A less than conventional upbringing has not only returned musician the Mercenary Fiddler to the Edinburgh Fringe but also to the heart of Kirkcaldy.
From growing up with 11 siblings on a remote croft in Aberfeldy to studying in Wales, learning to play in Ireland and performing in an Irish bar in Puerto Rico, Elsa Jean McTaggart AKA the Mercenary Fiddler, has been on a remarkable journey which has finally returned her to her beloved Scotland.
Now based in Kirkcaldy, Elsa and her husband Gary Lister, a native of the Lang Toun, tour the UK as the Mercenary Fiddler.
“The name came from our time in Gran Canaria. It is such a competitive place as you are responsible for bringing people into the bar and entertaining them. I was doing what I had to do to earn my keep hence the Mercenary Fiddler.”
Elsa grew up surrounded by music but only realised at the age of 20 that she wanted to do it as a career.
“As soon as I left home I bought a fiddle then I went to Ireland where I learnt how to play it,” explained Elsa. After completing a traditional music masters in Ireland, Elsa was invited to Gran Canaria to play in a band. “I ended up there for ten years. But I’ve never stopped writing my own music I just didn’t often have the chance to play it.” With Gary on board, the couple saved up to return to Kirkcaldy and Elsa is now playing a mix of her own music and well-known showstoppers.