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Scotland in music

Review by Edward Scott Pearlman

Scotland's concertina virtuoso, Simon Thoumire, is seen sitting on his couch playing a tune by J. S. Skinner, accompanied by a snare drummer. They appear serious and focused. The doorbell rings, the TV starts up, Thoumire's seven-year-old son wanders in and out brandishing a light saber or dressed as an alien, but the music continues uninterrupted.

This is part of the U.K.'s first recording released, not on CD, but on YouTube as a video playlist titled "Self Portrait 2009." It is perhaps emblematic of the way Scottish traditional music and culture endure amid the whitewater rapids of shifting demands from our Internet-connected world. At a time when the music industry is confronting a flow of changing interests from music fans, Simon Thoumire and his Foot Stompin' Celtic Music business have been at the forefront of experimenting with new ways to promote Scottish music and culture through an array of online services.

At the same time, Thoumire has worked hard in the "real world" to help Scottish musicians develop their art, working with both young people and professional musicians through organizations such as Hands Up for Trad and Distil.

The full text of this column is available in the Autumn 2010 issue of Scottish Life Magazine.

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