Shetland fiddler Aly Bain forced to postpone gigs with Phil Cunningham after triple heart bypass

Aly Ban pictured with Phil Cunningham after undergoing his triple heart bypass.
Aly Ban pictured with Phil Cunningham after undergoing his triple heart bypass.
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Shetland fidldle legend Aly Bain is recovering from a triple heart bypass.

The 73-year-old has been forced to cancel a series of dates with his regular musical partner, accordionist Phil Cunningham, to help him recuperate from open heart surgery carried out last week.

The pair are firm favourites with TV viewers thanks to their annual appearances on BBC Scotland's Hogmanay show and Bain fronts the annual Transatlantic Sessions concerts at Glasgow's Celtic Connections festival each year.

Bain, one of Scotland's best known traditional musicians, has performed with the likes of John Martyn, Billy Connolly, Nicola Benedetti, Emmylou Harris, James Taylor, Eddi Reader and Martha Wainwright since first making his name with The Boys of The Lough more than 40 years ago.

Bain and Cunningham, who have been touring and recording together since 1986, issued a statement revealing that Bain had been feeling increasingly unwell during their most recent tour and was admitted to hospital after going for tests when the run of shows was completed.

The pair have a starring role alongside Irish actress Jessie Buckley in the hit new Scottish movie Wild Rose as bandmates of a Glasgow country singer trying to pursue her dream of making it to Nashville.

The statement said: “Last week, he (Aly) underwent open heart surgery and a triple bypass was successfully performed.

“Thankfully, his diagnosis and treatment were speedy and he is now out of hospital and has begun the lengthy recuperation process.

“Aly is extremely grateful for the attention and skills of all who were involved in helping him through this unexpected episode. Due to the invasive nature of his surgery, there is a lengthy road ahead to full recovery.

“Therefore on advice, and with careful consideration, Phil and Aly have agreed that August is too soon for Aly to be back in the saddle and regrettably they will have to postpone all concerts for most of that month.

Posting on the duo's Facebook page, Cunningham added: "Many of you may have heard the news about Aly's "wee setback" already..

Aly went to get checked out after feeling unwell on our last tour.. SO lucky he did, he was whisked into hospital immediately and was promptly given a triple bypass!
"He's out of hospital now and on the road to recovery. I was in to see him on Saturday and he's looking great considering what he's just been through.

"I, like many of you, just want to wish him a speedy recovery and am so happy that this was diagnosed and treated so swiftly.

"We have had to postpone a few gigs in the first part of August to allow Aly to get back to match fitness, but we are aiming to restart the tour on August 31 in Inverness."