Pete is an acknowledged authority on folk song, a founder member of the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland (TMSA) in the mid 1960s, his enthusiasm as a singer and collector resulted in the creation of Springthyme Records in the 1970s specialising in the release of recordings of Scottish traditional song and music.
His contacts with the Scottish traveller traditions of the Stewarts of Blairgowrie and Jeannie Robertson's family in Aberdeen led to exploration of traveller tradition in Ireland and England as well as Scotland. He has presented lectures and workshops based on his song collecting, on ballad repertoire in the living tradition, traditional singing style, song repertoire among the Romany gypsies in Gloucestershire and among the Scottish travelling and farming communities in Fife, Tayside and Aberdeenshire. He is himself a fine singer and melodeon player with a song repertoire that includes songs he has collected in England, Ireland and Scotland but, living as he does in the ancient 'kingdom' of Fife, many of his songs are from local Fife and Perthshire tradition.
In 2003 Pete joined together with two other singer/musicians to form Shepheard, Spiers & Watson. Tom Spiers and Arthur Watson had both been members of the well respected Aberdeen based group The Gaugers along with founder member the late Peter Hall, noted folk song collector and folklorist. Tom was, at that time, living in Auchtermuchty in Fife and Arthur was living across the Tay in Dundee. After enjoying each others’ company at sessions, festivals, hogmanay and suchlike seasonal gatherings, they began to gain bookings together and formalised this in 2003 for an appearance at the great Whitby Festival. This led to other bookings and in 2006 they were nominated for Scots Folk Band of the Year in the Scots Trad Music Awards (not that they won). Click for more info about Shepheard, Spiers & Watson.
They have recorded two CDs:
Their first album: Shepheard, Spiers & Watson: They Smiled As We Cam In
Their second album Shepheard, Spiers & Watson: Over the High Hills was released in May 2012.
To play tracks from their CDs go to their album website.
Although unaccompanied traditional song is at the heart of his enthusiasm, Pete enjoys playing button box/ melodeon - and has developed his own variation on the diatonic keyboard layout suited to his own style of accompaniment of traditional song and their modal structures. Here he is playing his old 1960s Hohner Corona II (A/D/G) but he also plays two more recent Castagnari models - a small Castagnari Tommy in D/G and a Castagnari Fazzy 12 bass in C/F.
NEWS: For information on forthcoming gigs, festivals, concerts go to Gigs.
A selection of talks and workshops given:
1: The Living Tradition: Songs and Ballads Collected from Recent Oral Tradition in Fife and Tayside.
First presented at The University of St Andrews Sound Effects Conference: The Oral/Aural Dimensions of Literatures in English July 2006. Also given at Auchtermuchty Festival August 2009.
2: Songs and Ballads from the Living Tradition: A Look at Singing Style.
First presented at The Auchtermuchty Songs and Singing Weekend in 1994 (see 8 below). Later revised and presented at the RSAMD Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in May 2001 and at the Dundee Festival of Scottish Music, Wighton Heritage Centre in July 2004. Also presented at the Living Tradition Summer School in Dundee, August 2009. Also planned for Whitby Folk Week 2016.
3: Take the Fresh Air: Traveller Repertoire. Songs and Ballads from Gloucestershire Gypsy Travellers.
Presented at Whitby Folk Week, August 2011.
4: Discovering traditional song in Fife.
Presented at the Fife Traditional Singing Weekend, May 2012
5: Traditional Singers we have Known.
Presented along with Arthur Watson and Jimmy Hutchison at Whitby Folk Week, August 2008
6: Ballad versions gleaned from recent Oral Tradition.
Presented along with Arthur Watson at Whitby Folk Week, August 2008
7: Singing the Ballads: A Workshop on four Scots Ballads collected from the Living Tradition.
First presented at Dundee Festival of Scottish Music, Wighton Heritage Centre July 2004 and later at The Singers' Gathering, Bathgate, February 2007
8: Songs from Farm & Bothy: Life on the Farm and in the Bothy as seen through Scots Song.
Presented along with Gordon Easton and Arthur Watson at Whitby Folk Week, 2007
9: Songs from the Brazil Family: Archive recordings from an extended Gloucesterdhire gypsy traveller family.
Presented at Whitby Folk Week, August 2007
10: Songs & Ballads from the repertoires of Gloucestershire Romany Traveller families
Presented at Whitby Folk Week, August 2005
11: Traditional Singers: Song Transcription and Style Analysis
Presented at The Auchtermuchty Songs and Singing Weekend in October 1994
12: From the Berryfields of Blair to the Streets of Huntly: Songs from the Traveller Community
Presented at the Cullerlie Traditional Singing Weekend, July 2003
13: Why I Sing the Songs I Sing
Presented at the Singers' Gathering, Bathgate, February 2007
14: Song carriers on the Berryfields of Blair: Songs recorded from the traveller community in the 1960s
Presented at the Fife Traditional Singing Weekend, May 2004
15: Musical structure of songs in the Anglo-American tradition: The physics behind pentatonic scales and modal tunes. Presented as part of the workshop course at the Living Tradition Summer School in Dundee, August 2009.
16: Scottish Landscape - Songs and Ballads: An audio-visual presentation by Arthur Watson and Pete Shepheard.
Presented at Whitby Folk Week, August 2012
Please contact us:
Pete Shepheard: Balmalcolm House, Balmalcolm, Cupar, Fife KY15 7TJ, Scotland
tel: 01337 830773 email:
Publicity photo files at 300 dpi of Peter Shepheard
and Shepheard, Spiers & Watson can be downloaded at:
Pics & Graphics
c p springthyme records 2009