Cupar musicians set for first tour with new band

Two of the members of Full Tilt.
Two of the members of Full Tilt.

A musical couple from Cupar are preparing to take their new band on the road.

Champion accordionist Alan Small and fiddler Gemma Donald formed Full Tilt with award-winning musician Manus McGuire and guitarist Brian Nicholson.

The band will begin their first tour in Macmerry, East Lothian, before visiting Coaltown of Balgonie, and then Inverurie, playing at the town hall which holds almost 500 people.

Full Tilt perform a mixture of Scottish, Irish and Shetland music. Alan says the band play with a “lot of energy” – part of the reason he came up with the name.

Alan explained the band was formed after meeting at a Shetland music festival.

“We’ve known each other for a long time on the scene,” he said.

“Manus visits the Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Festival every year, and we met him there. He approached us and used us for his CD launch.

“He felt it worked really well. I felt it blended straight away.

“We thought ‘why don’t we form a new band for concerts and festivals?’. And so we’re aiming for bigger festivals and concerts.”

Alan and partner Gemma have built up a reputation as two thirds of the Lomond Ceilidh Band, which the former started when he was just 14 years old.

The band has released several albums.

Alan is originally from Dunshalt, where he began playing the accordion aged seven. He has scooped many awards since, including the All Scotland Senior Traditional Solo Accordion Champion 2018.

Gemma, originally from Shetland, started playing the fiddle when she was seven. As well as being praised by Aly Bain, Gemma has also won awards and was even a finalist in the BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year competition in 2015.

Full Tilt will perform at the Victoria Hall in the Coaltown of Balgonie on August 22.

As well as the live performances, the band will also be hosting music workshops in Inverurie and Elgin.

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