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About Phil Cunningham

The younger brother of Scottish fiddler Johnny Cunningham, Phil Cunningham has combined a mastery of Celtic music traditions and a melodically rich style of composition. A member of Silly Wizard from 1976 to 1988, Cunningham, who began accordion lessons at the age of three, helped to spark an interest in the traditional music of his homeland. In addition to recording two memorable solo albums -- Airs & Graces in 1984 and The Palomino Waltz in 1989 -- Cunningham has contributed to a number of influential musical projects. Since the demise of Silly Wizard, Cunningham has periodically worked with his older brother. They recorded a duo album, Against the Storm, in 1980, and together with Irish siblings Triona NiDomhnaill and Michael O'Domhnaill, toured and recorded two albums as Relativity during the mid-'80s. A collaboration with fiddler Aly Bain of the Boys of the Lough for a 1988 television show spawned a partnership that has resulted in annual duo tours of Scotland and an album, The Pearl, in 1994. During the '80s and '90s, Cunningham has focused much of his attention on producing other artists, including Dolores Keane and Altan, and composing and musically directing for the theater. He served as musical director and wrote the instrumental music for Bill Bryden's production The Ship in 1990, and was the associate music director for Bryden's The Big Picnic in 1994. Cunningham was musical director of four series of BBC Scotland's Gaelic/traditional music show, Talla a' Bhaile, and BBC Scotland's Hogmanay Live. In January 1997, Cunningham's orchestral work, The Highlands and Islands Suite, premiered at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Together with his partner, Wendy, Cunningham opened a 24-track digital studio, CAP Recording Studios, outside Inverness in the Scottish Highlands in October 1993. ~ Craig Harris

27 Jan 1960

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