Rose of Glendavan" was written for a dear friend Matt Milne and his family who run the award winning Guest Glendavan House.

Despite his international status Paul is still very much a local Deeside lad. He enjoys catching up with his friends and family and striking up a tune or two when he can. If you are very lucky you may see him at one of the informal music sessions on Tuesday evenings at the Aberdeen Arms in Tarland.

Now in its fourth year, the Tarland Food & Music Festival celebrates quality local food and Tarland’s thriving music scene. Being held in 2017 on the weekend of September 22 – 24th. Visit Tarland & Cromar to find out more.

Keep your eyes and ears open and you never know what you might find; the unexpected is part of the fun of a visit to Royal Deeside


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