ArbelosThis is Arbelos. That’s Jenny Johnson, Alex Cook, me and Mark Toner.

Mark and I have known each other for many years, since our Astronomy days at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh. Somehow we learned of our mutual likes in music and we worked on a couple of songs, and, as a wedding present for a friend, we created a whole piece based on the lyrics by Paul Holmes. Paul Holmes is the Groom in question. Hence the present. It might have been easier to buy a set of crystal glasses, but not half as much fun.

That was in 1986. Time passed, families grew, Mark moved to Dumfries, I stayed in Edinburgh. We kept in touch, but musically not so much.

Then in Autumn 2007 Mark and I realised that technology had moved onwards and upwards, and, with the great power of the almighty Internet we started sending audio files back and forward. This became Portraits in Stone. A few telephone conversations took place, and we looked at all the songs we had written but which we had left to languish in ring binders. There be gold in them hills, we thought. We came up with a list of songs, and we made our first album, Portraits in Stone, lovingly crafted by adding layers by audio pass the parcel.

It was amazingly rewarding to create, and Mark and I learned lots while doing it. But it was always intended as a ‘studio’ exercise.

Then we thought it would be great to maybe, you ¬†know, play these songs, live. By this time, we were not so virtual and we became real, meeting together in Dumfries or Edinburgh, and actually playing together as a duo. It’s kind of hard to recreate the layers of synths, guitars, percussion and voices with just the two of us, so we decided on acoustic versions.

I’ll add more to this later. In the meantime, please do take a listen to our first album, Portraits in Stone, or even, how about downloading it?

To find out more about Arbelos, visit the band website at