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Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021: Tarland fiddler Paul Anderson says MBE news came ‘totally out of the blue’

Paul Anderson MBE
Paul Anderson MBE

A fiddler who has travelled the world sharing his love of traditional music said it was “a total surprise” to be included on the Queen’s birthday honours list.

Paul Anderson has been made an MBE for his services to Scottish fiddle tradition and charity.

The 51-year-old, from Tarland, has travelled the world as a musician and tutor for more than 20 years and has also enjoyed success as a musical director and composer.

He said the news came “totally out of the blue” and that it still feels unreal after finding out a few weeks ago.

“It was a total surprise but very exciting, it’s nice to be acknowledged and to see traditional Scottish music being recognised,” Mr Anderson said.

“Even though I was completely in the dark, my wife (Scots singer Shona Donaldson) did have an inkling as she’d heard whispers that a few people had put me forward.

“It’ll take a wee while for it to sink in but I’ll probably have a family gathering to celebrate at some point, not a big party, just something low-key.”

Paul Anderson performing in Banchory. Picture: Heather Fowlie/DCT Media.

Mr Anderson has been playing the fiddle since he found one hidden under a bed at his grandparent’s house when he was just nine.

He said: “We’ve always had traditional music in the house and it is something I get a lot of pleasure from.”

His work has involved a research post at the Elphinstone Institute where he investigated ways to reconnect local musicians with the unique fiddle style of the north-east.

Mr Anderson has also been recognised for his charity work such as concerts and composing tunes for auction – one of which raised £5,000. He said he will always help out with charities when he can and views it as a way to put music to good use.

The Tarland resident organised a concert at The Music Hall featuring some of Scotland’s finest musicians and raised more than £13,000 for Friends of Anchor. He came into contact with the charity at ARI while he himself was undergoing chemotherapy for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

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