James Scott Skinner reached a level of fame that only classical musicians had experienced
James Scott Skinner, the father of Scottish fiddle music, has always been a hugely inspirational figure for me. He lived from 1843 to 1927 and he changed the face of Scottish music almost single-handedly. He incorporated classical ideas, such as scales and arpeggios (not commonly used before) with the pure emotion of Scottish music. He faced lots of scepticism, as, like today, people feared the dilution of a tradition. But he didn’t get bogged down by it and kept going. I can relate to this and it’s good to know somebody was dealing with the same issues so long ago.
Skinner had great vision and determination and I consider him the first person to turn themselves into a brand. He was his own PR machine and was very successful, making Scottish music popular not only in Scotland, but also in London and New York, packing out venues like the Royal Albert Hall. He reached a level of fame that only classical musicians had experienced up until then.