Sad passing of champion North-east fiddler Gordon Easton
Weel-kent musician Gordon Easton has passed away at the age of 91.
Mr Easton died last week at Culsh House, New Deer.
A familiar face across the Shire, Gordon featured at number 16 in the Ellon Times’ 100 best-known North-east notables’ last year.
The eldest of five, Gordon Ritchie Easton lived most of his days up at Wellhead, Tyrie where he was brought up on the family croft.
He attended Tyrie School, where the church hall now stands, then the current school up to the age of 14, before working on the croft with his great grandfather who taught him all the tricks of the trade.
Gordon married Isobel Reid in 1946 and, up until her death last May, the pair rarely spent a day apart. When Gordon had to move to Culsh House last year, they still phoned each other twice a day.
With two children - Ethel born 1947 and Gordon born 1953 - as well as four grandchildren and six great grandchildren, there was never a dull moment. Gordon didn’t take much time off for holidays, but every Sunday during the summer he used to take off with his family and explore parts of Scotland, often driving from 7am to midnight.
Living in a very musical household soon rubbed off on Gordon. His mother and grandmother were good singers, and both had a vast knowledge of traditional ballads.
At the age of around nine, Gordon got his first fiddle when it’s thought that he could tune it ‘pitch perfect’ before he could even play a melody on it.
It took the musician to reach his late fifties before he plucked up the courage to enter fiddling contests.
Thereafter he moved up to singing in public at traditional ballad and bothy ballad competitions, then the Doric verse, ‘moothie’, jews harp and diddling competitions, all of which he won first place in.
The best moment for Gordon was being crowned the winner of the Macallan Bothy Ballad ‘Champion of Champions’ at Elgin, followed by being made an Honorary Life Member of the TMSA.
Gordon’s other highlights included a trip to Shetland performing in the Music Festival and taking part in the Whitby Festival, aged 82, where he was described as the ‘One Man Music Festival’.
Gordon’s grandson, Ellon and District Councillor, Richard Thomson, said that his grandfather was well liked by all.
Mr Thomson said: “He was such a well known face on the music scene and had many great friends. There was a huge turnout at the service at Tyrie Kirk with many of his friends able to attend.”