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Kevin Henderson Brian MacAlpine Mark Clement David Robertson Gordon Gunn Charlie McKerron Adam Sutherland

Session A9 Band Biography

Session A9 are Adam Sutherland, Brian Mcalpine, Charlie Mckerron, David “chimp” Robertson, Gordon Gunn, Kevin Henderson and Marc Clement.

Over the years Session A9 have been described as a “Scottish super group”, “The best band to have come out of Scotland in 100 years”, “Tighter than James Brown” and an “Amazing Festival band”, great praise indeed for a band formed through informal music sessions up and down the arterial Scottish road, the A9, culminating in their first ever tour in 2001.

2003 saw the release of the bands highly acclaimed first album “What Road?” featuring many new compositions by band members and leading Scottish tunesmiths capturing the imagination of the listening public and propelling them into the festival/gig circuit.

Since 2003 the band have successfully toured Scotland and England playing at many of the major music festivals in the UK including, Glastonbury, Cambridge folk festival, Celtic Connections, The Hebridean Celtic festival, Shetland folk festival, Orkney folk festival, Skye music festival, Tartan Heart festival, Eastleigh festival, Broadstairs festival, Blas festival and Ireland’s Celtic Fusion with New year celebration appearances at Perth Royal Concert Hall 2008 and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations 2005. European festival sorties include Ortiguera {Spain}, Tonder {Denmark) with additional concerts in Switzerland, Italy and the USA.

With 2008 came the release of the band’s second album ”Bottlenecks and Arm breakers” once again featuring many new compositions. This time round the band used top Scottish studios Castlesound and Park Lane with the vision of recreating the bands live sound through full group recording sessions. As in the first album the band line up was enhanced by the addition of Ewen Vernal on Bass. Touring successes during the year led to the band being nominated for best folk band in the 2008 Scottish Trad Music Awards.

The band has been a constantly evolving organism over the years with notable contributions from Kris Drever, Duncan Chisholm, Iain Copeland, Tim Edey and Ross Martin.

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Kevin Henderson - Fiddle

Kevin Henderson is in hot demand as he performs around the globe with three renowned musical groups. He has been a member of Shetland group, Fiddlers’ Bid, since 1991; Celtic group, Boys of the Lough, since 2002; and Scottish group, Session A9, since 2004. Henderson has been featured on 11 albums. He has appeared on television and radio programs worldwide, including the BBC and many appearances on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” on National Public Radio in America.

Henderson is a native of the Shetland Islands, home of one of the richest fiddling traditions in the world. He was inspired by his grandfather to start playing at age nine, and studied under local fiddler Trevor Hunter for a short time before receiving lessons from Willie Hunter, whom many believe to be the finest fiddler to come out of Shetland.

At the age of 14, Henderson was ready to take the next step in the music world, and co-founded the Shetland ensemble, Fiddler’s Bid. He has since toured with this group across the UK, Europe, North America, Australia and Japan. They’ve recorded four albums; one was Greentrax’s best selling album of 2002.

Henderson joined Shetland group Drop the Box at age 19, and performed with them in many countries for five years. He’s featured on the band’s second CD, Honeytrap.

In 2001, Henderson was invited to perform on a CD with legendary Celtic music ensemble Boys of the Lough. He soon became a member of the group, touring North America two to three times a year and appearing at UK and European music festivals. He has been featured in the ensemble’s four latest CDs. Recently released is Rising Fawn Gathering, a collaboration with American bluegrass musicians Norman and Nancy Blake who wrote the score for the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou.”

Scottish group Session A9 became part of Henderson’s regular line-up when he first guested with them in 2004 at the Orkney Folk Festival. The group’s latest CD, Bottlenecks and Armbreakers, has earned critical acclaim. Session A9 was nominated as Scottish Folk Band of the Year in the 2008 Scottish Traditional Music Awards. Between touring with three musical groups, performing at music festivals and teaching fiddle workshops, Henderson spends his time in Norway. He is currently working towards his first solo CD.

Charlie McKerron - Fiddle

Recently described as a "Wonderful, high octane fiddle player and composer", Charlie Mckerron has now clocked up 25 years on the road as a professional musician.

From winning the Daily Record Golden Fiddle award in the early 80's Charlie went on to join Gaelic super group Capercaillie in 1984 achieving over 1 million album sales to date as the band goes into it's 26th year.

Charlie was raised in a musical family with father (Keith Mckerron) and great uncle (Tom Mckerron) both North East fiddle players, encouraging him to pick up the fiddle.

At school Charlie was taught by Drummond Cook (Forres) and Jimmy Taylor (Elgin). In 2005 Charlie won Composer of the year in the Scots trad music awards and from pub sessions to festivals his compositions are widely performed and recorded. Charlie has written music for film and documentary and contributed to the sound track for Hollywood Blockbuster "Rob Roy", received 2 Royal Television Society awards for co-writing the music for 6 part BBC2 Scotland Gaelic drama series Gruth is Uachdar (Crowdie and Cream) and most recently composed the sound track for new Scottish film Zip n' Zoo starring John Hannah.

Charlie has appeared regularly on screen and television throughout his career with Capercaillie and as a soloist with highlights being "Rob Roy", "Zip n' Zoo", BBC Scotland's "The Songs of the 45" and an appearance on the first series of "Transatlantic Sessions".

As well as touring with Session A9 and Capercaillie look out for a solo album, a Charlie Mckerron tunes book and projects with singer/guitarist Marc Clement.

Gordon Gunn - Fiddle & Mandolin

Gordon has been described as "as one of the most exciting and innovative fiddle players of the times".

Born & brought up in Wick, Caithness, Gordon was taught by the highly respected violin teacher Margaret Henderson who taught many pupils in the north including Addie Harper snr & jnr.

Whilst working with Session A9 & Anam, Gordon also tours with his own band that includes Session A9's Brian McAlpine on keyboards and Orkney's Phil Anderson on guitar & vocals. The guys are currently in the studio working on a follow up recording to their highly successful first album "Shoreside".

Gordon is also a respected fiddle tutor, composer and session musician. His compositions have been recorded by many artistes including Session A9, Phil Cunningham & Aly Bain, Ingrid Henderson, American fiddler Rodney Miller and "McGregor, Brechin & O'Headra" to name but a few.

As a fiddle and group work tutor Gordon regularly teaches for Feis Rois. He has also taught workshops for Glasgow Fiddle Workshop, The National Centre of Excellence in Trad Music in Plockton, Sabhal Mor Ostaig, Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin, Edinburgh Fiddle Festival, Feisean Nan Gaidhael, Feis Chataibh, Feis Alba, Feis an Earraich, Feis London, Newcastle Folk Works, Inverness Trad Music Workshops, Orkney Trad Music Project and has also taught in the USA and west coast of Canada.

Gordon is in demand as a session musician and has worked on many album projects include Aidan O'Rourke's "Sirius", Bruce MacGregor's "Lochness" well respected Skye musician Blair Douglas's latest release entitled "Stay Strong" and currently is working on gaelic singer Eilidh MacKenzie's new album. Gordon was a soloist in concertina maestro Simon Thoumire's Scots Fiddle Concerto, touring with Christine Hanson's "Cremation of Sam McGee" and was commissioned to write for Caithness writer George Gunn's "Atlantic Forest" project.

Adam Sutherland - Fiddle

Thirty year old Loch Ness-side fiddler, Adam Sutherland, has become a familiar face at a wide range of festivals in the UK and abroad in recent years. This has been mainly with the Isle of Skye's 'Peatbog Faeries', and of course Session A9. He has been nominated six times in the Scots Trad Music Awards since it began. Last year being nominated in three categories - 'Best Band' with Session A9, 'Composer of the Year', and winning 'Best Live Act' for the second time with the Peatbog Faeries. There are fewer and fewer people who haven't been played to by Adam in some context at some point in time. P.B.F highlights have included performances at Glastonbury (also with Session A9!) 'Proms in the Park' (with orchestra) and also in Sri Lanka for the delegates - and also the First Minister - while they decided where to hold the Commonwealth games in 2014.

Other musicians who have recorded Adam's tunes include: Flook!, Frankie Gavin, Mike McGoldrick and Sharon Shannon, Troy Macgillivray, Breabach, Ross Ainslie and Jarlath Henderson, Box Club, Laura Cortese, Plockton School of Excellence, Bramax, and a continually growing list of local and internationally recognised musicians from Britain, Ireland, Canada, U.S, Europe, Australia and even Korea. Other acts which feature Adam: Babelfish, The Treacherous Orchestra, Mairearad Green 'New Voices' commission, The Grousebeaters, The Hamish Napier Quartet, an accordion and fiddle duo with John Somerville, and a song based trio with Marc Clement and Andy Thorburn.

Past involvements: Cuillin Music, Croft no Five, Fire in the Bog, Scottish Stepdance Co, Salsa Celtica, Findlay Macdonald band, Avernish and other musical adventures.

David 'Chimp' Robertson - Percussion

David Roberson or "chimp" ( a name picked up during his skateboarding days while competing in Europe, California and Australia) was born is Glasgow. Out of his many travels he grew a passion for finding beautiful rhythms throughout the word. This search has taken him to Africa, Brazil and Cuba on more than one occasion.

He spent almost a decade with bands such as Macumba and Salsa Celtica trying to find links between, and to merge afro Latin rhythms with traditional Scottish music with varying rates of success and some brutal clashes in between. He has been a member of the band Capercaillie since 1998 and through this has discovered the incredible depth and power of the music which is on his doorstep.

David has worked with many fantastic musicians over the years and can be heard on more than 30 albums. He was first asked to contribute to Session A9 during the recording of their first cd "What Road" and is now delighted to be a full time member of the band.

When not on the road he spends much of his time working with choreographers and dancers in Edinburgh where he now lives with his wife and two young children. They seem to share his passion for percussion and are constantly pulling various drums, shakers, bells from the shelves and creating a cacophony of chaos on the floor. Very much like their father.

Brian MacAlpine - Piano

In constant demand for his unique musical approach, Brian has become a well-known face on the Scottish music scene. Working with the incredibly talented Davey Scott in The Pearlfishers (http://www.pearlfishers.co.uk/), Brian co-produced "Za-Za's Garden", "The Strange Underworld of the Tall Poppies" and "The Young Picnickers" gaining valuable experience in the disciplines or recording, arranging and production.

Working next with Iron Horse brought Brian into the exciting field of Scottish traditional music. Recording and touring the album "Demons and Lovers" exposed Brian to the joys of traditional music and over the following years, he became a regular contributor to many traditional recordings and concerts by an ever-growing number of artists.

Now, having appeared on over 40 albums, crossing many genres, Brian has had the pleasure of working with a huge variety of artists including, Session A9, The Chieftains, Alyth MacCormack, Cantychiels, Jim Hunter, Big Sky, Shanks and Russell, Carol Laula, Robin Laing, Davey Steele, Maggie McInnes, Savourna Stevenson, The Captain's Collection, Rory Campbell, Chris Armstrong, Fred Morrison, Clare Mann, Bruce MacGregor, Jonny Hardie, Douglas Stewart, Ray Wilson, Duncan Chisholm, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Unusual Suspects, Eilidh Mackenzie, Pete Stott and John Saich among many others.

In theatre, Brian has worked in "The Big Picnic", "The Captain's Collection", "The Accidental Death of an Accordionist", and most recently in the Gerry Mulgrew production of "Tam O'Shanter."

Brian has written, produced and performed music for television including animated films, documentaries and drama.

Working as musical director, Brian has had great success with the ambitious "Flower of the West" at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, "The Gordon Duncan Memorial Concert" and as Scottish MD with Indian Master musician Trilock Gurtu for the opening of Perth Concert Hall.

Respected amongst his peers for his musical creativity and commitment, Brian is earning the highest reputation for his work as Musical Director, Producer and Accompanist, playing both piano and accordion.

You will find Brian regularly performing with Session A9, The Gordon Gunn Band, Maggie MacInnes and Alyth MacCormack.

New releases to look out for, featuring Brian are:
Session A9 "Bottlenecks and Armbreakers" (www.myspace.com/sessiona9)
Alyth "People Like Me" (http://www.alyth.net/)

Albums in progress include artists:
Maggie MacInnes ,Eilidh Mackenzie and Pete Stott.

To keep busy while not on tour, Brian runs "The International Ceilidh Collective," bringing Scotland's finest traditional musicians together for evenings of traditional Scottish dance. http://www.ceilidh.tv/

Marc Clement - Guitar & Vocals

Marc Clement was born in Inverness in the early 70s to parents Kay and Bill both of whom were professional entertainers, Kay a dancer and Bill a musician and singer.

Marc took an interest in piano from and early age, hammering away on it and making a dreadful noise while his grandfather, Robert, tried to rehearse for an forthcoming engagement. This was probably the impetice for Marc to start piano lessons aged 8, for the benefit of his health.

Around 12ish he took up the guitar after being mesmorised by a Bob Dylan type dude at a neighbours house party, and much to his mothers annoyance, the piano got put to one side for a while.

Never really much of the "lead guitar" type, he took what he new from the piano and applied it to the guitar, trying to find similar chord voicings, which gave him a firm grounding for playing trad, country and even the occasional delving into the dark side, jazz. After leaving school time was spent busking in the Uk/Eupope and playing with various band such as The Scaremongers, Strange Fascination, (it was the 80s), The Hot Rats and also Deaf Grapefruit Erwin`s Amazing Blues Review Band.

A chance encounter with old school chum Bruce Macgregor led to form Eat the Donkey reviewed as "...the worlds first stadium celidh band...." with whom he enjoyed many good times. This left Marc with the trad bug and with Bruce and others formed Blazin Fiddles who have enjoyed success all over the world and still do.

Marc continued, quietly performing solo from time to time with a repeoirtoire of mates songs and some obscure covers but is now happy to be a bit more up front, singing and playing with Session A9, a generally sturdy bunch of chaps with a intense appetite, both musical and culinary!

Also he is currently performing with:
The High Lonesome-- A 3 piece acoustic country band indulging the darker side of americana
CST - Marc, Adam Sutherland, Andy Thorburn doing classic songs from any era and some instrumentals not normally associated with the instruments.
The Trio??? - A musical experiment which still has no name with Charlie McKerron and Tim Edey
Union Hill - Tunes and songs with long time friends Duncan Chisholm and Iain Macfarlane

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Photo by Daniel Cottam