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Derek Hoy

Musician;

Born: February 27, 1954; Died: November 10, 2012.

Derek Hoy, who has died aged 58, was a successful musician who earned his living largely as a well-regarded software developer, specialising in the field of health care, but in the broader world of traditional music was better known as one of the two fiddlers in what many regard as Scotland's leading traditional music band of his generation: Jock Tamson's Bairns.

One of the many reasons Hoy's death has caused such raw pain is that he died from the same condition, a brain tumour, that claimed his friend and fellow Bairn's fiddler Iain Hardie less than a month before.

It all started for Hoy in the early 1970s when he was an architectural student in his native Edinburgh. He was educated at Daniel Stewart's College where he was to acquire his lifelong nickname of Happy for his eternally positive disposition.

A keen fiddler, he spent many of his leisure hours in the informal sessions at Sandy Bells, the Edinburgh pub where notables such as Hamish Henderson would keep an eye on the talent and much of the beer-driven talk between the energetic sessions of music was of the explosion of talent sweeping Scotland at that time.

From this bubbling soup of creativity about a dozen young musicians started to play together under the umbrella title of Jock Tamson's Bairns.

At the time Hoy's passion was the more fluid Irish style but, as he became more integrated into the heart of the group, his interests turned to furthering the Scottish tradition and he soon became a permanent member of this elite assemblage.

He joined them in the playing of the music and their research into its roots and plans for the constructive role it might play in the reawakening of a stronger sense of cultural identity.

A quiet, affable man who had been happily married from the age of 23, Hoy was never one of the hard-drinking rabble rousers of the trade though he had a mischievous, quixotic streak about him that would manifest in his offstage character and the often quirky and imaginative musical relationship he had with Hardie.

His bizarre sense of humour was legendary and his off-the-cuff quips often led to fellow band members nearly falling off their chairs.

In the band he was almost always known as Happy and was much appreciated for his quiet intelligence, methodical approach to problem solving and general affability; all useful skills when working alongside more flamboyant creative types who were pushing the boundaries.

The world of traditional music groups is a highly fluid one and as the years passed members of the Bairns were to drift off to join other notable bands such as Ossian and the Occasionals.

Hoy could often be seen supporting Billy Kay in his stage shows about the Scots tongue and other research projects or with the groundbreaking Bella MacNab Dance Band, with whom he played for over 17 years.

For more than 40 years, Hoy was also heavily engaged in teaching hundreds of youngsters to play the fiddle and he was one of the most significant activists in the recent revival of interest in traditional music in Edinburgh, working tireless in arranging fiddle weekends and festivals.

He was also a key exponent of the development of a remarkable online archive of lesser- known performers at www.raretunes.org.

The Bairns were to re-form in the 1990s and were delighted to find their earlier LPs, now re-issued as CDs, found a ready market and they went on to tour in America.

Hoy's last few months were momentous for the family as he was the uncle of the celebrated cyclist Sir Chris Hoy and although he had already been feeling unwell it wasn't until he had returned from the Olympics the full extent of his illness became apparent, though he dealt with his awful fate with a commendable equanimity.

Derek Hoy is survived by Christine, his beloved wife of 35 years, and their two daughters, Sarah, a fiddle teacher, and Jenny, a professional percussionist.

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