After leaving the brilliant and loud Breabach, Patsy Reid has become the most in-demand traditional fiddle player in the UK. She hasn’t stopped working.
She performed alongside Dougie Maclean and Kylie Minogue at the 2014 Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony, with Zakir Hussain at the London 2012 Olympic Festival followed by an extensive tour of North America, and in 2019 she worked with Mark Knopfler on his musical adaption of Local Hero, in which she also performed at the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh. In the studio, Patsy is a one woman string quartet, contributing violin, viola and cello to albums by Flook, Seonaid Aitken, Donald Shaw, Brian Finnegan, Georgia Cécile, Duncan Chisholm, Kathryn Tickell, Hamish Napier, Duncan Lyall, Tim Edey, Ross Ainslie & Ali Hutton and many many more.
Asked to describe what makes her such a unique and admired musician and composer, Patsy shrugs and says: “I just play like Patsy.”
But just playing like Patsy means combining skills and techniques from both traditional and classical backgrounds. As a child she first learnt to play tunes by ear at the Alasdair Fraser fiddle camp on Skye. As a teen she made the trip to Alasdair’s sister camp in California, where she learned her trademark percussive chopping style via Laura Cortese. On top of that she has a Post-grad Diploma in Classical Violin Performance from the Royal Northern College of Music. And it’s these disciplines that give Patsy ultimate control over the bow – allowing her to virtually sing through the instrument.
English folk singer Jim Moray reckons: “Patsy transcends simply being a folk musician. She has an understanding of what to play and when and how to play it that rivals the best of any genre.”
And the celebrated Northumbrian piper Kathryn Tickell says of Patsy: “She’s a fantastic musician, a lovely fiddle player and a joy to be with. No wonder everybody wants to work with her.”
In February 2014 she released her third solo album, The Brightest Path, which received sparking reviews and was recently named among Songlines’ Top 10 Scottish Albums. 2018 saw A Glint o’ Scottish Fiddle released and 2022 has been busy so far, with the release of Gin and Strathspey – the debut album from LYRE LYRE, Patsy’s new trio, as well as a duo album with superb cellist, Alice Allen, entitled Strathspey Queens.
As an educator, Patsy is currently Musical Director of The Gordon Duncan Experience and Mull Fiddle Week.