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Mikk Skinner - 1953-2017

Mikk Skinner passed away on Saturday 24 June at the age of 64. Mikk was born in Bristol in 1953, but he spent most of his life in the Nottingham area. He was a popular character in sessions around Nottingham. A talented guitarist and singer, Mikk was also a fine cajon and low whistle player. His greatest passion was accompanying fiddle players on guitar, and he would often attend FiddleOn events including the walking and fiddle weekends in the Cotswolds and the Isle of Wight. One year he went to Blazin’ in Beauly in Scotland, where he spent a whole week surrounded by over 100 fiddle players. At these events Mikk would often play music right through the night, only going to bed at daybreak.

Vin Garbutt - 20 November 1947 - 6 June 2017

It is with deep sadness that we report the passing of Vin Garbutt. Vin’s heart problems over recent years have been aired in public, mainly from the mouth of Vin himself whose hilarious routines about his medical experiences should surely be available on prescription. Laughter is a great tonic and a medicine which Vin dished out like a pharmacist on steroids. Following recent heart surgery for valve replacements, Vin appeared to be making a good recovery, with some initial setbacks. But then shock at news of his death hit people hard. This isn’t an in-depth summary of Vin’s life - those records and tributes exist elsewhere - rather it is a fairly random collection of thoughts and observations from myself and others.

A tribute to Angus R Grant by 17 year old Grace Stewart-Skinner

To look at, Angus was nothing special. In fact, his baggy jeans, woolly jumper and signature unkempt beard gave him, if anything, a slightly shabby appearance. He did not feel the need to make a huge effort; he was far too busy living each and every moment of his life to the full. This is what I admired the most about Angus.

Danny Spooner

Everyone knew and loved Danny, a legend of the Australian folk world for more than 50 years since he arrived in Melbourne in 1962. I first met him in Darwin in the early 1980s. Characteristically he asked me, very much a beginner (a mature beginner!) on the folk scene then, to sing and play the concertina for him. Fellow Londoners, he grew up in the East End, real Cockney London, while I came from the outer suburbs.

Joe Stead - 17 June 1941 – 28 March 2017

Joe Stead passed away at the age of 75, after a brief spell in hospital close to his home in Sowerby Bridge. He was blessed with a life full of coincidences and opportunities grasped with both hands.

Eberhard “Paddy” Bort - 1954-2017

When Paddy Bort died in mid-February, I wrote in my initial tribute that a hole the size of Arthur’s Seat had appeared in the Edinburgh folk scene. Reflecting in the weeks since, as the tributes have been gathered in, it is clear that Paddy’s loss will force something of a shift in the tectonic plates of the folk scene in the city and further afield.

Michael (Mike/Mick) Ward

Michael Joseph Ward was born on the 25th November 1950 in Oakley, Fife, though, like his five siblings, he spent much of his life in Dunfermline. A highly intelligent, erudite individual, the educational institutions graced by his presence included Blairs College (near Aberdeen), The Gregorian University and The Scots College in Rome, and Glasgow University. After graduating from there, he entered the teaching profession, and for many years was a teacher of modern languages at Queen Anne High School in Dunfermline. An avid reader, he never stopped learning adding, in adulthood, the Gaelic language to his already impressive list of skills.

Ian Davison

On Christmas Day 2016, Ian Davison died. One of Scotland's most prolific and able songmakers in the traditional style, Ian, born in Glasgow in 1939, was captured for the Scottish Folk Revival by a 1957 lecture given in Glasgow’s Partick Burgh Halls by Norman Buchan, one of the three key kick-starters of the Revival. Ian went on to co-found the Glasgow University Folk Club, then to teach English with Norman in Rutherglen Academy, and co-run the Academy’s very influential folk club.

Angus R Grant - 1967-2016

It is with deep sadness we announce that Angus R Grant passed away on 9th October after a short illness. We would like to thank his doctors and the team from St Columba’s Hospice who enabled him to die peacefully at home surrounded by family and close friends. Here follows a short appreciation.

Dave Swarbrick - 5th April 1941 - 3rd June 2016

Much has been written and is still to be written about Dave Swarbrick. He was a giant figure making an impact from his first appearances as a teenager through to very recent times. His influence on Folk Rock was huge, but his most enduring musical relationship was his partnership with Martin Carthy. His musical story is well documented including features in previous issues of The Living Tradition.