Bert Mackenzie’s 70th Birthday Waltz

Louise Mackenzie played her tune as part of the tutors’ concert during Alasdair Fraser & Nathalie Haas’s fiddle course in Skye 2016… and her beginners’ class (which included me) liked it so much we persuaded her to teach it to us. It’s a bit noodley to learn by heart as phrases repeat so you have to keep a weather eye on where you are in the tune, but it’s such a lovely tune that it’s well worth the concentration. My personal tip is to keep an eye on how the B part includes Cs on the way up and that helps to remember the difference between the A and the B part, but if that just confuses you further, don’t worry. It’s very singable and therefore playable.

Our beginners’ class gave a short performance at the end of the week as part of the Friday night concert and so you can hear the tune here (filmed by my daughter – so forgive her for zooming in on me!). It’s the first tune we played (twice through). We’d only learned the tune since that Monday so it was a little terrifying but with fantastic teaching and support by Louise, we pulled it off!

Louise wrote this tune for her father’s 70th birthday in 1999… and in the seventeen years since then the tune has travelled some… according to Youtube… America, via Suzy Tee (who learnt it in Skye, I think) who plays it herself and then has all of her Suzuki class do a grand performance.

and Moscow, here played by a ceilidh duo, called the Tin Thistle (at 1.42 mins into the video).

and also… to the St Andrew’s Folk Club who claim to have learned the tune in an evening!

You can download the pdf here.


2 thoughts on “Bert Mackenzie’s 70th Birthday Waltz

  1. I am Louise’s sister Alison. Unfortunately our father Bert passed away on 14 November 2016. His 70th birthday waltz was played in the church before his funeral service began. Very moving.

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