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Bandmaster of Carlisle

The Life and Music of Felix Burns(1863 - 1920)

Kim Tame


Felix Burns (1863-1920) was born in Perth, Scotland, where he demonstrated musical talent from a young age. His father’s mental health issues put great pressure on the family; Felix left home aged 16 and developed his musical skills in the fast-paced entertainment of a travelling diorama show.

Felix and his wife, Kate, settled down in Carlisle to raise a large family of 13 children, several of whom also became professional musicians. His many musical activities included being the leader of several bands including  The Band of the 4th Battallion, The Border Regiment, church organist, choir director, composer and teacher.

He left behind an extensive repertoire of music – 400 musical compositions, much of which is still enjoyed today in the folk clubs and ceilidhs of Scotland and the north of England.

This biography traces Felix’s life and the impact of major events on his music – the Boer War and the Great War.



Self Published



Publication Date:



Paperback; 210 x 149mm




Black & White photos

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