Dame Evelyn

Hurray, one of my favourite musicians, Scottish percussionist Evelyn Glennie has been made a Dame in the New Year’s Honours list. Evelyn not only carved out a place in the male-dominated arena of percussion, she created the pretty much unheard of role of solo percussionist, performing around the world to huge acclaim, both with some of the leading orchestras and on her own as well as with many artists, from Sting to Bjork, using everything from drums and cymbals to marimbas (one of the most beautiful sounding instruments) and folk instruments she encounters on her travels. All of which would be damned impressive for a wee lass from Aberdeen, but Evelyn is also deaf; her hearing started to go when she was very young, but didn’t stop her making music, both playing and composing. I remember seeing her interviewed on Parkinson years back and she corrected his pronunciation of her name (he pronounced it ‘eeeve-lin’); he asked how the hell she knew he mis-pronounced it since she is deaf. You’re English, she replied with a smile, they always get it wrong! I’ve seen her live several times and she is a veritable wee dynamo on the stage, playing barefoot to feel the vibrations of the instruments. Well done, Evelyn – gaun yerself! Alas, no OBE or Knighthood for me in this year’s List – oh well…