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2024 Obit: Joe Aitken

Jack Campin 03 Apr 24 - 05:53 PM
John MacKenzie 04 Apr 24 - 05:51 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 06 Apr 24 - 05:30 AM
BillE 09 Apr 24 - 02:17 PM
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Subject: Obit: Joe Aitken
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Apr 24 - 05:53 PM

From Steve Byrne on FB:

O wind, forgie a hameless loon, I canna see for tears.

It's very fresh news, and I know my guid buddy Scott Gardiner will post a fuller tribute shortly, but I've been gathering my thoughts the past couple of hours as I happen to be awa fae hame on receiving the dowie news of Joe Aitken's passing.

When I was growing up in Angus, Joe was a local legend. One of the regular names off my Dad's lips as I was starting to understand the local folk scene as a laddie.

Being a newcomer to the scene can be a bit intimidating, but despite a seemingly steely and weathered exterior, I soon got to know Joe, meeting up at various singing events, eventually sharing concert bills and generally having the crack. Of course, often alongside his pals in the bonnie band of bothy balladeers who were doughtily keeping that distinctive song tradition of the northeast of Scotland going.

The year Joe that won Scots Singer of the Year at the Trad Awards was the year Malinky were voted Folk Band of the Year, which ended up in us working together in a great fun version - although I'm not sure it was broadcast more than once - of Neeps Tae Pluck as part of the BBC Alba Trads follow up shows.

The word stalwart really could have been invented for Joe. He was a quietly determined powerhouse for traditional song. He supported TMSA Scotland events for decades in a variety of ways, as organiser, participant, enthusiast and I dare say a penny or two into the bargain as well.

It was the greatest privilege to be able to invite Joe as part of our delegation to the Rudolstadt-Festival Festival in Germany in 2017, where we were representing Scotland's varied traditions with a wonderful band of fowk including Maighread Stiubhart, Shona Donaldson, Paul Anderson, Jim Malcolm, Murdo Macdonald, Patsy Seddon and others. Joe, Margaret and Murdo hit it off in particular, and it was a delight to see some leading lights of Scots and Gaelic song becoming fast friends.

Many of us seek the 'nod' of those who inspire us. Eventually I kent I'd got that, when Joe telt me he voted for me when I won Scots Singer of the Year in 2019. He'll be a huge miss and there will be plenty more to say and think and, importantly, to do in terms of upholding the vibrant tradition Joe represented.

Deepest condolences to Pat and their bairns and grandbairns, and his many, many singin pals amongst the Taylors, the Murisons and beyond.   

In the Trad Music Hall of Fame write up, it's noted that as Joe's singing involvement took off, he was soon rubbing shoulders with his heroes like Jock Duncan and Tam Reid.

As heroes go, for the likes of myself and Scottie, Joe Aitken was ours.

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Subject: RE: 2024 Obit: Joe Aitken
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 04 Apr 24 - 05:51 AM

Well said Steve Byrne, Joe was a legend in his own lifetime, a bonny singer, and damned good company too. I will miss him sorely, and I won't be alone in that, as there are many many more who will share my sadness.
RIP my friend.

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Subject: RE: 2024 Obit: Joe Aitken
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 06 Apr 24 - 05:30 AM

Joe was an excellent singer, concert MC and and allround lovely man who knew his stuff about his own tradition. We were privilged to attend a large gathering in Kirremuir last year to mark his retirement from presidency of the annual TMSA festival in the town, as well as being a prescient celebration of his life.

We'll miss his smiling and welcoming face- our thoughts are with Pat & the family   RIP old pal

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Subject: RE: 2024 Obit: Joe Aitken
From: BillE
Date: 09 Apr 24 - 02:17 PM

Really sad to read this. We met Joe several times at Whitby, and at YTSW at Drax and always enjoyed his singing and friendly smile. A lovely man; we will miss him.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Bill & Fredda

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