Tributes paid after death of Edinburgh folk music stalwart Paddy Bort

Tributes have been paid to Mr Bort, pictured, following his death on Friday. Picture: Allan McMillan - Edinburgh Folk Club.
Tributes have been paid to Mr Bort, pictured, following his death on Friday. Picture: Allan McMillan - Edinburgh Folk Club.
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Tributes have been paid to a long-standing member of Edinburgh’s folk music scene after he passed away on Friday.

Eberhard “Paddy” Bort, chairman of Edinburgh Folk Club, is reported to have passed away in the Capital on February 17 aged 62.

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The news emerged after a message was posted on the Edinburgh Folk Club (EFC) website, saying he would be a “hard act to follow”.

It read: “EFC thanks everyone for the many, many kind and very warmly worded emails which have quite literally flooded in since the sad news began to circulate.

“Many folk have described Paddy’s passing as the end of an era which, in the circumstances, is probably quite correct.

“The unexpected news came, to put it mildly, as an enormous shock to everyone and particularly to those who worked with him on various projects, both academic and cultural.”

Mr Bort, who came to Edinburgh from Germany, also ran the Wee Folk Club The Royal Oak pub every Sunday night. Tonight’s gig (February 19) has been cancelled.

Edinburgh musician Steve Byrne, who said he had known Mr Bort since the age of 18, described his death as leaving a “hole the size of Arthur’s Seat” in the Capital’s folk scene.

He wrote on Facebook: “Paddy and I came to Edinburgh within a year of each other in the mid-1990s.

“As such he was very much part of my own personal landscape musically and socially and today I am in total shock at the loss of someone who had such an influence in my early days as a young musician, starting up the ladder and beginning to travel across Europe.

“Paddy was in a sense the archetypal ‘welcome stranger’ who came to Scotland from his native Germany to shine a bright light on our cultural riches that we have often been backwards in coming forwards about.

“A confirmed Hibernophile and Scotophile, hundreds of us in the folk scene have had floor spots and gigs at all stages of our careers from Paddy, benefitting from his drive and enthusiasm.”

Mr Byrne also paid tribute Mr Bort’s role as a “renowned academic” at Edinburgh University and his commitment to local democracy, calling him the “ultimate European”.

He went on: “There’s plenty I’ve missed out - as he has done so much for so many of us, and for Scotland, und für Europa.

“The saddest part is not having been able to tell him just how grateful we are. Auf wiedersehen, und herzlichen Dank, mein Freund.”