Bluebell Swing are:
Maria Townsley (vocals) - Melanie Scullion (violin) - Chris Campbell (guitar) - Iain McNally guitar) - Matt Curtis (double bass)
Melanie ScullionBorn in Devon, Melanie began learning the violin at the age of 7, the piano aged 8 and then the viola at the age of 15. She has been playing, singing and performing music in various groups since she was 9 years old and been a professional violin and viola player for around 30 years.
Her introduction to Gypsy Jazz was around 12 years ago when she was living in Plymouth. A local double bass player rang her to ask if one of her violin students would like to join a Gypsy Jazz band. She went on to be the violinist in that band ‘The Hamer and Isaacs Gypsy Swing Band’ and then also in ‘The Hot Club of Stonehouse’ and has been a guest player since in other bands of this genre including ‘Romacaleo’. That was the start of an amazing journey into the joy which this style of music, the people and improvisation can bring and since then has made many great new friendships and had lots of fun at jam sessions, festivals and Gypsy Jazz courses.
She met Maria Townsley (singer in Bluebell Swing) at the jam session in Edinburgh ‘The Hot Club of Edinburgh’ run by Paul Paterson and ended up forming this band ‘Bluebell Swing’ over lockdown firstly doing online videos and then gradually building up the band members when restrictions where lifted. The rest is history!
Maria originally comes from West Lothian and has been singing for over 10 years. Maria has sang and played all over Scotland mainly as a solo artist. She grew up with Gypsy Jazz as her family was a huge fan of Django Reinhardt’s music. Maria and her family come from the travelling community and was inspired by the genre through her heritage. As a teenager, Maria was inspired to sing Jazz when she heard Ella Fitzgerald sing for the first time. She also took inspiration from Robyn Adele Anderson, Anita O’day and Julie London. She then emulated her own Jazz style and mixed it with the swing style of Gypsy Jazz. During lockdown, Maria decided to form a Gypsy Jazz band and advertising for musicians online. She met the Gypsy Jazz musicians through ‘The Hot Club of Edinburgh’ run by Paul Paterson. Eventually Bluebell Swing was created and started gigging at the end of 2020 after lockdown. Bluebell Swing continues to gig all over Scotland and are thrilled to be part of Bute Manouche this year!
Chris is an Edinburgh based guitarist who ‘discovered’ Django through Rockabilly music.
He’s enjoying the journey.
Iain McNally was born in Tooting, south London, to a couple of music loving Glaswegian anarchists. He has been playing in bands since he was 11 years old and has always wanted to be a musician. He only wishes he had heard Django sooner, and picked up the guitar as a kid!
Matt CurtisMatt Curtis is an Edinburgh based double bassist who has played with many of Scotland's leading gypsy jazz musicians. He switched from guitar to double bass duties over 20 years ago and his solid harmonic and rhythmic slap bass playing style has been in demand ever since. Matt has played with various bands all over Europe and North America and many jazz festivals and gypsy jazz jams in the UK.