|Ronnie Cooper (1934-1982)|
Brought up in Lerwick firmly in the tradition of Scottish Dance Music as played by Jimmy Shand and his ilk, Ronald Cooper soon stamped his own indelible impression on the genre with his tunes, composed in the Scottish idiom, but with a unique Shetland flavour.
While his first instrument was the accordion, he was a very accomplished piano accompanist with a unique and original style, related to the fact that his eyesight was somewhat restricted. Ronnie was first pianist to the Shetland Fiddlers' Society, and principal player of the Lounge Bar piano when the legendary sessions got going there.
Following a visit from Ian Powrie and his band to Shetland in the mid-60s, Ronnie and his friends - Willie Hunter, Jim Halcrow, WIllie Johnson, Drew Robertson and Eric Cooper - sought to emulate the Powrie band line-up, and the famous Hamefarers dance band was born. The Powrie visit had further repercussions, for Ronnie and Frank Jamieson played their own tunes to the Powrie band during sessions at the Hayfield Hotel. These tunes were soon played throughout Scotland, and five volumes of Ronnie's compositions soon followed, plus a Hamefarers LP record. The tune books are sadly out of print today, but Ronald Cooper's reputation as a tune composer of the very highest order in Scottish dance music world is assured for all time. His march Da Headlands, and the reels Millbrae, Peter Davidson and Da Tushkar are probably the best-known, along with the waltzes Ronas Voe and Sunset over Foula.
Artists of the Past
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