A STALWART of the Scottish folk scene who has endured extensive treatment for cancer has released new music in aid of support charity Maggie’s.

The songs are Christine Kydd’s first new material in four years, during which time she has lived with, and survived, head and neck cancer.

They feature the Just Sing choir, based at Maggie’s Dundee, and fellow cancer survivors Rachel Walker, Gaelic vocalist and songwriter, and fiddle player Gavin Marwick who donated their time to the project.

Kydd said recording and releasing the material had been a joyful process, even though she is still in recovery from cancer.

“It has been so meaningful being back doing what I love and a new and fun experience for the choir members,” she said.

“I’m a cancer survivor but I think the sentiment of the song Staying On speaks to all of us – it is about being grateful for just being alive and celebrating the fact we are all here and trying to make the best of the great gift of life.”

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Staying On was inspired by the people Kydd met and the experiences of cancer she shared and heard at Maggie’s in Dundee. She said her other song, Wishin On A Winter Star, was one of “real hope”.

“I think it is perfect for this time of year – I hope it brings others a sense of promise for the future, all while raising money for a wonderful cause,” she said.

“I was really keen to release some new music in aid of Maggie’s Dundee and I was delighted when they asked if the Just Sing choir could be involved.

“The project is not only about my recovery and wanting to give something back, but about doing something uplifting with the singers, all of whom – including staff from NHS Tayside and the University of Dundee School of Medicine – are impacted by cancer in various ways.”

One choir member said: “Nothing had prepared me for the thrill I felt while recording these pieces of music, having never been in a recording studio before. And, I also realised that what we were recording could potentially last a lifetime – forever even! That’s why I found it to be such a special experience.”

Another added: “As a member of the Just Sing choir, it was exciting to have the opportunity to sing with Christine Kydd. I never imagined I would have been standing in a recording studio in front of a mic with headphones on participating in the making of a CD. It was a wonderful experience.”

Kydd said the project had been a way to thank her dentist who had first spotted an abnormality, as well as those who had treated her at Ninewells Hospital, the Dundee Dental Hospital and all her friends and family who had given their support.

“I would like to remind folks of the importance of dentists to us all in detecting cancers – I am lucky they caught it in time,” said Kydd.

A veteran of the folk world, Kydd grew up musically in the vibrant Edinburgh scene and her varied music career has taken her to stages and venues around the world. Her many accolades include two Scots Singer of the Year nominations and an induction into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame.

The Maggie’s centre in Dundee sees more than 15,000 people from Tayside, Angus and North East Fife each year.

Fundraising manager Annie Long said: “We are so grateful to Christine for choosing Maggie’s Dundee to benefit from the sales of her beautiful songs.

“Our centre, designed by Frank Gehry, is there for people who have been diagnosed with cancer, and those who care about them. We provide a warm, welcoming place where you can meet people who are experiencing the same things you are, find support groups specific to your needs and get advice and information from our professional staff.

“Coming to Maggie’s can help to make positive changes to your lifestyle. Our psychological and emotional support has been shown to significantly reduce anxiety and depression. No appointment is needed and our support is free. Please call us on 01382 632999 or visit us at maggies.org.”

You can find Kydd’s music at christinekydd.bandcamp.com