Music Scotland : Celebrating 10 Years of Quality Celtic Music

Kenny Fraser of Music Scotland Interview Over Skype

Kenny Fraser played with Salsa Celtica.The success of the band brought them all over the world including  a concert in Malaysia and Singapore-they played at jazz festivals there. He also owns MusicScotland which is one of the biggest online music stores. What I like about the site is the user-friendly interface that lets you navigate  for artists and albums of choice. It also has a simple layout , very clean which is something I look for in a website. You can listen to samples of music that will  tell more of what’s to come. What’s more is that Kenny adds his own impressions of the featured albums, so you will know what to expect. You can be assured that all of them have passed  the quality standards ! He answers candidly in this Q&A over Skype. One those rare moments when he is not on the run.

[10/5/2010 9:45:24 PM] jose romel labatos: I am curious: what’s it like being raised in Scotland?

[10/5/2010 9:48:02 PM] Ken Fraser: Scotland does have a rich culture, so if you’re interested in that it’s a great place to be.  I was lucky to have opportunities for a varied musical education when I was young, formal and informal.

[10/5/2010 9:49:53 PM] Ken Fraser: I started the MusicScotland website after I had been working for two small independent Scottish music record companies, helping them set up their websites in the late 1990s.
[10/5/2010 9:51:19 PM] jose romel labatos: What were the challenges at that time starting your website and marketing music?

[10/5/2010 9:56:12 PM] Ken Fraser: I had been playing and teaching traditional music so I got to know many performers on that scene. It was great to be able to eventually play alongside them, one way or another.  The challenges for me were mainly technical ones, since I had to teach myself how to design, build and host websites – I was never interested in that during school and didn’t have any kind of training, just self-taught.

[10/5/2010 10:02:27 PM] jose romel labatos: Traditional music has always been evocative. Scottish music for one is distinct in its style. What do you think Scottish music has, that really distinguishes it from the rest of the music of the Seven Celtic Nations?

[10/5/2010 10:15:31 PM] Ken Fraser: Well, there’s certainly been a lot of cultural ‘invention’ here in Scotland, particularly in Victorian times – where the fantasies of a relatively few influential people became mixed up with the real traditions.  Much of the growth in the popularity of bag piping was due to the military pipe bands, and fiddle and dance music also enjoyed a lot of patronage in Scotland which kept it strong. I think because there was less outside influence in earlier days, this allowed the Scottish musical character to develop.

[10/5/2010 10:20:09 PM] Ken Fraser: Also I think a lot of the loveliest Gaelic songs were made by ordinary working people who had real musical soul but perhaps hard lives – these seem to be the right conditions for creating music that has wide and lasting appeal!

[10/5/2010 10:21:42 PM] jose romel labatos: Thanks for the interesting answers…

[10/5/2010 10:24:41 PM] jose romel labatos: So far what are the songs you love to play?

[10/5/2010 10:32:12 PM] Ken Fraser: I prefer to listen to live music rather than recorded, whenever I can, and because I’m so familiar with Scottish music I also often choose to listen to music from other places such as South America, so I can experience musical traditions which are new to me. I did enjoy very much the Transatlantic Sessions series, I think Aly Bain is still one of the finest fiddlers around, despite all the competition now!

[10/5/2010 10:34:48 PM] jose romel labatos: Oh yes I agree about Aly Bain. The Transatlantic Series are also selling well! What do you plan to carry out before 2010 ends?

[10/5/2010 10:42:27 PM] Ken Fraser: Well I just hope to be able to improve the quality of service to customers even more, that’s always been the main aim of MusicScotland, and why I expect there are so many returning visitors.

[10/5/2010 10:52:58 PM] jose romel labatos: What’s your opinion about social networking sites and their importance in marketing?

[10/5/2010 11:01:57 PM] Ken Fraser: They seem to be used a lot by artists these days, which makes complete sense for them as they can reach all their friends and fans very easily.  There is still room for improvement on their use of them though – artists are not the best at promoting themselves or their gigs, which is understandable I suppose.

[10/5/2010 11:02:43 PM] jose romel labatos: And this where you  step in right?

[10/5/2010 11:04:02 PM] jose romel labatos: I agree that artists can’t really stretch themselves too thin by doing the business side of things. They still need a venue where their music can be best represented.

[10/5/2010 11:07:37 PM] Ken Fraser: Yes, small independent record labels don’t always have the means to reach a wider audience.

[10/5/2010 11:08:58 PM] jose romel labatos: What’s your message to your subscribers, readers and those who just stumbled upon your wonderful site?

[10/5/2010 11:13:02 PM] Ken Fraser: Listen to some samples and try something new – you might be surprised at what you’ll enjoy!

[10/5/2010 11:13:43 PM] Ken Fraser: Was that OK Baxter?

[10/5/2010 11:13:55 PM] jose romel labatos: Perfect!

[10/5/2010 11:15:04 PM] Ken Fraser: The World Pipe Band Championships have just arrived so I better go and deal with them.  Thanks for your feature, I appreciate it.  Let me know if I can help in future?
[10/5/2010 11:15:39 PM] jose romel labatos: Sure and this will not be the last time I am talking to you. You are a fine and gracious guest.

[10/5/2010 11:15:41 PM] jose romel labatos: See ya

[10/5/2010 11:16:01 PM] Ken Fraser: No problem at all – enjoy the rest of your day/night!

[10/5/2010 11:16:10 PM] jose romel labatos: Surely. Likewise


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