MusicFest Concert Series


The Cumberland Hotel

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Master guitarist, singer and songwriter Archie Fisher is Scotland’s foremost troubadour and is known throughout the country as the host of BBC Radio Scotland’s award-winning “Travelling Folk” show, which he has presented for over 25 years. Recognized for his contributions to Scottish folk music, he was inducted into the Scots Traditional Music Hall of Fame and in 2006 was awarded anMBE, (Distinguished Member of the British Empire) a prestigious honor nominated by his peers and bestowed by Queen Elizabeth for services to traditional music in 2007. The most recent recognition of his art came from the Goderich Celtic Roots Festival in 2008 when he was granted theTradition Bearers Award.

Archie was born in Glasgow into a large singing family, which yielded three professional singers—Archie and his sisters Ray and Cilla Fisher. Constant music combined with his father’s appreciation of many musical styles (opera, vaudeville, traditional ballads) proved to be a heavy influence on Archie’s musical development, while his mother, a native Gaelic speaker from the Outer Hebrides, was a strong influence on the lyrical quality of his singing and songwriting. Archie first became interested in folk music through the Skiffle era of the late 1950’s under the influences of performers such as Lonnie Donegan and Johnny Duncan. Later, the recording of the Weavers at Carnegie Hall also had a profound effect on his approach to music and his political outlook.

During the British TV folk boom of the 1960’s and 70’s he appeared regularly with his younger sister Ray in magazine programs and the BBC Hootenanny series. He was based in Edinburgh at the time in the contemporary company of musicians such as Robin Williamson, Clive Palmer and Mike Heron who formed the original Incredible String Band and was an early guitar colleague of Bert Jansch. Archie’s first self-titled album was recorded in 1968 with the now sadly departed pairing of fiddle and mandolin player John McKinnon and the renowned whistle and piccolo player John Doonan.

During the mid 1970’s he formed a long-term partnership with Dundee musician Allan Barty, which was later grafted on to the revived pairing of Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy. As well as performing as a backing musician and arranger for the Maken and Clancy duo, he also produced a series of albums with them. Meanwhile, Archie got involved in record production with the dynamic Scottish band Silly Wizard. During the 1980’s he turned his attention to freelance radio work and originated several series of documentary programs with his local station Radio Tweed. He then returned to the recording studio during what he describes as one of his most creative songwriting periods. It was around this time that he began a partnership with Canadian songwriter Garnet Rogers. They toured throughout North America together, and Garnet produced several of his albums including his highly acclaimed album Sunsets I’ve Galloped Into, which was released on Red House Records in 1996. Following the success of that release, Archie toured throughout North America, playing with John Renbourn and Bert Jansch. His current Windward Away release on Red House has already achieved widespread acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic.