Nicola Benedetti joins new Scottish Folk Orchestra for Doddie Weir charity single

Scottish violin sensation Nicola Benedetti has joined forces with a host of the country’s leading traditional musicians to record a single and video in aid of rugby legend Doddie Weir’s charity.

The Ayrshire violinist is a special guest on Doddie’s Dream, a tune written by Highland fiddler and broadcaster Bruce MacGregor in tribute to the former Scotland international player and his fundraising efforts since being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease

MacGregor, a former rugby club captain who played with Weir when he was a student, recruited his award-winning folk band Blazin’ Fiddles and a specially-created Scottish Folk Orchestra for the fundraiser for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.

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Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, accordion player Phil Cunningham, fiddler Aly Bain and members of the bands Manran, Skerryvore, Capercaillie, Treacherous Orchestra, The Chair and Talisk are all part of the 40-strong orchestra who play on the track, which is due to be released on 12 March.

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    Grammy-winning American musician Jerry Douglas and Irish accordion star Sharon Shannon also took part in the project, which saw all the musicians record their parts remotely due to the current lockdown restrictions.

    MacGregor was inspired to launch the project by Doddie Aid, a mass-participation challenge which saw nearly 30,000 people taking part raise over £1 million last month and was supported by the likes of Sir Chris Hoy, Gerard Butler, Ewan MacGregor and Lorraine Kelly.

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    Weir, who was born in Edinburgh and now lives on a farm in the Borders, announced he had been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in June 2017. Within months he had launched his own foundation to help raise funds for research into a cure for the disease and to help people living with the condition.

    MacGregor said: “Doddie’s Dream was composed on Hogmanay. The tune just came to me. It was a tune of hope. It just had this uplifting quality that perhaps would be suitable for a tune named for the big man himself.

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    Violin sensation Nicola Benedetti has joined forces with some of Scotland's leading traditional musicians to record a video and single in aid of rugby icon Doddie Weir's charity.

    “His campaign to raise awareness of MND has just been inspirational. "I played it to a few people and they said they’d love to play on it. It grew arms and legs so quickly it was incredible. Everybody I asked just said ‘yes, yes, we want to be involved with it.’ I game them the tune and told them to do what they wanted with it.”

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    Benedetti said: “It is a total honour to perform with such an incredible line up of folk musicians and for such an important cause.

    "All the proceeds will go to Doddie’s charity which helps fellow sufferers of Motor Neurone Disease and funds much needed research into this cruel illness.

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    "I hope everyone enjoys our wee tune and helps us to raise awareness of MND.”

    Doddie Weir said he was 'humbled' at the creation of the single and video in aid of his foundation.
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    Weir. who turned 50 last summer, said: “What a beautiful piece of music – it really is special, and I am so humbled to think these world class and brilliantly talented musicians have all been part of this.

    "I’d like to thank everyone involved and of course especially Bruce, he’s a better fiddler than rugby player! If ever we needed some uplifting music, it is now, and my old teammate Stewart Campbell has produced a fantastic film to accompany the music.”

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    MacGregor added: “The track is a celebration of how much has been done over the last few years by Doddie’s foundation.

    "If this tune can do anything to help to raise more funds to get this big breakthrough that we need to find a cure for MND it would be absolutely wonderful.”

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    Members of Blazin' Fiddles recording Doddie's Dream.

    "All sales of the track are going to Doddie’s charity so I hope everyone gets behind it and we can raise as much money as possible for this brilliant cause.”

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    Nicola Benedetti has joined a specially-created Scottish Folk Orchestra for the charity video and single. Picture: Andy Gotts
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    Nicola Benedetti has joined forces with some of Scotland's leading traditional musicians for the single and video.