Gordon Tartan


In Memoriam Colin G. Gordon, 1934-2005

Our founder, Colin Gilbert Gordon, was born in Aberdeen, Scotland and raised in the southwestern coastal city of Ayr (near the birthplace of Robert Burns) as a son of the manse, his father being a Church of Scotland minister. His was a musical family guided by a pianist mother. He and his three siblings were allowed to select which instrument they wanted to learn, but taking lessons was not optional. The choices were piano and violin, as there were no other teachers in town! Colin's violin teacher disapproved of Scottish fiddle music, preferring the classical composers. Over time, it was the fiddle music that stayed with Colin, although he never regretted his classical training. Colin moved to Los Angeles in 1976, met his wife, pianist Shauna Pickett-Gordon, and began playing Scottish music with her. At that time, there were no strathspey and reel societies (string-based orchestras playing traditional Scottish music) in the U.S., and Colin founded the first: the Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles in 1980. Upon moving to northern California in 1990, he and Shauna founded the Peninsula Scottish Fiddlers.

Colin G Gordon

After years of playing in the Bay area, Colin took the Peninsula Scottish Fiddlers back home for a successful tour of Scotland, where they played concerts and enjoyed ceilidhs with fiddlers from the Borders to the Central Highlands, from the west coast to the east. You can hear a musical memento of their tour in their second CD, At Home and Abroad.

In addition to performing solo and leading the Fiddlers, Colin was the fiddler for 25 years with Jack Rennie's Thistle Band, which toured the U.S. and Canada providing music for Scottish country dancing. Many a fiddler's life has been touched by Colin, who became a sought-after judge of fiddle competitions across America. In the early 1980s at the Costa Mesa Games, he awarded first place to a brilliant young fiddler who had already received a gold medal in the Gaelic Mhod in Scotland. It wasn't long until this young fiddler, Alasdair Fraser, became quite well known.

Colin was just as gifted in his lifelong career path: the field of acoustics, a hybrid between engineering and physics. He founded Colin Gordon & Associates, which continues to provide international consulting services in noise and vibration control, especially to the microelectronics industry.

Cancer silenced his playing in July 2005, but the music he fostered and the enthusiasm he injected into every tune survive and thrive. As the Fiddlers prepare to start a tune, we still hear his infectious shout of "One! Two! Three! Four!" punctuated by a percussive stamp of the foot. His joy and love of all things Scottish will never leave us.

Right: Photograph of Colin Gordon taken at a Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles concert



Celtic circle