Phil Cunningham (folk musician)
Philip Martin Cunningham, MBE (born 27 January 1960 in Edinburgh, Scotland) is a Scottish folk musician and composer. He is best known for playing the accordion with Silly Wizard, as well as in other bands and in duets with his brother, Johnny. When they played together, Johnny and Phil would often horse around as only brothers can, egging each other on to play faster and faster, and trying, light-heartedly, to trip each other up.
|Born||27 January 1960|
|Genres||Folk, Traditional Scottish, Celtic|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, Composer, Producer, Presenter|
|Instruments||Accordion, Violin, Piano, Guitar, Tin whistle, Harmonium, Synthesizer, Mandolin, Irish Bouzouki, Bass guitar|
|Associated acts||Silly Wizard, Aly Bain, Relativity, Eddi Reader, Bonnie Raitt, Mark Knopfler|
Phil has also collaborated with numerous other great Celtic musicians; one prominent example of this is his partnership with Aly Bain. The duo have (as of 2020) released nine albums, and between 1989 and 2019 they had a yearly spot at the New Year's Hogmanay Live broadcast on BBC Scotland.
Cunningham played accordion and violin from a young age. He attended school in Portobello, and was raised Mormon, attending church regularly and playing organ. However, by age fifteen due to issues with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints he left, and now describes himself as a spiritualist.
At the age of 16, he left school and joined his older brother Johnny in the group Silly Wizard, where he sang and played accordion, tin whistle, harmonium, guitar, and synthesizer. He also wrote many of the group's songs. After the breakup of Silly Wizard, Phil and Johnny recorded two albums and toured with Irish siblings Mícheál Ó Domhnaill and Triona Ni Domhnaill as the quartet Relativity. Phil has since had a successful solo career, releasing the solo albums Airs & Graces and The Palomino Waltz and producing albums with Aly Bain, Mark Knopfler, Connie Dover and Kris Drever.
In more recent years, Phil has also composed classical music and music for theatre and television, with 1997 seeing the premiere of his Highlands and Islands Suite at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
- Airs & Graces (1983)
- Palomino Waltz (1989)
- Caledonia's Hardy Sons (1978)
- So Many Partings (1980)
- Wild and Beautiful (1981)
- Kiss the Tears Away (1983)
- A Glint of Silver (1986)
- Live Wizardry (1988)
- Relativity (1986)
- Gathering Pace (1987)
With Johnny CunninghamEdit
- Against the Storm (1980)
With Aly BainEdit
- The Pearl (1995)
- The Ruby (1997)
- Another Gem (2000)
- Spring The Summer Long (2003)
- Best of Aly and Phil (2004)
- Roads Not Travelled (2006)
- Portrait (2010)
- Five and Twenty (2012)
- No Rush (2020)
With Connie DoverEdit
- Somebody (1991)
- The Wishing Well (1994)
- If Ever I Return (1997)
- The Border of Heaven (2000)
With Kris DreverEdit
- Mark the Hard Earth (2010)
With Mark KnopflerEdit
- Cunningham, Phil. "Phil Cunningham: 10 Things That Changed My Life". The National. Herald and Times Group. Newsquest Media Group. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
- "Phil and Johnny Cunningham". YouTube. Retrieved 6 January 2012. Johnny and Phil in concert with Silly Wizard, Oct. 1986.
- Scougall, Murray. "Should auld acquaintance be forgot? Musician Phil Cunningham on no longer being a part of BBC Scotland's Hogmanay". The Sunday Post. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
- "Lifestyle | The Scotsman". Scotsman.com. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
- "Phil Cunningham – Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame". projects.handsupfortrad.scot. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
- "Graduation Honorary Awards : News Headlines : Glasgow Caledonian University". Gcal.ac.uk. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
- "IndieLondon: Mark Knopfler – Privateering (Review) - Your London Reviews". Indielondon.co.uk. Retrieved 29 July 2020.