Jimmy Shand

Born 28 January 1908. Died 23 December 2000.
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Arena  |  BBC Two

Jimmy Shand's lucky break

Jimmy Shand talks emotionally about the start of his music career after he was spotted as a young man, out of work, trying out an achordian in his local achordian shop. Filmed for the 1985 Arena film The Achordian Strikes Back

Featured in BBC Music Clips
 

Biography

Sir James Shand MBE (28 January 1908 – 23 December 2000) was a Scottish musician who played traditional Scottish dance music on the accordion.

James Shand was born in East Wemyss in Fife, son of a farm ploughman turned miner and one of nine children. The family soon moved to the burgh of Auchtermuchty. The town now boasts a larger than life-sized sculpture of Shand. His father was a skilled melodeon player. Jimmy started with the mouth organ and soon played the fiddle. At the age of 14 he had to leave school and go down the mines. He played at social events and competitions. His enthusiasm for motor-bikes turned to an advantage when he played for events all round Fife. In 1926 he did benefit gigs for striking miners and was consequently prevented from returning to colliery work. One day Jimmy and a friend were admiring the instruments in the window of' Music Shop in Dundee. His friend said "It wouldn't cost you to try one". Jimmy walked in and strapped on an accordion. The owner, Charles Forbes, heard Jimmy and immediately offered him a job as travelling salesman and debt-collector. He soon acquired a van and drove all over the north of Scotland. He switched to the British chromatic button accordion, an instrument he stuck with for the rest of his life.

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