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 BIOGs - DUNCAN McFARLANE and The DUNCAN McFARLANE BAND

 
DUNCAN McFARLANE
first, then a bit about the band's personnel and history follows...

Born of Scottish parentage Feb 1954 at R.A.F. Cosford, Wolverhampton - an R.A.F. child! Never long in one place.

Schooled in Uxbridge, Middlesex; Germany; Acton; and Soham, Cambridgeshire.
Aged 15 or so, struggled to master C, F & G7 etc. for hours on end in the bedroom using my dad's battered old nylon strung guitar.

First performed (in a duo with Tot Taylor) at Ely Folk Club at the Old Fire Engine House, 1971.
First guest ever seen - Martin Carthy! Started saving up for a guitar of my own!

First guitar - worked all summer of 1972 at Butlins, Ayr. Saved the wages and bought my very first 'own' acoustic guitar! - A Barnes-Mullins Dunc at Dunure harbour, just down the road from Ayr, 1972

Further Ed. -
Went to Middleton St. George Teacher Training College between Darlington and Stockton Sept 1972
where
an electric guitar was put in my hands. Subsequently sold the acoustic guitar, 1973!

The music starts in earnest (OK, Leeds!) - Arrived in Leeds 1974, eventually formed semi-pro pub-rock and
college-circuit band called Luigi Ana Da Boys. Played up to five times a week all over the country!
Luigi 1977 - and there's a young Geoff (from the current band) on the right!

1977 Recorded an L.P. (on vinyl!) of my songs, ‘Feeling the Ceiling’ with Leeds band ‘Luigi Ana Da Boys’.
Oft-played by John Peel on his show on BBC Radio One, he usually introduced us as ‘a bunch of itinerate waiters from Leeds’. The LP sold 1000 copies in Yorkshire alone! There's a sample track of that CD on our CD page.
Here's a scan of one side of that record's label which has been 'stuck' to the side of my guitar case for years!
In 2007 I saw a vinyl 'collectors' website selling a pristine copy of that album for 1600 and some!!!

I left Luigi in 1979 and performed, for many years, semi-pro in pub-rock and college-circuit 
bands including Sharp Practice, The Way, A New Opera, Another Way.

1987 - became a dad - and sometime later, got a possible album design done for me!.......

1994, retired from rock due to persistent back trouble! Who needs to tote speaker cabs and amps??

1995, finally purchased another acoustic guitar! Camped at Whitby Folk Festival - attended guitar workshops. Returned every year since.

Despite being in rock bands all those years - never stopped listening to folk - or attending concerts.

1999 New years’ resolution - get back into playing music -  back where it started for me - folk!
Attended many 'sing-arounds'/singers' nights/acoustic clubs in West Yorkshire and beyond.... searching for a 'home'.

May 1999 attended a sing-around at Millfolk, Pool-in-Wharfedale, as a solo performer
- was made very welcome - returned virtually every week on Thursdays for a couple of years.

October 1999 played half hour solo support spot at a Sat night concert at  Millfolk, Pool. - Thanks Mark!  
Praised that night by a lady claiming to be an agent (though she didn’t give me her card!) Was advised to spread my wings further a-field!
Subsequently tried floor spots as a solo performer at several more local folk clubs such as Bradford, York, Ripon, Harrogate, Keighley and Skipton.

There was some immediate response:- Booked for a concert at the Black-a-Moor, Ripon.
Offered first professional solo booking at The Grove, Leeds, Feb. 2nd where over eighty  people squeezed in!

From point things escalated a little: I supported 'leading' artists such as - 
Bill Jones, Damien Barber, Vin Garbutt, Martin Carthy, Jackie McShee's Pentangle, Emily Slade, Munday/Turner, Last Night's Fun and the New House Band  
. . . . and picked up various solo professional bookings around the country! I also appeared solo at festivals such as Robin Hood’s Bay Folk Week-End, 
Whitby Festival '01 (half hour demonstration ‘concert’ each day on the Oakwood Instrument stand, then at that festival's 'hiring fair' in '02)
- subsequently got booked for Saddleworth Festival and Harrogate Folk Club. I then got more festival bookings....
Cleckheaton, Caversham, Holmfirth & Otley Folk Festival - where I also ran a workshop for 'guitar in C modal'. 

A shift of regular attendance - Otley Jan '01 to Otley FC on their Wednesday night meets.
The Pool club organisers went there every week too and encouraged me to go to Otley as well. The format there proved more amenable to my finger-picking style (room less noisy than the bar at Pool!) and I made Otley my 'home' as the folks there were more or less the same clientele plus other fab new friends I met there!
As a result, the Otley Festival '01 saw the debut of the Duncan McFarlane Band - and there was I trying to get away from the band thing!
Still, I only have to take my acoustic guitar, that's a blessing!
The band has subsequently gone from strength to strength - and also formed an 'acoustic' offshoot.

Cambridge! - In 03 the DMcFband (acoustic) were invited to, and subsequently played
a half hour slot in the 'Club Tent' at Cambridge Festival!


Dates keep coming - when you're done here, try the 'Gigs' button to see the extent of it all!

Debut 'solo' CD 'Bed of Straw’ was released on the 20th September ’01 and later, in late '03, the title track,
my self-penned 'Bed of Straw', had its lyric and music published in the prestigious EFDSS quarterly magazine.

CDs of the DMcF Band (both electric AND acoustic line-ups) have now been recorded and released - see the CD page

Radio airplay - Tracks from 'Bed of Straw' and the (electric) DMcFband's 'Live One' CD soon received both local and international radio airplay
and music from 'Bed of Straw' was featured on BBC Radio Two's Mike Harding Show.
In the years since, tracks from various McF CDs have been played - and indeed, 'live' McF performances have been made on many a radio station
from Canada & USA, to Italy & France, as well as several BBC & Independent, regional stations!

Second! - Duncan came a 'close' second in the Mudcat Alternative British Folk Awards 04
- in the Best Club Singer/Performer Category

First band studio CD - The DMcFband (electric) produced their first studio CD 'Woodshed Boys' in 2004 followed our debut 'Live One' CD (2003)

2005 - The electric band played several notable festival gigs, highlights being when we....
headlined at Whitby's Moor & Coast Festival and played to 800+ in the Ham Marquee on the final Friday evening of Sidmouth Folk Week 05!!!
We were asked back to headline a concert at Sidmouth 06 because of our previous year's success!
We also released our second 'Live' CD - guess what!? - called 'Live Two'!!

2006 - Duncan was asked to perform (solo) at Cecil Sharp House in early 2006 - a privilege and honour!

The band, by now, plays several festivals a year - and Duncan continues to play fests and folk clubs 'solo' too
(though often takes various members of the band to play acoustically with him on these jaunts!)

2007 - the band's follow-up second 'studio' album 'All Rogues & Villains' was released on Sept 20th
Sales are still going well (home and abroad!) - bookings keep coming in - Folk Programmes such as  BBC's Leeds, Shropshire, Derby & Wales are featuring tracks from it - Radio airplay abroad from Italy to Alaska too! - our new album is getting highly-commended reviews...... click the reviews tab at the top!

2008/9 - 'Parts beyond the seas' - Duncan was invited to perform 'live' on a French radio station - then (a few months apart) two separate jaunts gigging in Denmark!

2009 - The electric band played the massive Stage One at Shrewsbury Folk Festival - a performance that was simultaneously broadcast on the worldwide web!

2010 - More and more festival work - and a new CD, this time the 'acoustic' band studio-debut.... 'Marked Out In Pegs' - released Sept 17th

2012 -
Martin Ward replaced Tony Rogerson on bass guitar in July that year. We played around 12 festivals again this year.

2013 - Our third 'electric' band studio CD is released, June 2013 - And some 12, or so, festivals for us again this year.

 

Now a little something about THE DUNCAN McFARLANE BAND personnel...

Well there's Duncan McFarlane obviously! - acoustic & electric guitars, cittern, mandolin, bass guitar, vocals - then there's...

Dundee born and bred Anne Brivonese on acoustic & electric fiddle & vocals - lives & teaches in Leeds

On drums, Nick Pepper - Southern origins - supports Fulham FC - no comment! Lives & works in wood, in Leeds


On electric guitar (sometimes acoustic gtr, cittern & mandolin), Geoff Taylor - a Leeds lad! Worked in printing since 'e wor a lad.

On melodeon & vocal duties, Steve Fairholme - Otley resident & man-about-France (as often as possible!)


We've got new 'boy' Martin Ward on the bass guitar (since July 2012) - the only change since we started!
Mart's a York resident, though a Leeds lad originally. Be wary out there - he's often found in Lycra, out on the open road!
See below for his predecessor....

On bass guitar from our inception in 2001 up until 2012, was Tony Rogerson - resides in Otley,
but might just be a Southerner! Works in computers for Yorkshire Water when he isn't doing long walks in the mountains!
He retired from duties to concentrate on a new relationship, long walks, many holidays (many!)  - and remains our good buddy - Bless ya Tony! xx

HISTORY
- The Duncan McFarlane Band exist in two formats - electric AND acoustic.
The electric version was formed for a 'one-off' pub gig (in the Junction) as a fringe part of Otley Folk Festival 2000.
I'd been trying to get away from the 'band thing' and perform solo for a few months by then,
but didn't fancy playing a 'pub gig' atmosphere as just 'one-man-and-a-guitar' so amongst others, I drafted in Anne (fiddle) and Geoff (electric guitar).
The band blew the place apart (!) and we were re-booked by the landlady for the following January 01.
The original makeshift line-up wasn't able to carry on, so two new members, Tony & Nick,
were drafted in for this second occasion. They'd learned the songs via my home recordings! 
A surprise to them all was that Steve turned up with his melodeons having spent his Christmas holidays learning the songs from those recordings too
- it was to be a seat-of-the-pants affair - The band members were literally introduced to those they hadn't met before at the sound-check!
Surprise, surprise! We played well - The packed house loved it! We were offered more bookings!
Once again, believing this too was to have been a 'one-off', I'd had the gig recorded by Rod Holt on his new 24 track mobile digital system. The 'Live One' CD that emerged from that night still sells like hot cakes! (Details: click the tab at the top for the CD page)
.....and the band keeps getting both booked, and better and better...honest!

Our rhythm 'powerhouse' Nick & Tony have played in bands together before,
notably in the Upsiders with one Dave Vermond! 
Geoff
has been playing lead guitar in bands with Duncan since at least 1977. 
So b****y long ago, we can't remember when exactly it was!

As mentioned above, just the one change in personnel since we started in 2001 - Martin replacing Tony on bass guitar in 2012.

The Duncan McFarlane Band (acoustic) came about by default also.
I took to playing some of my 'solo' bookings with Anne Brivonese (from the band) on fiddle. I found it easier having someone else there as a foil!
Before long this moved on to us asking Geoff to 'have a go' on an acoustic with us 'for fun' one time.
Steve soon 'eased' in as a natural progression - and there we were! 
Geoff, having stolen my Oakwood hand-made cittern from me (for two years!), also played that and his acoustic guitar at acoustic band gigs....
After two years of pretend-ownership, he eventually bought the cittern from me!
Emulating the leccie band, we recorded a live performance of the acoustic format
 - and the CD of that gig sells extremely well too! (Details: click the tab at the top for the CD page)
A high spot for this format of our band 'life' came when we were invited invited to play a half hour in the Club Tent at CAMBRIDGE FESTIVAL 03!!!
But since then, Geoff 'retired' from playing acoustic instruments to concentrate solely on being a leccie guitar player.
A couple of years later still, Otley stalwart Gerry McNeice joined the acoustic McFs on double bass and backing vocals.
The 'accie' band released its debut studio CD in September 2010  (Details: click the tab at the top for the CD page)
 The accy band lost Gerry to the sheer amount of work
he puts in on his own solo and band pursuits - and all the PA work he's taken on as one of folk's hard-working Soundmen.
He has not been replaced and the acoustic dMb carries on these days mostly as a trio comprising of Anne, Steve & Duncan,
although sometimes Mart joins us on bass.

 

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