Guitar Workshop in Ullapool, Scotland 3rd – 6th October 2016

l’ll be running a guitar workshop this year from 3rd October until 6th October on the beautiful town of Ullapool, Scotland.

The course is perfect for students who are currently working on my arrangements and who want to spend a few days away with fellow guitarists in a beautiful location working on their playing.

Click on the Guitarist’s Corner link to the left of this screen for more information.

Apart from my arrangements we will look at technique, harmony and musicianship amongst other things. If you come to the workshop and have something in mind you would like me to teach then let me know in advance and I’ll see if I can fit it in to the schedule.

I will host a club night every night where we can gather as a group and talk guitar and play our pieces to each other and jam.

On Friday 7th October the Ullapool Guitar Festival begins, click here for more information.

From Monday to Thursday the classes will run from 10:00 until 12:30 with a tea break and then again in the afternoon: from 14:30 until 17:00, again with a tea break in the middle to rest the fingers.

You can keep up to date with news about the workshop on the Facebook events page.

The workshop will take place at:

The Macphail Centre Mill Street Ullapool IV26 2UN

Travelling to Ullapool by car.

From Inverness cross the Kessock Bridge and follow the signs on the A835 for Ullapool. The car journey should take about 1 hour from the Kessock Bridge.

The closest airport and main line railway station to the village are located in Inverness.

Ullapool is the main ferry terminal for the Ferry to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.

All the major bus companies run a service to the village but bus times are timed to coincide with Ferry arrivals and departures. As these schedules change with the seasons please contact the bus companies direct for up to date information.




The Arch Inn 01854 612454 The Caledonian Hotel 01854 612306 The Ceilidh Place 01854 612103 The Ferry Boat Inn 01854 612366 The Royal Hotel 01854 612181 The Argyll Hotel 01854 612422

Bed and Breakfasts

The Sheiling 01854 612947 Ladysmith House 01854 613286 Eilean Donan 01854 612524 The Old Surgery 01854 612520 Ardvreck 01854 612028 Tamarin 01854 612667 Broombank 01854 612247 Birch Grove 01854 613306 Ardlair 01854 613417 Spindrift 01854 612526 Carnoch 01854 612749 Tigh Na Failte 01854 613433 Dromnan 01854 612333 Broomvale 01854 612559 Harbour lights 01854 612222 Jackie Macrae 01854 612023 Corry Lodge 01854 612777 Taigh Nam Bruadar 01854 613841 West Lea 01854 612594 mob 07702684261 Silver Darlings 01854 613039 mob 07776227792 Tanglewood 01854 612059

To check prices on these hotels and search for others in the local area then please visit Information on self catering properties can be found on and The following two cottages are very close to the venue on Market street Arkle — Contact Francis Fogg on 01854 612368 mob 07773304789 Crofton Cottage — contact Robert or Helen on 01854 613342 mob 0775 9458812

Scottish Youth Hostel Association 01854 612254

The Ceilidh Place has a bunk house 01854 612103

The Camp site is closed in October it closes after the Loopallu Rock Festival which takes place in September each year.

Ullapool Tourist Information Office — 01854 613031

Last Night with Plácido Domingo

placido domingo royal opera houseplacido domingo guitarist














Last night was my last performance this season with Plácido Domingo at The Royal Opera House. It has been an immense pleasure to perform with one of the world’s finest opera singers in the world’s finest opera house. Plácido was praised in every review I read and he is a true gentleman. The orchestra was also fantastic and everyone involved put on a great show. Plácido very kindly signed my guitar at the end of the run. The guitar is also signed by The Gipsy Kings and Carlos Acosta. I look forward to working with Mr. D in the near future.

Duke of Edinburgh Awards

Gosvenor House Hotel GuitaristOn Saturday I played for the annual Duke Of Edinburgh Awards fundraising event at The Grosvenor Hose Hotel on Park Lane, London. There was a Venetian theme this year so theatre masks were aplenty and a whole host of entertainers were booked for the evening including Matt Rawle (who I last worked with on Zorro the Musical), Incognito and my new friend Archie (more about him later….)

Roger Taylor from Queen was also at the event to introduce acts, give an after dinner speech and hold a couple of the main auctions.

The event was held in The Great Room of the hotel, one of the only hotel rooms in London able to accommodate 1000 diners. The last time I played here was for an evening dinner hosted by Michael Portillo wen my quartet played. Zorro the Musical also attended The Olivier Awards Ceremony where one of our leads, Leslie Margherita, picked up a best actress award.

….. so who’s Archie?…. Amongst the many entertainers booked for the evening was a wooden puppet called Archie who played the violin, let me introduce you:



Sandwich Guitar Festival

sandwich guitar festival

Last weekend I had the pleasure of performing a solo concert for the very first edition of The Sandwich Guitar Festival in Kent.

The festival was great with lots of opportunities for taking classes with professional musicians and a whole extended weekend of all things Guitar!

Preston Reed, Gary Ryan and Larry Miller where among the other Srtists performing at the festival this year.

Sandwich is a beautiful town to hold an event like this and I think this festival will continue to expand and grow each year with more and more people cominf from all over the country to learn and listen to guitar music.

Don Quijote in Shanghai

don quixote shanghaiToday we arrived in Shanghai where we will be playing Don Quixote for the next week at The Grand Theatre. The flight was loooong but gin and tonic and a movie made it a lot more manageable! Then we caught the shuttle bus to our hotel, the Radisson Blue (pictured below) and where taken to dinner by our host which included Jellyfish.


radisson blue shanghai

Royal Ballet Tour

Royal ballet tour 2014Today I’m setting of on tour with The Royal Ballet. We’ll be performing Don Quijote directed by the fantastic ballet dancer Carlos Acosta which we debuted at The Royal Opera House in London last year. Matthew Goulding will be taking the leading role as Basilio and Olivier award-winning Marianela Nuñez will also join the cast.

More news from the road soon….

Ruigoord, NL

Solo guitar at Ruigoord ChurchOn Sunday I played at Ruigoord Church in Ruigoord, Holland. Ruigoord is situated between Amsterdam and Haarlem and is an Artists’ colony sandwiched between industrial plants. I had no idea what the venue was going to be like or exactly where it was and was utterly surprised. According to Wikipedia the village was formed in 1973 when a group of Artists squatted the land with the intentions of forming a colony. The village is now legal and full moon parties are regularly organised in the church and every year there is a festival in August. Since the early 2000s, the village has staged an annual poetry festival over the Whitsun weekend, Fiery Tongues.


One of the festivals’ three days is always devoted to international poets. From 2003 on, a yearly Ruigoord Trophy has been awarded to individuals who have selflessly dedicated themselves to maintaining the village as an important cultural stronghold.


Ruigoord concert solo guitar















There is a place opposite the church called The Ruigoord Salon run by an eccentric South African by the name of Michael. He puts on jazz afternoons most Sunday inviting the best from the Dutch jazz scene. I had time after my concert to go and relax in this very pleasant relaxed environment and enjoy the fantastic music of Pere Soto and Walter Lampe.


 Classical Guitarist, London

Zorro – Holland

Zorro De La Mar Theatre, Amsterdam  Zorro NL Press Night















Back to the world of Zorro, this time a national tour of The Netherlands. The has been translated into Dutch with a lot of changes made since the west end run. Most of these changes I am told were made for Paris and stayed in place for the Moscow version and are now part of the Dutch version.

Great to see some of people I worked with in the west end: Adam Poulter, Saulo Garrido, Isaac Perez and of course, the Director Chris Renshaw.

Dutch tours are slightly different from UK and US tours in the sense that you normally reside in Amsterdam and then travel by bus to each city where you perform and return the same night unless the theatre is more than 200km from Amsterdam in which case you stay in hotels close to the theatre.


Here is the bus in which I lived for most of 2011:


Zorro Tour Bus















Tha band were: Kino Haitsma (keys, MD); Bernard Goovarts (2nd keys); Jeroen Rombouts (2nd guitar); Olaf Fase (drums); Door Raeymaekers (percussion); Johannes Adema (bass).

After opening at the De La Mar Theatre in Amsterdam, we toured for approximately 10 months through the following cities: Hoorn, Leeuwarden, Rotterdam, Gronningen, Breda, Den Haag, Maastricht, Venlo, Eindhoven, Gouda, Heerlan, Zaandam, Oss, Zwolle, Nijmegen, Tilburg…. and a few others….

Jamming with The Gipsy Kings

Jamming with The Gipsy Kings - Soho, London















Last Saturday was the world premiere of Zorro The Musical at the Garrick Theatre in London’s west end.


The show itself went extremely well after weeks of intense rehearsals and the reviews that have come out so far have been very positive – all four and five stars! This is down to the outstanding talent and sheer hard work of the actors, dancers, technicians and creative team – they all deserve every word of praise that has been heaped on them. May this be a long and successful run!


And then there was the after party…. No press night is complete without a good ‘ole knees up afterwards. The Gipsy Kings themselves were at the premiere and came along to the after party which was at The Floridita in Soho – a cool little joint on Wardour Street with live Cuban music. The first thing I saw as I walked into the club was Bruce Forsyth on the dance floor wearing a Zorro mask. Live music was provided by Moneda Nacional.


Half way through the night The Gipsy King’s asked me if I would play with them and teach the members of Moneda Nacional four Gipsy Kings songs so they could back us. This wasn’t as easy as it sounds as these guys are Cuban through and had never played catalan rumba before in their lives but being great musicians they got hold of the chord sequences pretty quickly and added their own Cuban touch and we had a great jam. I can’t wait until the next time The Gipsy Kings call in on the show…

Christmas Carol the Musical with Paul Daniels

Christmas Carol the Musical with Paul Daniels

I spent the Christmas of 2006 at the Lowestoft Theatre performing a version of A Christmas Carol The Musical. We were a small band in the pit but the music was great and we had great accommodation on the beach.


Paul Daniels played the part of Scrooge. He was excellent and an absolute pleasure to work with – always on form and a genuinely nice guy. The lovely Debbie McGee was ever present by his side promoting the show whenever possible.


Paul told me one evening about his time on television and how he often dreaded the day when his show would be axed. The show carried on for a number of years and he often wondered what the feeling would be like when it came to an end. When the news finally came he said the overriding feeling was one of relief. It was very stressful, he said, having to come up with new tricks every week and keep the show fresh. The longer the show ran, the harder it got. He also spoke about the pressures of television and said that he started wearing a wig as he was so conscious that television personalties have such short life spans and that there is always a younger “next big thing” just waiting to jump in your shoes. He then recounted being asked by a female journalist, rather condescendingly, why he had chosen to start wearing a wig. He said he couldn’t believe that a woman sitting in front of him with false nails, false eyelashes, mascara, foundation and dyed hair could be so judgmental about his decision to wear a wig!


On the last day Paul invited the whole cast for lunch at a waffle restaurant. It was a very pleasant lunch with Paul recounting some of his early experiences on the road. The waffle became a standing joke and a number of lines in that evening’s show were given the waffle treatment, such as “stop waffling on woman”, “waffle load of rubbish” and “that was one waffle nightmare I had last night”…


I found Paul very modest, humble and pleasant person with many an interesting story to tell about his many years in show business. I hope I have the chance to work with him again sometime.