Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Pair of Scots

By Michael Henningsen

FEBRUARY 1, 1999:  Back in 1986, before the idea of a long-term musical relationship ever dawned on them, Celtic music masters Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham got together for a little informal jamming, good conversation and, we can assume based on the humorous interludes scattered throughout their live performances, a few beers. One thing led to another, and in 1988 the duo put on a concert in their native Scotland. That performance, by all accounts, was nothing short of electrifying and became the springboard for a renowned annual tour of the United Kingdom.

Eleven years later, all the magic, tradition, virtuosity and humor are alive and well between the two, as is the sense of humor and camaraderie they share. But after more than a decade of collaboration, Bain and Cunningham have become a well-oiled machine, capable of delving deeply into the grand folk tradition of Celtic music as well as transcending the hard line between classic and contemporary.

Celtic fiddler Aly Bain is familiar as a founding member of Boys of the Lough, widely considered one of the best groups of the tradition. He simultaneously pursued a solo career and has played with numerous folksters and rockers--from Richard Thompson to Fish (Marillion). Bain continues to tour and record with Boys of the Lough, in addition to his work with Cunningham.

By the time accordionist Phil Cunningham left Silly Wizard in 1983, he had logged seven years with the legendary band. Not bad for a guy who was just 22 when he retired to embark on a solo career. He quickly became in demand as a composer and session musician for radio, television, film and stage. He has also worked extensively as a producer.

Together, Bain and Cunningham represent the finest in Celtic music, with humor and joviality balanced by a commitment to the music's rich tradition. Join them for a spectacular evening that will sparkle long after you've left the theater.

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