Born in Edinburgh, Smith began his prolific career at 14 when his quartet won Best Band, and he received Best Musician Trophy at the 1981 Edinburgh Jazz Festival. At 16, he released his first two albums, Giant Strides and Taking Off! and studied at Berklee with financial assistance from Sean Connery.
He joined Gary Burton’s quintet after a recommendation from Chick Corea at 18, toured worldwide, and recorded on ECM’s album Whiz Kids. Smith has documented over thirty solo albums for Blue Note, Linn, ECM and his own Spartacus Record label; toured 50+ countries.
He fought to establish the first full-time jazz course in Scotland. In 2009 Smith was appointed head of Jazz at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and became Professor in 2010.
Smith holds numerous jazz accolades: 2 BBC, 2 British, 2 UK Parliamentary and 9 Scottish – Jazz Awards. His contributions to Jazz were recognised nationally when in 1998, he became the youngest-ever recipient of an honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in recognition of his extraordinary artistic achievement. He subsequently received honorary doctorates from Glasgow Caledonian and Edinburgh Universities. In 2019 he was given an OBE for services to Jazz from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Tommy's been concentrating on solo saxophone concerts in churches and cathedrals recently and has honed them into celebrations of melody featuring his marvellous tone and improvising skills in a repertoire drawn from jazz ballads, folk tunes, classical themes and praise songs and that's what he'll be performing at the festival this year.
Seonaid Aitken is a violinist, vocalist, composer/orchestrator and broadcaster from Fife, Scotland. As one of the rare few female improvising violinists in the UK influenced by the great Stephane Grappelli, she performs with her award-winning Gypsy Jazz band Rose Room - twice winners of ‘Best Band’ at the Scottish Jazz Awards - as well as a guest with the Tim Kliphuis Sextet, Martin Taylor MBE and Swing 2023. She was also awarded ‘Best Vocalist’ twice at the Scottish Jazz Awards following her highly acclaimed Ella Fitzgerald big band show ‘A Night With Ella’ and has played with the Orchestra of Scottish Opera for 22 years.
As a busy session musician Seonaid has performed/recorded with Deacon Blue, Carol Kidd MBE, Eddi Reader, Heidi Talbot, Blue Rose Code, Hannah Rarity and iconic American composer Burt Bacharach and, as a composer/arranger, has been commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Red Hot Chilli Pipers and Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival and her arrangements feature in the BBC/Richard Curtis film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s ‘Esio Trot’ starring Dame Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman. Seonaid is a regular tutor at the Grappelli-Django Camp in The Netherlands and presents ‘Jazz Nights’ on BBC Radio Scotland.
WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE? Seonaid pays homage in this concert for the Tannahill Festival to her favourite jazz vocalist - the iconic ‘First Lady of Song’ Ella Fitzgerald - by exploring the Great American Songbook with selections from her album ‘What Is This Thing Called Love?’ and more. The Jazz world meets the Classical world as Seonaid’s cinematic string arrangements (inspired by the likes of Nelson Riddle, Billy May and Vince Mendoza) bring these jazz ‘standards’ to life with flavours of the 1930s Golden Era, MGM musicals, Broadway pizzazz, Argentine Tango and a novel piece in pizzicato!
Anne Scriven and friends 7.30pm The Gatehouse Coffee Roasters
Anne M Scriven is a writer of narrative non-fiction. She holds a PhD in Scottish Literature — a field she also lectured in — and has been an Honorary Fellow for Scottish Cultural Studies at the University of Strathclyde. She was series editor for the publishing company of Kennedy & Boyd and was instrumental in bringing various Scottish literature titles back into print. In 2010, Anne produced a new annotated edition of Kirsteen by Margaret Oliphant (the focus of her doctoratal studies), published by the Association for Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS). She left academia to become a freelance writer.
Set in one of Paisley’s iconic mill buildings, Anne M Scriven, an author of narrative non-fiction, Anne will read from her published and forthcoming writing. Anne will share a stage with Liz McEachen, mezzo soprano, Derek Doyle, accomplished guitarist and Olha Koksharova a young violinist from Ukraine. Beautiful fresh roasted coffee will be available for purchase. Donations to the Red Cross Syria/ Turkey Earthquake Appeal will be welcomed.
Stephen Clancy, as the Urban Historian, has been delivering short courses in history and family history along with Heritage Walks in Paisley for many years. He graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in History, and went on to complete a Masters in Multimedia from the then University of Paisley. Stephen has worked as an archaeologist on many digs in Paisley, Renfrewshire and beyond, and has taught local history, archaeology and family history at the University of the West of Scotland and the University of Dundee. Stephen is a former chair of Paisley Thread Mill Museum
Boo Hewerdine, is a songwriter and performer of over thirty years, signing his first record deal at the age of 19. He went on to forge a successful career as part of The Bible and then decided to go it alone as a solo performer, musician, songwriter, producer, and mentor. He has played with Eddi Reader, producing Sings the songs of Robert Burns, Angels and Electricity and Simple Soul. Eddi has recorded more than 50 of Boo’s songs including Patience Of Angels which was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award and saw Boo join the Ivor Novello judging panel the following year. He has also written material for major artists such as Sia, K.D Lang, Kris Drever (Lau), Duke Special, and David McAlmont.
He brings his highly acclaimed songwriting workshop to Paisley for the first time.
The Whistlebinkies 7.30pm The Bungalow Bar, Shuttle Street
For more than 45 years the Whistlebinkies have maintained one of the most distinctive sounds in the Scottish folk revival, their essential musical core of “rantin’ pipe and tremblin’ string”, along with clarsach, concertina and side drum winning over audiences throughout Scotland and Europe and as far flung as Memphis and Beijing.
The band pioneered the effective use of revived bellows-blown Lowland pipes, have consistently pursued a democratic group approach to their all-acoustic arrangements and frequently and successfully bridge the divide between Scottish traditional and “art” music, in collaboration with such institutions as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Cappella Nova and such revered figures as classical violinist Yehudi Menuhin and avant-garde music luminary John Cage. They were also the first Scottish folk ensemble ever to play in China, in November 1991.
They were the first group to bring the pipes, clarsach and fiddle into regular performance, a combination that seems commonplace now. Book tickets here using the button below:
Saturday April 1st Campfire Storytelling Club 1pm Stow Street Halls (St George's Church, Causesyside Street, Paisley).
Children (and grown-ups!) will love getting creative and making their own stories, exploring fantastical themes and courageous characters! Children aged 3-5 are welcome and parents can join in with the fun or enjoy a nice coffee Book tickets here using the button below:
Hopscotch Theatre Company is one of Scotland’s leading children’s theatre companies. We commission and produce the best playwrights making theatre for young audiences and tour their plays to schools and venues to reach as many children as possible. Hopscotch Theatre Company was formed in 1988 by Ross Stenhouse and Grant Fraser and has since produced 120 original plays for children by playwrights such as Laurie Motherwell, Zoë Bullock, Isla Cowan and Hannah Lavery.
When Scotland’s Ploughman Poet, Robert Burns wakes up, little does he know it’s his last day on earth! Confronted by familiar faces and his most famous works, he journeys through his life, music and poetry. Join Burns and some familiar friends for an energetic, interactive journey through Burns’ Last Supper. Book tickets here using the button below:
Tanna-slama-ding-dong 7.30pm The Bungalow, Shuttle Street, Paisley
Shaun is a spoken word artist, activist, and music lover. He hails from Johnstone, but spends much of his time in Paisley. Since he was a boy, he loved poetry, but in the last few years has come into his own across Renfrewshire and Scotland for his pointed, often comical, spoken word poetry. Combining his love for music, Shaun enjoys the “rhythm and rhyme” of the genre and often crafts bespoke pieces for events where he’s asked to perform.
In 2022 Shaun became the official Tannahill Makar supported by OneRen. Book tickets here using the button below: