The musical traditions of Scotland have been updated through the concertina playing and composing of Edinburgh-born Simon Thoumire. The recipient of a BBC Young Tradition Award, in 1987, Thoumire has continued to build on the traditions with his virtuosic playing. According to http://www.lismor.co.uk, Thoumire is "one of the most technically accomplished players of the concertina to emerge in recent years." Thoumire's involvement with music began, at the young age of nine, when he played bagpipes in Boys Brigade. His interests in the concertina were sparked by a sister, who studied accordion with influential teacher Chrissie Leatham. Acquiring a concertina from a friend of Leatham's, he quickly mastered the instrument. Honing his skills during informal jam sessions at local folk clubs, Thoumire performed his first professional shows as a member of the Hopscotch Ceilidh Band. His first break came when he was invited to join Seannachie in 1987. During the five years that he was initially in the band, his playing was featured on two albums -- Take Note, released in 1988, and Devil's Delight, released four years later. Although he returned to perform a series of reunion concerts, in 1997 and 1998, the group disbanded before recording. Releasing his debut solo album, Hootz, recorded with Scottish guitarist Ian Carr, in 1990, while still a member of Seannachie, Thoumire increasingly focused on his solo career. Forming Simon Thoumire Three with jazz musicians Kevin MacKenzie and Brian Shiels, they successfully fused Celtic music and jazz with their first album, Waltzes for Playboys, in 1993. Their second effort, March, Strathspey, & Surreal, released three years later, remains their masterpiece, with its artistic approach to traditional Celtic music. Thoumire has continued to explore the outer realms of Celtic music. Together with keyboard wiz Fergus MacKenzie, he recorded Exhibit A in 1995. Two years later, he joined with members of American folk group the Mollys and Scottish producer Hamish MacGregor to record an album of traditional tunes, Trip to Scotland. Thoumire's most ambitious effort, Music for a New Scottish Parliament, was composed to mark the first Parliament session in three hundred years and was recorded at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in May 1999. Thoumire had previously composed and performed, "The Scottish Requiem," to celebrate one thousand years of the Roman Mass being used in Scotland. Since 1999, Thoumire has overseen his own label, Tartan Records. A fiddle-oriented subsidiary, Foot Stompin' Records, has released albums by Liz Doherty and the Fiddlesticks. Thoumire formed a traditional Scottish band, Keep It Up.
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