Mike Vass is one of the most creative forces on the Scottish music scene. As a musician, composer, producer and arranger Vass has amassed a body of work that encompasses early appearances as a livewire young fiddler, collaborations with many of the leading voices among today’s Scots and Gaelic tradition bearers, delivering multi-media performances, overseeing critically acclaimed recordings, and scoring for prestigious ensembles.
Born in Nairn, Vass emerged as vital young talent in a Highlands-based fiddle and keyboard duo with his twin sister, Ali. They came to the attention of Edinburgh’s long-established Bechhofer Agency and in 2008 they toured Scotland with Fiddle Rendezvous, an international presentation with Bruce Molsky & Mary Ann Kennedy and Gerry O’Connor & Gilles le Bigot.
By this time Vass, having moved to Edinburgh then Glasgow, was showing accomplishment both as a composer and multi-instrumentalist. Cavers of Kirkcudbright, a tune written for a close friend in 2007, would develop into a session favourite in Glasgow, Newcastle and even in the Valley of the Moon in California, and in 2008 he won the inaugural Niel Gow Composition Award (now the Amber Fiddle award) at the Perthshire Amber festival, going on to join the festival’s founder, Dougie Maclean the following year in a live re-working of Maclean’s Fiddle album.
Also in 2008 Vass joined Malinky, the internationally respected champions of traditional Scots song. He played fiddle and tenor guitar on their Flower and Iron album, toured regularly with the band until 2010 and following their five –year hiatus he returned to record Far Better Days and play further concerts with them in 2015.
Vass’s status as a composer whose tunes have been featured by organisations such as the BBC and Visit Scotland as well as being played and recorded by musicians including Brian Finnegan, Kan, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas, Anna Massie & Mairearad Green, and Irish/American band Comas, began to grow exponentially with his 2010 Celtic Connections New Voices commission, String Theory.