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Sandy 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 recognisable.

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 1’s Hogmanay Show 1997 in The James Taylor Band, on electric guitar and lapsteel.

Sandy’s 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 Scotland’s “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 Scotland’s 1997 Hogmanay Show, and Club 99 – the official “Edinburgh’s 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 Britain’s 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 Edinburgh.

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 Munro’s 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.’

Sandy’s first teaching video, ‘Sandy Brechin’s 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.

Sandy Brechin
Brechin All Records
16/2 Panmure Place
Tel/Fax: 0131 466 6559
Mobile: 07831 253 228

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