LEGENDARY banjo-playing folk/jazz musician Alastair McDonald heads to Peebles next month.

Alastair is firmly established as Scotland's leading musical minstrel. In addition to Television, Radio & stage appearances world wide, he is a prolific recording artist & can be heard on a variety of labels, most notably Corban Recordings.

Born in Glasgow in 1941, Alastair emigrated to Australia with his family at the age of eight & growing up there, during a period in the outback, developed an interest in "home made" entertainment.

Four years later he returned to Scotland just in time to be excited by the emerging pop scene & in particular, skiffle" music, a fusion of American folk song with overlaid jazz influences, spearheaded by Lonnie Donegan. With a variety of local groups, he played in hospitals, old folks` homes, Churches, ceilidhs & even back court concerts for political campaigns & for many of his young years was a leading banjo player in the jazz scene of the period (winner of the award for best banjo player Elgin Jazz Festival 1962).

As the years passed, Alastair`s musical horizons extended & in 1973 he was invited to co-host a new TV show of Scottish music entitled "Songs of Scotland" in the company of baritone Peter Morrison, with whom he has maintained a working relationship to this day.

Alastair`s radio & TV credits are too numerous to list here, likewise his record & tape releases, but even without these, the fact that he was invited twice within the space of three years to front a coast to coast touring show across Canada & the United States must surely speak for itself. His concert programme can vary from a Scottish historical ballad to a humorous music hall ditty - from a Gaelic lament to a hand clapping Gospel song.

Alastair will be supported by Innerleithen based folk four piece Dismal Jibe at next month's concert at the Eastgate Theatre on Friday, May 20.

This concert is a curtain -raiser for the Innerleithen Music Festival which runs from Friday, August 19 to Sunday, August 21.