From Orkney, Scotland, James has progressed from playing his first concert at the age of 8, on the same day as his first lesson, to 20 years later being highly regarded as one of Orkney’s most accomplished accordionists. He has taught privately and at the Orkney Traditional Music Project for many years and recently at the Curso Internacional de Música Tradicional in Spain. James has collaborated internationally with musicians from as far as Argentina and Dubai. He has been strongly influenced by Irish, Continental, Asturian, Classical, Rock and Blues in addition to the more traditional scene which have contributed to his own unique and recognised style of playing.
Born in London in the early 1960s to an Irish mother and an English father who both loved dance music of any kind, it was no surprise that Karen took up the accordion at the age of 11. Having been voted the All Ireland Accordion champion on five occasions Karen finally turned professional in the late 1980s and has risen to become one of the leading lights on both the UK and International folk scenes. She has appeared on over 70 albums and is known for being deft and dexterous as a musician; wacky and enchanting as a performer.
As a tutor at universities, workshops, summer schools and master classes in the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia, Karen also teaches privately and by skype, opening her ideas to students worldwide.
Originally from Coatbridge, Scotland; Ellen is living-proof that it is never too late to learn an instrument. Having grown up in an area where musical opportunities were rare, Ellen never let go of her dream to learn the accordion after seeing first time at the age of 9. 28 years later, while living in Orkney, she was finally able to pursue her ambition and began learning at the Orkney Traditional Music Project in 1997 where she would later teach for an impressive 15 years. Since first picking up an instrument at the age of 37, Ellen has recently conducted one of her own compositions, written for 61 musicians, at the Glasgow Mitchell Theatre as part of Celtic Connections.