Sandy Brechin (biography)

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.

"This man is going to make a big impact on the traditional and not-so-traditional music scenes with his funky accordion, catchy compositions and refreshing personality. Spirited powerful playing of equally spirited and powerful tunes" - The Scots Magazine

Over the years, Sandy has played in many bands, but is probably best known for his work with the Scottish bands, Bùrach and Seelyhoo, with whom he has toured extensively in Europe, Canada, the USA, 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 Jimi Shandrix Experience".

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, and 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), “Folkworks” music workshop in Durham, and “The Youth Gaitherin’” workshop in Edinburgh. He has produced two acclaimed DVDs Play Scottish Accordion Beginners and Intermediate as well as a book of his tunes “Out of His Mind”.

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