Young Trad Winner: Kristan Harvey

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Kristan Harvey - Young Trad 2011 Winner

Orkney's Kristan Harvey is crowned this year's Young Scottish Traditional Musician of the Year.

Age: 22

Hails from: Orkney

Instrument: fiddle


What do you love and what do you hate about your instrument?

I love the fiddle when I get to it and everything's working, when it's already warmed up and has a real boom to the sound. There are some days when, what I want it to sound like, and what IT wants to sound like are the same...not as many as I'd like sometimes though!

My fiddle tends to be as temperamental as me, so it can take a lot of playing to warm up the sound, which can be a bit of a pain. Apart from that I must admit there's not much I don't like about it.

What keeps you in practising while you could be out having a laugh?

I don't really tend to differentiate between having a laugh and practice, I think the two things quite often go together. I enjoy going to sessions around Glasgow very much, and often try out ideas during them so when it comes to practising the tunes later, it doesn't take as much work. On the other hand, I think there's room to have serious practising space as well. I always find it very rewarding coming away from a concentrated practice as you've got through a lot of the things you set out to, and the pressure's off. So yeah, I think there's time for both!

Has anyone in particular inspired you as a musician?

I had a teacher from when I was learning the fiddle, right up until I left for university, called Jean Leonard. She was an absolute inspiration and still is, and always kept me motivated and looking forwards, as she did for many of my friends. Playing-wise, I've always admired fiddle players such as Gordon Gunn and Douglas Montgomery, as I grew up listening to their CDs and was amazed by how effortless they made it all sound. Everybody I listen to though has some affect on my playing - I'm very open to new ideas and find them very useful.

What music do you listen to when you're not practising (not necessarily folk music!)

I don't really mind what I listen to! I'm not exactly a hardcore rocker or anything, but I can enjoy listening to most kinds of music. Everything has its place! Having said that, it is mostly the folky stuff I tend to listen to most often.

Is there a piece of music that you always like to play/sing and why?

I always associate tunes I play with what was happening to me at the time, so there are a few slow airs and quirky tunes that I love playing, just because they 'take me back' I suppose. There are also pieces which I have memories of family playing/liking to hear so they always have their place for me. Yeah, I suppose there are a handful of tunes which I particularly like to play, but I couldn't pick a favourite as it changes all the time.


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