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Biography

"Fiddler Ron Gonnella was originally from Dundee, and lived for many years in Crieff, Perthshire until his death in 1994. Gonnella's great grandfather was a Robert Dewar, who was a shepherd near Tulliemet in Perthshire. Ron Gonnella recorded at least fifteen albums and taught at Morrison's Academy in Crieff for many years. When he wasn't there he was travelling the world playing Scottish fiddle, recording albums, and performing on radio, stage and dance halls. His great love was the music of the Golden Age of Scots fiddle, typified by the compositions of Niel and Nathaniel Gow, Robert Mackintosh, William Marshall and Joseph Lowe. Gonnella played in the Scottish Dance Band circuit with the bands of Jim Johnstone and Andrew Rankine. He had his own band for a while - featuring Iain MacPhail on accordion - but it was as a solo artist that he toured all over the world promoting Scots fiddle music.

Until he married - late in his life - Gonnella would sit in his small flat and listen to his precious record collection and practise the fiddle tunes for his next recording. Top Scottish fiddlers such as Duncan Wood and Gregor Borland have told me of their admiration for his skills and techniques, and I think of him as a fiddler's fiddler. The instrument he mostly played was a 1722 Italian violin made by Carlo Antonio Tanegia. I have been told that after his death there were a number of fiddlers desperate to try it to achieve the same wonderful tone that Gonnella produced; in the end it turned out to be a mediocre fiddle, and it was the musician who was special, not the instrument." (Nigel Gatherer, www.nigelgatherer.com/perf/fiddlers/gonel.html)

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