The group Boys of the Lough was formed in 1967, and is still making music today. Their first album, Boys of the Lough, was released in 1972 with Cathal McConnell (flute, song) Robin Morton (song, bodhran, concertina) Aly Bain (fiddle) and Dick Gaughan (song, guitar)
Their music mixes the Irish and Scottish traditions with outside influences like Scandinavian music. In a career spanning over 30 years, they have released 20 albums.
Aly Bain is a fiddler from the Shetlands, islands to the North of Great Britain, between Scotland and Norway. He was born in Lerwick, Shetland, in 1946 and started playing fiddle at the age of 11.
The Shetland islands are located to the north of Scotland, 245 km east of Bergen (Norway) and 640km from the Arctic. Given this situation between Norway and Scotland, Shetland music has always been at the crossroads of two cultures, influenced by Scandinavian music and the celtic music of the British isles.
One of the biggest influences on Shetland music was the hardanger fiddle, a type of violin introduced to Norway in the 16th century. The hardanger has 5 strings more than the standard violin, strings that resonate when the melody is played on the upper strings; the practice of letting adjacent strings ring open in shetland music comes from the hardanger’s influence.