No protesting about Gaughan’s greatness

The Leeds Gathering: A celebration of Traditional Irish Music and Arts 6th -17th November 2008''Dick Gaughan
The Leeds Gathering: A celebration of Traditional Irish Music and Arts 6th -17th November 2008''Dick Gaughan

MORE than just a protest singer, Dick has been at the cutting edge of Scottish music for almost four decades.

Now audiences in Knaresborough have the chance to see him perform in the intimate setting of Frazer Theatre.

Guitarist, singer, songwriter, actor, musical director, composer, arranger, producer, engineer, Gaughan was brought up in the musical traditions and culture of the Gaels, both Scots and Irish.

Appearing at the Frazer on Friday, June 8, this winner of a Lifetime Achievement Award at BBC Radio 2’s annual Folk Awards, is also a stunning singer with a wonderfully expressivebut controlled voice full of passion and the knowledge acquired on a long and fascinating journey in music.

Described regularly as a “Scottish traditional folk singer” and as a “political singer/songwriter,” he’s not a man to like to labour under the yoke of anyone else’s label.

Talking to Rock ‘n’ Reel magazine Gaughan said: “The only label I’d be prepared to hang on myself would be “musician”. To me that covers everything from playing an instrument to singing to composing to everything else. I’ll try whatever interests me at any point.”

Dick has been a professional musician and singer since January 1970, having started playing guitar aged seven.

Whatever he has done over the decades, there is one for thing for certain about Dick Gaughan - he always means what he says.

“In order for me to sing a song I have to have a complete uncompromised belief in the truth of it. I have to believe and feel comfortable with every word of the lyric and every note of the tune.”

Gaughan was an early member of the Boys of the Lough and is on their first album.

He was with the legendary Scottish folk-rock band, Five Hand Reel, making three albums with them in the mid-to-late 1970s.

In the 1990s he founded and produced the short-lived but quite extraordinary ensemble Clan Alba.

Standing still has never been an option for him.

Talking to Rock ‘n’ Reel magazine he said: “I’m possessed by a restlessness. People thought I was crazy leaving the Boys of the Lough just as they were beginning to become commercially successful.”

It’s an approach which may not have brought him riches but it’s meant he’s always been an audience’s favourite and is highly respected by his peers.

l For ticket information for Gaughan’s Frazer Theatre show, visit