Aly Bain is a master of the Shetland, Scotland style of fiddling. A member of the Boys of the Lough since 1971, Bain has been a featured contributor on albums by Richard Thompson, Bert Jansch, Connie Dover, and Jay Ungar. In addition to several solo albums, Bain has recorded and toured in a duo that he shares with ex-Silly Wizard accordionist/keyboardist Phil Cunningham. He collaborated with Norwegian composer Henning Sommerro on an album of Shetland and Norwegian music, Songs of the Sea.
Bain began playing the fiddle at the age of 11 and studied under influential Shetland fiddler Tom Anderson. In the late '70s, he played on two of Anderson's albums — The Silver Bow and Shetland Folk Fiddling, Vol. 2. Honing his craft in a series of local bands, Bain attracted international attention after joining Irish/Scottish band, the Boys of the Lough, whom he met at the Falkirk Folk Festival in 1969. He released his debut solo outing, First Album, in 1985. Three years later, he traveled to Louisiana to record the album, Aly Meets the Cajuns. The same year, he met Phil Cunningham at a pub near Edinburgh and they agreed to tour together. Their first duo album, The Pearl, released in 1994, was followed by The Ruby in 1997.
Bain has hosted several musical series for BBC Television. Down Home explored the spread of the Celtic fiddle tradition from Ireland and Scotland to North America. Push the Boat Out, shown in 1991, was taped during the Mayfest celebrations in Glasgow. The Shetland Set, shown the same year, was taped at the Shetland Folk Festival. Bain's autobiography, Fiddler on the Loose, co-written by Alistair Clark, was published by Mainstream Publishing in 1993. ~ Craig Harris