Notes from the boat – the record

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I started making an album last spring in a very unusual floating recording studio…..

I invited ten musicians to join me aboard my old Dutch sailing boat Sweet Harmony while she was docked at Inverkip on the Clyde just before my brother, Martin, and I set off on a 2,500 mile sailing adventure taking in Ireland, Isle of Man, Wales, England, Spain, Portugal, Madeira and the Canary Islands.

In the Wake of Neil Gunn

In the Wake of Neil Gunn

May 2014 will see renowned Scottish fiddler and composer Mike Vass undertake a mirror voyage of writer Neil Gunn’s 1937 adventure round the west coast of Scotland, performing community concerts along the way featuring stories, music and local history.

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Scotsman Review

Scotsman Review

Thanks very much to Norman Chalmers for this nice review in the Scotsman

String Theory
Rusty Squash Horn Records RSH001CD, £11.99

Nimble and competent, if portentously titled, this album is no breakthrough in cosmic understanding, but rather a craftsmanlike work of composition and performance by one of the country’s leading young fiddlers. Commissioned by Celtic Connections and performed there by a rake of his top musician pals, this is essentially contemporary Scots neo-traditional music, set alight occasionally by a harmonic and rhythmic shift into rarer orbits, including the vocally produced modality.

Download this: Cavers Of Kirkudbright

Mike Vass releases his debut solo album String Theory this week .


Rusty Squash Horn Records (own label)

Mike Vass releases his debut solo album String Theory this week .

Nairn Musician and Composer Vass is best known for his duo work with his sister Ali, and for his
previous work with Folk Band of the Year ‘Malinky’. A gifted multi-instrumentalist, his fiddle
playing has been described as ‘exceptionally expressive’ (Keith Clark) ‘sweet, unhurried’ and
‘seriously graceful’ (Alex Monaghan). More recently he has gained a reputation as being one of
Scotland’s top tunesmiths. He was the winner of the inaugural Niel Gow International Composition
award in 2008.

String Theory is an entirely self-penned album based on Mike’s Celtic Connections commission in
2010 which was part of the festival’s New Voices series. One of the highlights, the avant-garde
piece Man’s Search, inspired by Viktor Frankl’s best-selling book (Man’s Search for Meaning), was
described as ‘utterly compelling’ (Barry Gordon) and was subsequently featured by the Victor
Frankl Institute in Austria to commemorate Frankl’s birthday. BBC Radio Scotland previewed
tracks from String Theory as part of their St. Andrews Day Celebration broadcast in November, and
during Celtic Connections 2011.

String Theory is an ambitious, exciting work featuring a multi-instrumental line up including fiddle,
bagpipes, accordion, guitar, banjo and piano. The record showcases some of Scotland’s leading
musicians, including Anna Massie (Blazin Fiddles), Megan Henderson (Salsa Celtica) and Calum
MacCrimmon (Breabach/Unusual Suspects). The end result is a varied and engaging album.
Mike is touring mainland UK throughout April with his twin sister Ali,
(, and embarks on a Scottish Islands tour in June flanked by Calum
MacCrimmon and Innes Watson. Live performances of tracks from String Theory have been filmed
for BBC Alba, to be televised later this year.

String Theory is available now from & iTunes
& from all good record shops from April


CDs arrived today!

CDs arrived today! 

Hurray, it’s been a long wait, but my CDs finally arrived from the pressing plant today!

For those of you who pre-ordered, thank you for your patience, they are on their way!

for anyone else who would like one, please visit the shop.