Bryan's street serenade is a real tonic during Coronavirus crisis

Talented Bryan Young has hit the right note by using the power of music to lift people’s spirits during the Coronavirus crisis.

Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 5:00 pm
Bryan Young with his acccordion (photo: Neil Cross)

Well known as The Firkin Fiddler, Bryan, 87, from Longton, near Preston, has been strictly observing social distancing rules and serenading people with music from afar.

The violinist, who also plays the accordion, is well known for his appearances at open mic nights in Preston and Leyland. He has also previously played in musical duos.

He decided that although he may not be stepping into shops at the moment, those queuing outside or going for daily walks could do with cheering up.

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Time for a change - Bryan with his violin (photo:Neil Cross)

He said: “I just thought I can walk round without meeting anyone. I’m quite capable of walking and playing at the same time. I thought there’s so much doom and gloom at the moment let’s get some music around.”

Popular choices have included ‘Pack Up Your Troubles In an Old Kit Bag’ and ‘Amazing Grace’ played on accordion and a range of Irish jigs played on the violin.

Bryan decided to provide music to help entertain those queuing outside his local Booths store in Longton and then relocated near a local church to provide more musical moments for other shoppers.

He said: “I played all sorts. I can play anything on the violin really but I choose the Irish music and jigs.”

He recalled: “I had the violin given me as a boy by my grandmother who lived in Dublin. I learned as a young lad.”

He also plays music in his garden to entertain passers-by.

Bryan, who was brought up in Hazel Grove, Manchester, put his violin in the loft after national service. But he began playing again after getting married and having children. The family then lived in New Longton and Bryan was in a duo with a local deputy head, Colin Rodgers, who played the accordion.

He said: “I was amazed at the volume of the accordion so I taught myself that.”

Bryan’s skills also include speaking Norwegian - necessary for his job which saw him travel to Scandinavia as a salesman in the Lancashire cotton industry. Later he was a self-employed salesman for carpet manufacturers.

He has three children and six grandchildren.

As to how he got the name The Firkin Fiddler he explained he had stood on a firkin, a barrel of beer, to play at a local charity event - and the name stuck.