Bond girl Elspeth Hanson thrills Highland village with casual concert at Blazin’ in Beauly

One of the world’s biggest music stars, who has played live to millions of people and sold almost 5 million albums, had a Highland community shaken, but not stirred, when she played to a packed village hall.

Elspeth Hanson on stage at Blazin' in Beauly

Photograph by: Gerry McCannElspeth Hanson on stage at Blazin’ in Beauly

Elspeth Hanson, a member of the world renowned electric string quartet Bond, took to the stage in Beauly, near Inverness (12 Oct) as part of a week long celebration of traditional Scottish fiddle music.

The concert at the Phipps Hall in Beauly, which has an audience capacity of just 200 people, was a far cry from the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics at which she performed with Bond in front of a global audience of 750 million.

Hanson, who was born in London to Scottish parents, is a great fan of fiddle music, often playing at box and fiddle nights, ceilidhs, fiddle rallies and concerts up and down the country, while she was undergoing her classical studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

She was the first musician to ever perform Scots trad in her end of year classical recital and has had Scots trad jam sessions with violinist Nigel Kennedy. She even wrote her degree dissertation on the use and relevance of Gaelic song in modern day.

“As a young violinist I have always found playing Scottish trad, such a freeing and enjoyable experience,” she said.

“The techniques, while challenging to learn initially, have contributed significantly to my violin style and I now consider myself more of a folk/trad violinist than a classical one, despite my day job as a classical musician! “

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Photograph by: Gerry McCann

Since joining Bond, Hanson has played all over the world. Considered the best-selling string quartet in history they have sold almost 5 million albums and achieved 56 platinum and 15 gold discs.

Hanson famously performed solo violin with David Beckham, guitar legend, Jimmy Page, and Leona Lewis in the London 2012 Handover at the Beijing Olympics Closing Ceremony in 2008, and again at the London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony.

She has also played at the BBC Proms with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and has recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Prague Philharmonia.

Bruce MacGregor, founder of the group Blazin’ Fiddles and organiser of the week long event, said it was all down to social media that Elspeth had agreed to play in Beauly.

“We were following each other on Twitter when Elspeth said she’d learnt some fiddle techniques I’d posted on YouTube years ago. I suggested that Bond and Blazin’ Fiddles could work on something together and the next thing I knew she was here,” said Bruce.