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Will Atkinson

Will Atkinson playing his mouth organ<p>
Will Atkinson playing his mouth organ


Born in 1908 and known throughout the world of traditional music as a virtuoso of the mouth-organ, Will Atkinson has also been the President of the Alnwick Pipers' Society for many years and was a founder member of the Alnwick Branch of the Northumbrian Pipers' Society in the 1930's. Although best recognised as a 'moothie' player, Will initially played the melodeon, but switched to his greater love, the mouth-organ, fairly early in his musical career. His undoubted talent not only as a musician but also as a composer of such tunes as Glen Aln Hornpipe and Redeside Hornpipe, has provided pleasure and enjoyment for many thousands of people of all ages wherever traditional music is played.

It is thanks to Will Atkinson and his fellow musicians of the time, such as Joe Hutton and Willy Taylor (who all sadly are no longer with us) who played and performed in village halls and schools, at dances and concerts, often walking or travelling by cycle to do so that our heritage of the traditional music from Northumberland and the Borders has survived. Billy's son George is also a musician of some note.

On this short audio clip, recorded in Wallsend in 1979, we hear Will Atkinson playing three tunes which were particular favourites and were played by Will many times. The first tune, 'JB Milne' was compsed by Angus Fitchet, the second tune is the 'New High Level Hornpipe' and just before the fade we hear the begining of the Shetland tune 'Da Tushkar'.

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