In his early years, his playing was influenced by Donald Fletcher, Martin Ferguson, Beverly MacQueen and Donald Ian MacLeod, all well known Dunvegan fiddlers. In later years, however, his style was influenced by the playing of Little Jack MacDonald and Wilfred Gillis, both Nova Scotia fiddlers who played in the area.
While Malcolm plays traditional Ottawa Valley music, he is best known for his Scottish tunes which have a great Cape Breton sound. He has long been impressed by the playing of Cape Breton fiddlers and has made numerous trips to Cape Breton where he is held in high esteem for his playing – quite a compliment from the Mecca of fiddle playing! His fiddling prowess has won him a number of fiddle contests and for a number of years he acted as a judge at fiddling contests throughout Eastern Ontario.
Over the years, Malcolm has been associated with many fiddle groups. He has played with the Glengarry Old Time Fiddlers, the Glengarry Strathspey and Reel Society, the Glengarrians (a Scottish country dance band), A Touch of Scotch (an Ottawa-based group) and since the mid 1990s he has been a member of the Ottawa Fiddle Ensemble where he is Concert Master. He is also known for the many years he played at Bob’s in Dalhousie with Viola MacCuaig as his accompanist. He is an active and highly regarded member of the Ottawa Traditional Fiddling and Folk Art Society, of which he was a founding member, and in which he has held a number of executive positions over the years.
Malcolm’s talents are not restricted to the fiddle. He was one of the first drummers of the Glengarry Pipe Band and he is also an accomplished accompanist on the piano. Also a composer, he has written a number of tunes including Hugh Allan’s Jig (named for Hugh Allan MacMillan, a friend from Lochinvar), The Cabers of Glengarry (composed after a meeting of the Caber Club), Dalhousie Reel (commemorating his several years of playing at Bob’s Hotel), The Eighth of Kenyon (after the concession where he grew up) and A Tribute to Lucien Ranger (named for another member of the Glengarry Strathspey and Reel Society). In addition, he taught fiddle and for many years chaired the Fiddle Committee at the Glengarry Highland Games.
Malcolm is married to Beverly Kippen from Maxville and they have two daughters, Laura and Dawn.