Brechin grew up in Kirkliston, West Lothian and has been playing
the accordion for twenty years. In fact, he has been playing the
same accordion (albeit with a few minor repairs) for the last twenty
years! He was taught by the late Chrissie Leatham, in Edinburgh,
and also by her son, Owen
Murray, who is now Professor of Accordion at the Royal Academy
of Music in London. He has developed his own unique approach to
the art of accordion playing and his innovative style is instantly
Over the years, Sandy has played in many bands, but is probably
best known for his work with the Scottish bands, Burach and Seelyhoo,
with whom he has toured extensively in Europe, Canada, the USA,
the Middle East and the Far East. A frequent guest on radio and
television, Sandy is also in much demand as a session musician,
having recorded on several CDs outwith his own groups recordings.
Also known as a talented writer, some of his compositions have been
published and others recorded by bands like The Iron Horse.
On the rare occasions when he is not touring with the bands, he
still plays for ceilidh dances with his own hugely popular electric
ceilidh band, The Sensational Jimmy Shandrix Experience.
The Sandy Brechin Band is a four-piece outfit with an unforgettable
stage performance. From the electrifying high speed reels to the
occasional traditional Gaelic airs, the sound created is fresh,
innovative and vibrant, at times soul-touching and tender, but always
with an underlying power and confidence. Sandy is just as well known
for his on-stage humour, which has been known to have audiences
in tears, one way or another. His fellow band members present an
impressive CV: Jim Walker, of Ceolbeg and Seelyhoo, on drums; Aaron
Jones, of Seelyhoo and Craobh Rua on bass guitar, and Colin Macfarlane,
previously of The Liberties and The Felsons, and who appeared on
BBC 1s Hogmanay Show 1997 in The James Taylor Band, on electric
guitar and lapsteel.
Sandys debut solo album, Out Of His Box, featuring
the Sandy Brechin Band, was released on his own label, Brechin
All Records, in April 1996, and is distributed by Greentrax
Recordings. The album was received with great acclaim and was voted
one of the best folk albums of 1996 by BBC Radio Scotlands
Travelling Folk programme.
The Sandy Brechin Band has toured Italy and Ireland; played two
concerts at Celtic Connections 1997 at The Glasgow Royal Concert
Hall, with The Sean Keane Band and The Carlos Nunez Band; performed
at Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Folk Festival and
many other Scottish Folk Festivals, along with numerous TV and radio
shows, including BBC Radio Scotlands 1997 Hogmanay Show, and
Club 99 the official Edinburghs Hogmanay
party at the end of 1998. Sandy also played in the Robert Burns
Concert in Celtic Connections 1999.
In February 1997, Sandy played on the National Lottery Show Live
in the final of The Great British Song Contest, the competition
run by Jonathan King to select Britains entry for the Eurovision
Song contest 1997, as part of the band Do Re Mi, with Kerry.
The song was called Yodel in the Canyon of Love, and
aroused a great deal of interest at the time, because of its quirky
nature! The British public voted for the winning entry by telephone
poll, and Yodel was just pipped at the post by Katrina And The Waves,
who then went on to win Eurovision. However, Yodel was released
on the Polygram label later in 1997 and was voted favourite album
of 1997 by one of the pundits on American music magazine, Billboard.
In 1998, Sandy toured the Faroe Islands again, playing with the
Faroese version of The Sandy Brechin Band, made several
tours to the South of Spain and Sandy and Colin performed on the
Gaelic Television programme, Tacsi, with members of
Capercaillie, Relativity and Shooglenifty. The Sandy Brechin Band
also played a double bill with Capercaillie in August 1998 in Guingamp
Celtic Festival in Brittany, and toured Iceland for the first time
in July 1999, performing at the Reykjavik Accordion Festival, an
on Icelandic radio and TV. In February 1999, Sandy toured the USA
and Canada, along with concertina players Alistair Anderson and
Niall Vallely, on the Twice Upon a Squeezebox tour.
In July 1999, Sandy played solo at Kaustinen Folk Festival in Finland,
in a series of concerts sponsored by the British Council.
Sandy is also well known as a teacher of accordion. He has taught
at many workshops, such as the Edinburgh Feis (a Scottish traditional
music workshop for children), the Fort William Feis (Feis Loch Aibar),
the Skye Feis (Fies an Eairean ), Folkworks music workshop
in Durham, and The Youth Gaitherin workshop in
In March 1999,
Sandy launched his second solo album with the band, Out of
His Tree, on the Greentrax label, and later in the year played
on ex-Runrig front man Donnie Munros debut solo album, On
the West Side, appearing with The Donnie Munro Band on STV
on January 25th 2000 and also Burns Night 2001. Also this
year, Sandy has appeared on the Gaelic TV programmes., Sorchar
nan Reul and Togaidh Sinn Fonn.
Sandys first teaching
video, Sandy Brechins Learn Scottish Accordion
came out in 2000, and 2001saw the publication of the first volume
of his own compositions, Out of His Mind.
In 2001, Sandy played
in Seville, Spain; Bucharest, Romania; Bergen, Norway; Abu Dhabi
and Oman, Middle East; Moscow, Russia; Jakarta, Indonesia; as well
as USA, Australia ,Portugal, Belgium and Ireland, finishing with
Hogmanay in Dubai, as well as many UK festivals: Shetland Folk Festival,
Rootin Aboot Festival in Aberdeen, Dumfries and Galloway Arts
Festival, Gatehouse of Fleet Festival, Highland Festival, Alves
Festival, Wath Festival and Crawley Festival. In 2002, Sandy has
performed tours in USA, Germany, Australia, Faroes and the Middle
East and performed at Aalborg and Esbjerg Festivals in Denmark,
and at the 3rd Vienna Accordion festival in Austria.
Brechin All Records
16/2 Panmure Place
Tel/Fax: 0131 466 6559
Mobile: 07831 253 228