KODA, (or the Keith Dickson Accordion Orchestra as it was formerly known), was formed in 1987 to provide an opportunity for Keith Dickson’s accordion students to meet regularly and play music together. Most of the original band members came from around the Thornhill and Dumfries area with the first band rehearsals being held in Closeburn Primary School and later at Closeburn Village Hall.
The highlight of the band's year was participating at the annual NAO UK Accordion Championships in Blackpool and Scarborough. The orchestra was extremely successful in this field winning awards in ”Accordion Orchestra” and “Accordion Group” categories every year from 1990 until 1997.
In August 1997, following a band trip to the Dumfries German Twin Town of Gifhorn, Musical Director Keith Dickson decided to change the style of the band, (which by now were rehearsing in Symington, Lanarkshire). Introducing Female Vocals into the line-up and with Keith now writing and arranging all the band's repertoire the “new sound” was well received by large audiences at Ingliston Exhibition Centre (4000 people) and at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall.
Scots Fiddle and Highland Bagpipes were soon included in the line up and the Orchestra went on to win their first UK “Accordion Showband” title at the UK Accordion Championships in 1998, a feat which they were to repeat several times!
In the summer of 1999 the band enjoyed a short trip to Normandy, France and were approached by Shielburn Associates to record their debut CD “Mist in the Glen”…..which went on to sell over 3000 copies. The band hosted the visit of the “Gifhorn Accordion Orchestra” and performed with them at a concert in Dumfries.
After winning a "Danny Award" in 2000 (for being voted one of the top six acts at the “Open Stage”) at the “Celtic Connections” festival held in Glasgow, it was agreed that as the band no longer sounded like a typical “Accordion Orchestra", a name change would be beneficial. It was decided that KODA (an anagram of the initials of the band’s original name) would be the band’s new name.
KODA were then invited to perform in the Shetland Isles and in 2001, and now including Guitar and Percussion, (and rehearsing in Biggar, Lanarkshire), played at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and Wembley Conference Centre.
In February 2002, the group received a “Special Award” at the European Accordion Festival in the City of Prague, Czech Republic. The group’s unique style was sharply contrasting to the other groups, but they were well received by the audience and other performers who seemed suitably impressed, if not surprised, by the band's unique and refreshing approach. Later in the year KODA released their second CD “Tight Squeeze” coinciding with a return visit to the Shetland Isles for the “Shetland Accordion and Fiddle Festival”.
2003 performances included the band’s appearance at the 10th “T in the Park”, with a completely new band line up appearing at Peebles Arts Festival and the first Biggar Little Festival.
The new look KODA then visited the 2004 UK Accordion Championships, held in Scarborough, winning the “Accordion Showband” and “Entertainment” categories. The band then performed at a “Grand Concert” in Lanark, supporting “KGS Hemmingen Big Band” from near Hanover who were visiting Scotland.
The Big Band promptly invited KODA to perform in Germany in September 2005 ….a few weeks after the KODA musicians had recorded their third CD “Alternative Frequency” which was in turn voted “CD of the Year” by Box and Fiddle magazine.
A visit to Northern Ireland in October 2006 was followed with a performance at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre for HRH the Earl of Wessex and KODA receiving the “South Lanarkshire Music Group of the Year 2006” award.
A return visit to Germany in 2007 included another performance in Gifhorn as well as a few performances in Northern Germany.
2008, and again there is a completely new look to the band line up who record the fourth KODA CD “Keepin’ it Reel” at Park Lane Studios, Glasgow. The band round off the year with a well received performance at the Boghall and Bathgate Caledonia Pipe Band Christmas Concert.
The CD “Keepin’ it Reel” was released in February 2009.
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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