I have been playing the guitar for over 55 years. I was lead guitarist in the rock band “The Rebels” in Fort William in the 1960s (we came second in the Scottish National “MacBeat” band competition) and went on to play fingerstyle guitar, mostly ragtime and blues.
I lived for some time in Tenerife, where I had a bar and met many Spanish guitarists who introduced me to Flamenco and the Classical guitar. On my return to Britain I taught Classical Guitar at the Carnegie Music Institute in Dunfermline for a year or two, and have been teaching guitar in various styles ever since.
I also compose music for differing styles of guitar, and have written various electric guitar tunes designed for use in schools for Standard Grade Guitar exams. In fact, a few years ago I was temporarily appointed as a consultant on guitar to the Scottish Qualifications Board, supplying them with exemplars of different guitar music for the appropriate GCSE exams.
Some of my work has been published in the Classical Guitar magazine. One of my ensemble pieces, “Cancion Sin Fronteras”, which I wrote for the “Los Desperados” Guitar Ensemble, and published on the internet, has been performed by guitar groups in about 17 different countries from South America to North America and Europe. In addition Taigh Na Teud Publishers in the Isle of Skye have produced two books - some of my ensemble arrangements of traditional music and a book of “Celtic Reels ‘n Jigs for Guitar” in which I have set out some traditional tunes with guitar tablature. There are also home-produced books such as “Mostly Blues” with fingerstyle pieces and several more advanced books with classical tremolo pieces including a couple of Celtic traditional airs.
Two of my ex-pupils are now professional musicians – Scott Rinning, frontman for the well-known ”Cinematics” rock band, and Gary MacLeod, a professional classical guitarist based in Edinburgh. Over the years I have helped many pupils through the Associated Board Grade Exams in Classical Guitar or the Rock School Exams in electric guitar, or the Standard and Higher Grade exams for school.
I believe it is very good for a guitarist’s development to play with other people and to this end have formed various ensembles. One of the most successful was “Los Desperados”, a ten-strong group featuring guitars, bass, charango, flute, harp and pan pipes. We played mostly South American and Spanish folk music with some Bach and jazz thrown in, but are sadly now defunct due to the impossible logistics of assembling regularly for rehearsals.
At the present time I have several guitar ensembles of my young pupils – The Senior Quartet, the Junior Quartet, the Junior Boys’ Trio and the Junior Girls’ Trio. They are all fairly competent sight readers and represent a wide spread of age and ability from beginner to advanced. Everybody puts in a huge amount of work in learning their parts and rehearsing together.
Contact: Duncan Kennedy
Address: Dunvournie, Blairninich, Strathpeffer IV14 9AB
Telephone: 01997 421124