RUA Macmillan can hardly believe his new role as one of two new recruits for Highland trad supergroup Blazin' Fiddles.
Confessing to being “a bit of a groupie”, he admits Blazin' Fiddles have been a major influence not only on him, but a whole generation of fiddle players.
“I was sitting at a session yesterday thinking about the number of tunes that are being played by folks my age and younger that became popular through their albums and it was incredible,” he said.
“The repertoire that is played today is hugely influenced by those last six albums.”
So to be invited, alongside Orkney's Kristan Harvey, to come into the band to replace departing original members Allan Henderson and Iain MacFarlane is a “huge, huge honour” for the Nairn fiddle player.
Blazin' Fiddles have also taken their music to places not normally thought of as hotbeds of fiddle music fans. Places like Cheltenham, where Macmillan made his official Blazers debut.
“Only two people thought I was Allan Henderson,” he laughed
Among the audience there was one woman who admitted she had been “dreading” the show because the band did not have a singer, but in the end had really enjoyed it.
“That’s what we are aiming for,” Macmillan said with evident satisfaction.
Blazin’ Fiddles originally came together for the Highland Festival in 2003 as a means of showcasing the fiddle styles of the Highlands and Islands. That tradition continues with Macmillan’s new role in the band while Harvey becomes the first representative of the Orkney tradition in the band’s ranks, joining Invernessian Bruce MacGregor and Shetlander Jenna Reid.
“At the fundamental level, I’m a Highland fiddler and that’s something I can’t hide — nor would I want to!” Macmillan declared.
“With the trio, we have been pushing it in different directions and taking on other influences from where we’ve been playing. We’ve been doing a lot of work in Spain, for instance, so there are maybe little bits that are coming in just from being there. Likewise, just from being on the more contemporary side of traditional music, you do get new influences that come in, but at the core I’m absolutely a Highland fiddle player.”
• Blazin’ Fiddles appear at The Empire Theatre, Eden Court, Inverness, on Friday 14th March.
The band will also be doing workshops at 4pm for under-18s before the Eden court show. More info available at Eden Court box office.