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Malinky is a Scottish folk band specialising in Scots song.

Formed in autumn 1998, the original members were Karine Polwart from Banknock, Stirlingshire (vocals, guitar, bouzouki), Steve Byrne from Arbroath (vocals, guitar, bouzouki, mandolin), Mark Dunlop from Garryduff, Co. Antrim (bodhrán, whistles, vocals) and English fiddler Kit Patterson.

First meeting to rehearse in early October that year, the band was largely formed to help Polwart fulfil a support slot at Edinburgh Folk Club some ten days later, supporting harpist and storyteller Robin Williamson, formerly of the Incredible String Band. The members had previously encountered each other around the lively pub session scene in Edinburgh in venues such as Sandy Bell’s and the Royal Oak bars. Polwart was a social worker, Byrne a student of Scottish Studies, Dunlop a town planner with the city council, and Patterson a computer programmer from Plymouth.

The band’s first album ‘Last Leaves’ was recorded in 1999 and released at Celtic Connections 2000, with the late Davy Steele as producer. In early 2001, Edinburgh-born Jon Bews, formerly of Burach, replaced Patterson on fiddle, and later that year Tyrone button box and whistle player Leo McCann was asked to join to expand the band’s largely string-driven sound.

In September 2004 the band announced a major change of personnel. Polwart left to pursue a solo career and McCann’s imminent fatherhood prompted him to return to his previous career in social work. Polwart and McCann worked their notice until February 2005, coincidentally the same month as Polwart swept the boards at the Radio 2 Folk Awards, catapulting her re-released 2003 solo album ‘Faultlines’ to greater heights.


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