Foot Stompin’ Newsletter 13th March 2010

A few years ago a band came out of the highlands that changed the direction of folk music today. They were Croft No Five and their CD Attention All Personnel was a mould breaker. One of our customers Stooshie said of it “Buy it. Class. Need more be said? Not really.” It’s yours for £4.99 (60% of normal price).

1. New Releases – includes Kris Drever – Mark the Hard Earth
2. International Women’s Day – our leading Scottish musicians
3. Scottish music article: Captain Simon Fraser
4. Best Sellers: includes Mother’s Day Cards, The Complete Songs of Robert Tannahill.
5. Snippets – Happy Retirement Bill Black!, new Ewan Robertson CD
6. Foot Stompin’ FREE ringtone – Back of the Moon
7. Foot Stompin’ Scotch whisky – featuring Lochnagar Distillery
8. Reviews includes Skippinish, Bellevue Rendezvous, Skerryvore
9. Discussion forum
10. Testimonials
11. Foot Stompin’ on Facebook and Twitter

1. New Releases (remember if you’ve bought from us before you get our loyalty 10% discount off everything)

HOT OFF THE PRESSES!! Mark The Hard Earth – Kris Drever: A wonderful, well-chosen selection of songs that Kris has loved and played over recent years alongside new songs written by friends and collaborators including cult Scottish songwriter Sandy Wright (Wild Hurricane, Shining Star), Boo Hewerdine (Sweet Honey In The Rock). Kris’s traditional roots are never far away as in his lovely treatment of O’ A’ The Airts’ and The Banks Of The Nile. He has assembled a fine array of guest stars such as fiddler John McCusker, who also produced the CD, Irish American multi-instrumentalist Tim O’Brien, Ian Carr on guitar and Karine Polwart and Heidi Talbot with whom he has vocal duets. A fine album from the Lau singer, one of folk music’s most in-demand performers. £12.60 (£13.99 for first time customers)

THREESOME!! Salamander – Bellevue Rendezvous: An excellent second album from acoustic instrumental trio Bellevue Rendezvous. The line up features Gavin Marwick (fiddle), Ruth Morris, (nyckelharpa) and Cameron Robson (cittern, guitar and jaw harp). A very talented trio with an extensive repertoire of tunes from Scotland, Europe and beyond, they can play both airs and lively dance tunes with equal grace and lyricism. £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

NOW HEAR THIS!! Tune In – Nuala Kennedy: Nuala is a traditional singer and and much-admired flautist playing a range of music from Scotland, Ireland and beyond.The CD features her six-piece band plus special guests Bonnie Prince Billy, Norman Blake, Oliver Schroer and more. Tune In bears testimony to the many influences and collaborations Nuala has been enjoying in recent years. Originally from Ireland, Nuala settled in Scotland and played with the groups fine Friday and Harem Scarem. £12.60 (£13.99 for first time customers)

A GREAT MAN!! The Shand Connection: Sir Jimmy Shand has become known throughout the world as the greatest exponent of Scottish Dance Music that there has ever been. Sadly he is no longer with us but on this CD the listener can become enchanted with his wonderful style, both for listening to and for dancing. The tracks are drawn from various sources; live performances at his beloved Letham Village Hall with his son, Jimmy Shand Jnr and his Band; studio recordings with the original Jimmy Shand Band and also some tracks of Jimmy Shand’s original compositions played in tribute by former band member Jim Johnstone with his band. A marvellous CD to introduce new listeners to Sir Jimmy Shand’s music. £7.20 (£7.99 for first time customers)

LET IT BLOW!! The Wind in the Bellows (Book): A really useful handbook for teachers and students of Border pipes & Scottish smallpipes. The Wind in the Bellows is a logical step forward from its predecessor, the excellent ‘More Power to your Elbow’, and it is surely a step in the right direction. While the new book focuses on the business of teaching Border pipes and Scottish smallpipes, it also develops some of the principles and proposals put forward by its predecessor; thus these two volumes are intimately linked. As all three writers in the Preface have suggested, this is yet another advance along the road of revival and re-development of the bellows pipes that have their origins in the Lowlands of Scotland and the Borders. £11.70 (£12.99 for first time customers)

FOR THE SERIOUS PIPER!! The Glencoe Collection of Bagpipe Music (book): A collection of ceol mor and ceol beag pipe music, compiled by William M MacDonald of Inverness and featuring tunes by himself as well as a variety of other composers. Willie MacDonald was a top competition piper of his time. This 46 page book was first published in 1999.and has bagpipe notation. £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

Back in Stock!

Oirfeid Uibhist (CD) Brilliant ‘Live’ Piping from Ceolas 10th Anniversary Concert. Sixteen pipers / tracks of piping from all over including Highland pipes, Border pipes, Smallpipes, Uilleann pipes, Sardinian pipes and a song! If you are a piping fan, this is a CD you will love! It is full of superb performances from visitors and local pipers including individual performances from each of the three MacDonald brothers Dr Angus, Iain and Allan. Fascinating to hear Graziano Montisc from Sardinia – it is only here that a living triplepipe tradition survives. £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

Highland Voyage (audio CD) : A legendary recording about a bearded, whisky-drinking West Highland Scot who was the captain of a small, steam powered coastal tramp vessel called “The Vital Spark”. Highland Voyage, which features the voices of Duncan Macrae, Roddy McMillan, John Grieve and Alex Mackenzie is a musical journey aboard a puffer with characters loosely based on those in Neil Munro’s Para Handy stories. It first came out in 1962 three years after the conclusion of the BBC television series, ‘Para Handy, Master Mariner’, and two years before the follow up much-loved series The Vital Spark, in which Roddy MacMillan was promoted to the part of skipper, and, the incomparable John Grieve to his memorable role of engineer, Dan MacPhail. £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

Have you seen these related items?

The Vital Spark DVD: Sadly, these are the only five remaining episodes of this classic BBC series. This DVD is a real treat for fans of Scottish humour! and

Para Handy (book) Neil Munro’s Para Handy has been sailing his way into the affections of generations of Scots since he first weighed anchor in the pages of the Glasgow Evening News nearly a hundred years ago. This definitive edition contains all three collections published in the author’s lifetime, as well as a new story never previously published which was discovered in 2001. Extensive notes accompany each story, providing fascinating insights into colloquialisms, place-names and historical events. This volume also includes a wealth of contemporary photographs, depicting the harbours, steamers and puffers from the age of the Vital Spark.

Remember unlike many other websites you can speak to Foot Stompin’ on the telephone! Get us on +44 (0)131 441 3135 and we’ll help you anyway we can. We take all credit cards.

2. International Women’s Day
Monday 8th of March was International Women’s Day. It’s a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. The first IWD was run on the 19th March, 1911. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. Scotland’s music carries on this tradition. Here’s some amazing women within Scottish music.

Karine Polwart
Karine’s debut solo album Faultlines won many awards when it came out. She’s one of our best song writers and is not scared to write (and sing) about difficult issues. Have a listen to her song The Sun’s Comin’ Over The Hill – it’s a corker!

Margaret Bennett
Margaret is one of the world’s foremost authorities on Scottish Folklore, she features in several films, TV documentaries and on radio. Hamish Henderson wrote: “She is a folksinger of great sensitivity and versatility, and is undoubtedly one of the major figures of the modern Scottish Revival. There can be few scholars on either side of the Atlantic who succeed in combining such a wide range of skills as Margaret Bennett. Margaret embodies all that is best of the spirit of Scotland.”

Rona Lightfoot
Singer, piper, storyteller, teacher and all-round tradition bearer, Rona Lightfoot is one of Gaeldom’s great characters, a one-woman ceilidh with a treasure trove of folklore and the spirit to take on authority and win. Many of the piping competitions were for men only and Rona campaigned against this, proving her point by becoming the first woman to take part in the coveted Bratach Gorm (or Blue Banner), the Scottish Piping Society of London’s premier pibroch competition (although sh was only allowed to enter once!).

Sheena Wellington
Sheena is one of Scottish traditional music’s most passionate advocates, an internationally recognised champion of Robert Burns and in her proudest achievement, the singer who will forever be remembered for her stirring singing of A Man’s a Man for a’ That at the Scottish Parliament’s opening in 1999. As a tireless campaigner for traditional music from school room to concert hall, she was traditional music’s first representative on the Scottish Arts Council’s music committee, and became Scotland’s first traditional arts development officer, spending five years in her adopted home of Fife encouraging artists in all disciplines to feel valued and to pass on their skills.

Belle Stewart
It is generally agreed by folklorists that the Scottish travelling folk are among our finest oral tradition bearers, be it song or tale. Many of these tinker families claim direct descent from the dispossessed and scattered clans who supported the losing side at the battle of Culloden in 1746. Belle was of travelling stock; proud, dignified and a distinguished maintainer of noble traditions. A singer, songwriter and poet, Belle was born on 18th July 1906, in a ‘wee bow-tent’ by the side of the River Tay at Caputh. Stewart’s amazing ability to recall songs from the past meant she was visited frequently by folksong collectors, musicians, and musicologists.

Featuring award winning singer Julie Fowlis, this all-girl band have taken Gaelic, Scots, Shetlandic and Irish music to the masses. They have a very distinctive sound that is loved wherever they play.

3. Scottish music article: Captain Simon Fraser

In 1816 Captain Simon Fraser of Knockie in the Scottish Highlands published a collection of 232 airs and melodies from the Highlands and Islands and left a legacy of Celtic music that has endured by its merit into the 21st century. Simon Fraser was taught violin by Nathaniel Gow and tried to present his music in the style of other successful Scots musicians of the day. Although some of his own work is included amongst the tunes the majority was derived from the singing of his father and grandfather. These were the songs of the bards of the Scottish Gaeldom, including songs of the Jacobite rebellions. Due to the political climate of the time Fraser was compelled to leave out the words in order to publish his work.

The first edition of the book (published in Edinburgh) sold out but his schemes ended in ruin when he was persuaded to invest the proceeds in a venture to export thousands of volumes of his music to America and India. In America pirated copies of the music were already in circulation thus destroying his hopes and investment.

In 1999, the first performance of the play “The Captain’s Collection” opened in Captain Fraser’s homeland in Errogie, on a memorable night when a thick, ghostly fog drifted down from the Monadhliath and almost two hundred people packed into tiny Stratherrick Hall. Following up with a more extensive tour in April 2000, the play was described in The Scotsman as “fascinating and provocative music theatre”. Captain Fraser’s Airs and Melodies Peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland and the Isles was originally suggested by Bruce MacGregor of the band Blazin Fiddles as the basis for a musical play as part of Highland Festival 1999. The play The Captain’s Collection was written by Hamish MacDonald and directed by Alison Peebles. It was developed into an award winning series for BBC Radio Scotland, produced by Bruce MacGregor. The Captain’s Collection CD featuring the musical repertoire of the play was produced by Jonny Hardie for the Greentrax label, and featuring Jonny Hardie – Fiddle; Brian MacAlpine – Keyboards; Alyth McCormack – Song ; Rory Campbell/Iain MacFarlane – Whistle & Pipes, becoming one of the most highly acclaimed and cherished CDs of Celtic music in 1999.
Read the complete article

Check out the CD recordings of this book

The Captain’s Collection:
Music from the Simon Fraser Collection: as played in the homes of Cape Breton Musicians:

4. Best Sellers
Foot Stompin’ Mother’s Day cards in Scots and Gaelic: Not long now! With these original cards you’ll make your mother feel very special. Available in Scots and Gaelic.
Gaelic Mothers Day Card £2.25 (£2.50 for first time customers)
Scots Mothers Day Card £2.25 (£2.50 for first time customers)

The Complete Songs of Robert Tannahill Vol.2: Since the centenary edition of his works and festivities in Paisley in 1874, which drew crowds of 15,000 to celebrate his life and art, Robert Tannahill has been sadly neglected. But thanks to Dr Fred Freeman, a project to record over 100 of Robert Tannahill’s songs over five volumes is well under way. We are delighted to have Volume 2 available this week. Tannahill’s work is of a quality that compares with Robert Burns, and these songs constitute his great legacy. This is a lovely album which features some of Scotland’s finest singers and musicians. £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

Folk ‘n’ Roll – A Far Away Place: High energy acoustic music from the Isle of Lewis in a folk-rock style played by three young and very talented musicians. £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

This Earthly Spell by Karine Polwart: Multi award winning Karine Polwart follows up her recent traditional Fairest Floo’er album with a set of mostly her own songs. £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

The Whisky Muse (book) by Robin Laing
Over 200 pages crammed with culture and commentary about our national drink

5. Snippets

Happy Retirement Bill Black!
Bill Black button accordionist, fiddler, composer of dozens of tunes and one of Scottish Country Dance Music’s most popular bandleaders has retired this week after a career spanning more than 60 years. Read more about Bill in the Scots Trad Music Hall of Fame:

Ewan Robertson CD
The singer, guitarist and winner of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award 2008,will release his debut solo CD “Some Kind of Certainty” on the Greentrax label on 17th March

New Daniel Thorpe website
The 2010 winner of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award has a new website and it looks great. Check it out at

Blazers take the stage!
The high octane Scottish group Blazin’ Fiddles will raise the roof of the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow this Sunday when they perform as part of Glasgow’s Concert Halls’ Fruitmarket Folk season.

Calling Young Musicians!
Young musicians from across Perth and Kinross are invited to audition for a new Celtic ‘big band’ Corrina Hewat and David Milligan, founders of extravagant 22-piece folk orchestra The Unusual Suspects, will musically direct the band. It will focus on playing traditional music with innovative arrangements carrying on the creative spirit of Perthshire piper Gordon Duncan’s writing and playing…

NY Tartan Day Parade!
Join 2,000 pipers and drummers for the 12th Annual New York Tartan Day Parade – New York’s biggest celebration for pipers, drummers, Scottish music and single malt whisky – let the countdown begin! 2010 Grand Marshal will be Alex Fergusson, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament.

Dressed to Kilt…
Is being hosted in New York on April 5th. Looks like a great evening. More information here

In the Mood!
Great concert from the Gaelic Society of Inverness with the theme “Seasons and Moods”. It is happening 12th March at Eden Court Theatre.and will include Kathleen MacInnes;Arthur Cormack; Maggie MacDonald; Paul MacCallum; Canntaireachd; and the Monach Isles Ceilidh Band.

Can you help?
Music in Hospitals, the organisation which brings performers into contact with people in various care situations, would like to include more traditional musicians on their roster. In particular they are looking for Gaelic singers. These gigs bring a lot of pleasure to people who cannot otherwise get out to hear music.

John Law RIP
John Law a tireless campaigner and stalwart of the Scots Language Society has died very suddenly. He will be sorely missed.

6. Foot Stompin’ FREE Scottish Music Ringtone
Another classic Foot Stompin’ ringtone from Back of the Moon and their Luminosity CD. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to listen to our Free Scottish Music podcast featuring Outside Track, Brian McNeill, Iain Morrison, Duncan Chisholm, Catriona Garbutt and Phil Cunningham.

7. Foot Stompin’ Scotch Whisky
With our partners Master of Malt we’re going to feature a couple of whiskies from Lochnagar distillery. Read more about the Distillery (

Royal Lochnagar 12 Year Old (70cl, 40%)
This 12 year old was distillery at the Lochnagar distillery, once visited by Queen Victoria when she was staying at nearby Balmoral. Queen Victoria loved malt whisky! £27.95

Lochnagar 19 Year Old 1990 – Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing) (70cl, 50%)
A rare release of just 423 bottles from the Royal Lochnagar distillery. This was distilled in May of 1990 and aged for 19 years in a sherry butt before bottling by Douglas Laing in May of 2009. Brilliant deal! £59.95

8. Reviews.

CD: Skipinnish Live From The Ceilidh House – Reviewed in Scotland on Sunday
The Tiree/Lochaber entrepreneurs run a tight ship in Oban where they operate the Skipinnish Ceilidh House, a popular music venue and meeting place. The atmosphere is bottled here in this live recording of Angus and Andrew leading on accordion, pipes and fiddle, with a string of top guest musicians you might find there. There’s a Gaelic song or two among the feisty barn dances, reels and schottisches, and the only thing missing is the bar…..NC

CD: Salamander – Bellevue Rendezvous – Reviewed in The Herald
“…a beguilingly lyrical, spirited and harmonious sound…” Rob Adams

CD: Skerryvore On The Road. Customer review 5 stars

Absolutely fantastic cd. Nice collection and mix of music. I must say the track The Gentleman is one of the best pieces of music I have heard. Buy this cd, don’t think about it, just do it you will not be disappointed…Jason

9. Foot Stompin’ Discussion Forum
Feel free to join in!

40 years on.
Just reading that it’s 40 years since Jimi Hendrix died. Doesn’t seem that long ago! A lot has passed in that time in traditional music – any good memories?

Instruments passed down
Just reading an article on a violin passed down through generations and still played. Does anyone here play instruments that have come through their family?

10. Testimonials

Thanks so much for the free ringtones…I’m really enjoying them! Linda D.

Can I just record how pleased I am with your prompt service – received the DVDs this morning in the post – amazed. Will enjoy them tonight hopefully.

11 . Foot Stompin’ on Facebook and Twitter

Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin

Great event for young people. Edinburgh Youth Gaitherin 5th – 8th April 2010. This is one of the great learning weeks for kids. They have a raft of brilliant tutors who all work together to make a great week. The background staff are also amazing!

Foot Stompin’ Newsletter 25th February 2010

The Complete Songs of Robert Tannahill Vol.2

The Complete Songs of Robert Tannahill Vol.2

Hi there,

For the last week of February we’re offering one of our best selling CDs for £4.99 (60% of normal price). It’s Laughing Girl by virtuoso Shetland fiddler Jenna Reid. The Herald when reviewing the CD said of Jenna’s playing “Expect sparks to fly – and a good greet when she puts her heart and soul into the sad tunes”.

1. New Releases – includes The Complete Songs of Robert Tannahill Vol.2, Ceol Uibhist Volume 2
2. Fiddlers’ Bid – All Dressed in Yellow. Have you heard it?
3. Book of the Week – Precious and the Puggies
4. Scottish Music Hero – John D. Burgess. MBE 1934 – 2005.
5. Snippets – includes Twitter Helps Spread Gaelic to Spain, Bothy Ballad Champion of Champions 2010.
6. Foot Stompin’ FREE Scottish Music Ringtone
7. Reviews includes Archie Fisher
8. Best Sellers: includes Session A9, Mary Ann Kennedy and Na Seoid
9. Foot Stompin’ Scotch Whisky – Strathisla 40 Year Old
10. Discussion forum
11. Testimonials
12. Foot Stompin’ on Facebook and Twitter

1. New Releases (remember if you’ve bought from us before you get our loyalty 10% discount off everything)

ANOTHER NATIONAL BARD!! The Complete Songs of Robert Tannahill Vol.2:  Since the centenary edition of his works and festivities in Paisley in 1874, which drew crowds of 15,000 to celebrate his life and art, Robert Tannahill has been sadly neglected. But thanks to Dr Fred Freeman, a project to record over 100 of Robert Tannahill’s  songs over five volumes is well under way. We are delighted to have Volume 2 available this week. Tannahill’s work is of a quality that compares with Robert Burns, and these songs constitute his great legacy.  This is a lovely album which features some of Scotland’s finest singers and musicians. £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

UIST MUSIC!! Ceol Uibhist Volume 2: Ceolas, the music song and dance summer school set within the Gaelic speaking community of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides have just released a new CD! It features more of the many Tradition Bearers in Uist today. Included are songs and piping from Catriona Garbutt, songs from Duncan MacKinnon, Paul McCallum, Janice Simpson, dance music from ‘Na Deasaich’, Calum Iain MacCorquodale, Angus Ailig MacDonald and more…..£11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

READY TO DANCE!! Ready..And! -Bobby Brown & The Scottish Accent: A lovely CD of Scottish dance music  played by Bobby Brown with his two great ensembles ‘The Scottish Accent’ and the ‘Cape Breton Symphony Fiddlers’. Joining them are the renowned Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser and, for one selection, two brilliant pipers from the 48th Highlanders of Canada Regiment, Pipe Major Reay Mackay and Pipe Major Sandy Dewar.  Bobby and his two groups have performed at concerts and dances throughout the Celtic world, and have toured Europe and Canada several times. £11.69 (£12.99 for first time customers)

COLLECTOR’S ITEM!! Binneas is Boreraig (Disc One) Audio CD – Piobaireachd by Malcolm Ross MacPherson: This is an 18 track CD (part of a 110 tune collection) recorded by Malcolm MacPherson (Calum Og) in 1959 as a companion to the Binneas Is Boreraig music book series. Pipers everywhere will be aware that these recordings represent a master player in his later years – with the benefit of a lifetime to re-study and reflect on the music passed down to him by a long line of piping greats. Malcom Ross MacPherson’s line of piping goes back directly to the MacCrimmons, through Malcolm’s father Angus, his grandfather Calum Piobaire and his great-grandfather Angus Cam, to the great Skye masters. It was the MacCrimmons whose mastery of Piobaireachd, the ancient classical music of the Highlands of Scotland, was unrivalled at any time in history.  £11.69 (£12.99 for first time customers)


Binneas is Boreraig Volume 1 (book): This historical work edited by Dr Roderick Ross was first published 50 years ago and broke new ground in the publication of piobaireachd music. Subsequent volumes in the series were combined in the Binneas Complete Collection but  this book, containing 10 tunes, is the original first edition and has now become something of a collector’s item. A limited number are now available thanks to a discovery made in the College of Piping storeroom! Tunes covered are MacLeod Controversy, MacLeod of Colbeck, Craigellachie, Menzies Salute, Lament for the Chilkdren, MacFarlane’s Gathering, King’s Taxes, MacLeod’s Salute, Donald Duaghal MacKay and the Blind Pipers’s Obstinacy which can all be found on the CD ‘Binneas is Boreraig (Disc One)’ played by Malcolm Ross MacPherson. In their time, both the books and the original recordings were well used by real exponents of the high art of Piobaireachd. £5.39 (£5.99 for first time customers)

Remember unlike many other websites you can speak to Foot Stompin’ on the telephone! Get us on +44 (0)131 441 3135 and we’ll help you anyway we can. We take all credit cards.

2. Fiddlers’ Bid – All Dressed in Yellow. Have you heard it?
I just thought I would flag up this amazing CD. I believe that Fiddlers’ Bid have made one of the best Scottish fiddle records ever. They have taken their own Shetland music (which they obviously love) and whilst not departing from their tradition in the slightest have created something completely modern and exciting. Their is playing is inspirational and the way the music is shared between the band is amazing. If you’re looking to buy one fiddle CD this decade this is it!

3. Book of the Week – Precious and the Puggies
A brand new book in Scots for younger readers by one the world’s favourite authors Alexander McCall Smith. It tells the story of the girlhood adventures of Precious Ramotswe, founder of the Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Wee Precious must solve her very first case involvin her freend Sepo, a piece and some cheeky puggies (monkeys) and so become a detective….

“Somebody wis breakin Rule Nummer Yin. Somebody in Precious Ramotswe’s schuil wis pauchlin things. First there wis Tapiwa’s cake, syne there wis Sepo’s jeely piece. Whit wid be nixt? Wha wis the thief? And hoo wis Precious gonnae mak shair that the wrang person didna get the blame?”

The author has decided that Precious and the Puggies appears in print in the Scots language for a year before it is translated into English or any other language.  He writes “I have long admired the Scots language and I admire people who are determined that we should not forget how to speak and read Scots…’ This wee book is translatit intae Scots by James Robertson an published by ‘Itchy Coo’ who specialise in Scots language books. It has a hard cover and a ‘Precious Ramontswe’s Guide to Scots words’ in the back. £8.99(£9.99 for first time customers)

4. Scottish Music Hero – John D. Burgess. MBE 1934 – 2005.
John D Burgess was a phenomenon in the world of piping.  At the age of four he began to take an interest in playing when his father made a scaled-down practice chanter for him.  When he was ten he went for lessons to the legendary Pipe Major William Ross at Edinburgh Castle, and from this his rise was meteoric.  From being an infant prodigy he beacame a boy genius, whose playing in juvenile competitions brought professional pipers in large numbers into the audience.

In 1950, at the age of sixteen, he started his professional career – and started at the top.  In his first appearance he won the Gold Medals for piobaireachd playing at both the Argyllshire Gathering, Oban, and the Northern Meeting, Inverness, an achievement never before dreamed of and never likely to be equalled.  In addition he won the march at Oban, the strathspey and reel at Inverness, and several other prizes, making him easily the most successful competitor at these two premier meetings.  Since then he won all the major awards, many of them several times.

In 1952 he was invited, with Pipe Major William Ross, to visit Canada and the United States, and this tour carried the legend of his brilliance to a wide and appreciative audience.  He then spent some time in the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders before joining the famous Edinburgh Police Pipe Band, of which he eventually became pipe major.  Later he moved to the Invergordon Distillery Band when this amazing “band of talents” was formed.  After two years – when this interesting experiment was discontinued – he decided to stay in the North, where the atmosphere seemed more conducive to the maturing of his ability.  There he had further help in piobaireachd interpretation from the old master Angus MacPherson, whose piping is two generation straight from the MacCrimmons.

Read the complete article about this amazing man…
Check out John’s CD

5. Snippets
Hebridean Celtic Festival: Hall of Fame Nomination
The Hebridean Celtic Festival is pleased to announce its very own ‘Hall of Fame’. To mark its 15th anniversary in 2010 we are highlighting some of the superb artists, performances and experiences enjoyed by HebCelt audiences over past years.

Scottish Arts Council awards Scots Music Group £75,750
Congratulations to the Edinburgh-based Scots Music Group who are celebrating a share of almost £800,000 to connect people through the arts and encourage long-lasting links between people, places and ideas.

When Nicola Benedetti Met Aly Bain
They both play violin but their music is worlds apart…Nicola is one of the leading lights of the classical world and Aly is a bedrock of the Scottish folk scene. Could be a great programme – BBC Two Scotland, 10.00-10.30pm on Tuesday 2nd March.

Stompin’ in Oban!! Job Opportunity
Skipinnish Cèilidh House is  looking to recruit 3 full time musicians for the busy summer season at the Skipinnish Cèilidh House in Oban. From 23rd June – 12th September 2010

Let’s hear it for Paisley!
The town of Paisley has been named as the official host town for the Royal National Mod 2013, one of Scotland’s biggest music festivals … It is the first time the town will have hosted the event after previously losing out to Stornoway in the 2008 race.

Creative Scotland is looking for a new Chair and Board Members
Do you think you could make a difference to the newly formed Creative Scotland? Now here’s your chance – why not apply!

New Folk Presenter on Heartland fm
The popular Perthshire radio station has a new presenter – Katherine Liley – for their folk programme “‘Celtic Celebrations'”

Treacherous Orchestra Tour Dates
The turbo-charged 13-piece supergroup featuring pipes, accordian, fiddles, whistles, flutes, electric guitar, banjo, bass, drums and percussion are on tour 26th March – 10th April. Don’t miss them!

A buzz in the Borders!
A species of bumblebee has been spotted in Scotland for the first time in 50 years. The Southern Cuckoo bumblebee was found near the border with England at St Abbs in Berwickshire. It is black and yellow like other types but the male has distinctive antennae and is named after the cuckoo because it moves into the nests of other bees. …Matt McGinn had a song about a bee..

6. Foot Stompin’ FREE Scottish Music ringtone
Here a great ringtone from top Scottish fiddle band Blazin’ Fiddles. This track Miss Johnstone makes everybody smile when they hear you phone ring! (You’ll find it down the page a bit!)

7. Reviews.

CD: Long Road Home –  Stringjammer.  4 stars. Reviewed in Scotland on Sunday
Conrad Ivitsky blew around the world for years as the bass player in Shooglenifty, but remains restlessly explorative. In Stringjammer he’s the singing captain of a changeable crew of musical pirates who have bonded in their disrespect of frontiers. Frets, folktronica, free reeds and fiddle, rolling rhythms, Latin jazz licks, country blues and quirky percussion come and go with the mists in just half a dozen myth and dream-laden songs. It’s winsome, clever stuff and you won’t resist the urge to smile….NC

CD: Ken Campbell’s Ideal Band. Reviewed for Maverick Magazine
A poignant and heartfelt wonderful album to treasure, each song an absolute gem.A simply beautiful sound that is hard to come by.

CD: Sunsets I’ve Galloped Into – Archie Fisher. Customer Review  5 Stars
This album by Archie surely ranks as one of his best great song with Archie’s warm delivery a fantastic album for someone who would like a gentle start in their folk collection…Cheerydavie

CD: Shipwrecks And Static – Inga Thomson. 4 stars. Reviewed in Scotland on Sunday
The Shetland accordionist, keyboard player and songwriter (and member of the Karine Polwart Trio) lets her imagination go in this solo album. Child-like in its approach, with Heidi Talbot and Rory Campbell on additional vocals, Tom Cook sharing instrumental duties, and a wee spot from hubby Martin Green, the album mixes sincere acoustica with quirky electronica and found percussion, to disconcerting effect. There are even harmonies from an Armenian cave. Cheerfully mesmerising….Norman Chalmers

8. Best Sellers

CD The Early McKellar: Kenneth McKellar
20 tracks first recorded by one of Scotland’s most popular tenor voices, more than 50 years ago remastered and now available on CD.

CD The Desperate Battle of the Birds – Breabach
With their dual bagpipes, fiddle, whistles  guitar and song are one of the most inventive and diverse bands to have emerged from the Scottish folk scene in recent years.

Bottlenecks and Arm Breakers by Session A9
Exciting CD from Capercaillie’s Charlie McKerron and other top fiddlers. £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

Mary Ann Kennedy and Na Seoid by Mary Ann Kennedy and Na Seoid
Top Gaelic singer come together to make a fantastic CD of Gaelic song including some unexpected classics! £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

Partners in Crimeby Ross Ainslie & Jarlath Henderson
This is a energy piping CD with a twist. This has sold a lot of copies to pipers all over the world who are amazed at these guys dexterity. £11.69 (£12.99 for first time customers)

Fairest Floo’erby Karine Polwart
Karine is normally known for her brilliant self-penned songs but many of us know Karine firstly for her beautiful renditions of Scottish traditional songs. Fairest Floo’er was a triumph in Scots song. Get it now! £8.09 (£8.99 for first time customers)

9. Foot Stompin’ Scotch Whisky

We’ve partnered again with the excellent Master of Malt to offer you the very best in Scotch Whisky. This malt from the Strathisla whisky distillery draws its waters from the calcium rich, peat-less Broomhill Spring. Rumour has it, kelpies – the supernatural shape shifting water horses from Scottish folk lore – haunt the spring at night!

Strathisla 40 Year Old – Gordon and MacPhail (70cl, 43%): A 40 year old single malt for under £100! You really don’t see many like this… The nose is rich and full. There are notes of sweet vanilla fudge with caramelised fruits and charred toasty oak with spice and gentle, cold wood smoke. £99.95

10. Foot Stompin’ Discussion Forum

Have you got something to say? Why not visit our discussion forum. Here are two subjects being discussed at the moment.

Shetland Council propose to charge pupils £160 a year for their music lessons
They have to make £1.5million in savings….

The end of an Era: Farewell from the Garden Sessions
Regrettably, the internet radio station with a special interest in folk music has closed down..

11. Testimonials

I just wanted to thank you for the fantastic music podcast.  I live in Israel and don’t get to enjoy Scottish music like this often.  Thanks! Jonatha Degai

Just wanted to say great newsletter, catalog and service.  I live in the U.S., and you sent my CDs across the ocean faster than the “big river” guys, if you know what I mean. Kevin H.

12 . Foot Stompin’ on Facebook and Twitter

Follow Foot Stompin’ on Facebook and Twitter and we’ll send you daily Scottish music updates

Foot Stompin’ has a presence on Facebook. Come along, pay us a visit and say hello!

If Twitter is more your scene you can visit us here

Foot Stompin’ February 10th newsletter

Calum MacCrimmon - Man's Ruin

Calum MacCrimmon - Man's Ruin

We’ve a great special offer for you this week. We’re offering you Shona Mooney’s Award winning CD, Heartsease (Mojo Magazine’s CD of the Year) for £4.99 – 60% off retail price. A reviewer said of it “Shona’s playing dazzles with vibrancy, and delights with its combination of verve, technical expertise and soul… Her sheer delight in playing and communicating the music beams directly out to the listener.” David Kidman

1. New Releases – includes Calum MacCrimmon, Duncan Johnstone, Gaberlunzie
2. Legendary Scottish Singers – Kenneth McKellar
3. Snippets – Petition to Save Scottish Music Course!
4. Foot Stompin’ FREE Scottish Music ringtone- Mairearad and Anna
5. Reviews – includes Mick West, Pur
6. Best Sellers: includes Breabach, Fraser Fifield, Oor Wullie
7. Foot Stompin’ Scotch Whisky – Glenmorange & Oban
8. Discussion forum
9. Testimonials
10. Foot Stompin’ on Facebook and Twitter

1. New Releases (remember if you’ve bought from us before you get our loyalty 10% discount off everything)

WINE, WOMEN & SONG!! Man’s Ruin – Calum MacCrimmon: Calum MacCrimmon, piper and whistle player with popular folk band Breabach, has shown his composing and vocal talents on this brilliant new release. It’s packed with great contemporary songs and tunes and a fab list of guest musicians in the shape of Innes Watson – guitars, dobro, fiddle; Duncan Lyall – bass; Paul Jennings – drum kit, cajon; Rick Taylor – trombone; Nigel Hitchcock – sax; John Somerville – accordion; Darren MacLean – Gaelic song. Calum himself is lead vocalist and plays electric guitar & whistles. The only piping featured on this album is the saucy picture on the cover! We love it! £11.70 (£12.99 for first time customers)

THE MASTER’S ART!! Pipe Tunes – Duncan Johnstone: The tracks on this CD come from two early LPs recorded by an obvious master of the art of piping. Duncan (1925 – 1999) was first and foremost a ‘musician’, and this was clearly evident not only in his playing but also in his composing and teaching. He was one of the finest pipers of his generation and piping enthusiasts will enjoy this opportunity to hear one of the ‘greats’. £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

REVIVAL MUSIC!! The Times They Are A-Changin’ (2 CDs) – The Ian Campbell Folk Group : We were delighted to come across this amazing collection of 62 tracks from the band who were a leading light of the 1960s folk revival.The tracks cover the recordings from 10 of the groups albums from 1964 onwards. They made many appearances on radio, television, and at national and international festivals and had a hit single with their recording of Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’. Two of the members – Dave Swarbrick and Dave Pegg – went on to fame with ‘Fairport Convention’. The Ian Campbell Folk Group were a trendsetting group who influenced so many others, This double CD is a real gem, and a snapshot of the vibrant folk scene at the time. Excellent sleeve notes too! £9.89 (£10.99 for first time customers)

TRAVELLIN’ MEN!! The Shire Of Kinross: – Gaberlunzie: By all accounts a ‘gaberlunzie’ was a travelling singer and storyteller. Robin Watson and Gordon Menzies have been together as Gaberlunzie since the early 1970s and have have travelled widely entertaining audiences with their blend of modern and traditional songs. On this CD, the duo have stayed close to home with a selection of songs and tunes from their home area of Kinross. £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

NIGHT-CLUBBIN!! Reeltime – Keeping It Reel: Wild, pipe-led dance-music! The album is a compilation of selected contemporary works featuring bagpipes, large and small, played by Roddy Deans and a variety of Scotland’s session musicians. A CD of mixed musical flavours from around the world given a modern Scottish twist. £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

CALUM’S BACK!! Calum Kennedy – Songs in Gaelic: We are delighted to say that after an absence of several months (due to the illness of the sole supplier) we have managed to get some more of this beautiful and popular CD back into stock. Here’s a chance to sit down for an hour and listen again to the beautiful gentle tone and wonderful range of Calum Kennedy’s voice when he sung in his native Gaelic. Sublime! £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

CDs from other artists of bygone days also now available again include:

Robert Wilson The Voice of Scotland: (3 volumes available)
Father Sydney MacEwan (Silver Threads.. & Bonnie Mary of Argyle)
Harry Gordon – The Laird o’ Inversnecky:
The Cornkisters (3 volumes available):
Dancing Memories (4 volumes available)
Jimmy Blue Scottish Dance Band:
Joseph Hislop – Songs From Scotland:
Jim Cameron’s Scottish Dance Band (3 volumes available):

Remember you can also buy from Foot Stompin’ by phone – +44 (0)131 441 3135. We take all credit cards. If you like a friendly voice at the end of your phone we’re here!

2. Legendary Scottish Singers – Kenneth McKellar

Scottish tenor Kenneth McKellar was born in Paisley in 1927. He originally studied Forestry at Aberdeen University, after graduation working for the Scottish Forestry Commission. He later trained at the Royal College of Music as an opera singer. Kenneth’s great talent as a singer first came to public notice in 1947 through a broadcast with the BBC in Glasgow. “It was the ballad opera The Gentle Shepherd, by the early 18th century Scottish poet Allan Rarnsay,” he recalls. “The music for it was arranged by Cedric Thorpe Davie, who was Professor of Music at St.Andrew’s University. I sang the main tenor part in that. It was very beautiful. That was my introduction to broadcasting.”

He did not enjoy his time with the Carl Rosa Opera Company and left them to pursue a career singing traditional Scottish songs and other works. A year after he left opera for good he signed with the Decca Record Company where he remained for over 25 years during which time he recorded some 35 or more LPs which have sold many millions of copies throughout the world. He was a star of both radio and television and even represented the UK in the 1996 Eurovision Song Contest. His Songs of Robert Burns album is regarded in Scotland as the definitive Burns collection. His recordings in Paisley Abbey, Sacred Songs and Hosana are among the best-loved ever to come out of Scotland.

Foot Stompin’ has some beautiful recordings by Kenneth McKellar:
Kenneth McKellar – The Decca Years (1955-1975):
The Very Best Of Kenneth McKellar :
The Early McKellar:
To Robert Burns, A Tribute:
Kenneth McKeller’s Book of Hymns:

3. Snippets

Petition to Save top Scottish Music Degree!
One of the most sought-after music courses in Scotland is threatened with closure…there’s a petition to try and stop the axe falling on the BA Applied Music course at Strathclyde University which has seen many young traditional musicians among its graduates. More details here:

Awards galore!
Lots of Scottish singers and bands have been nominated in the 2010 Spiral Awards. You can vote for Border’s Tunesmiths and Fiddlers’ Bid (both in Instrumental Album), Lau (Best Original Song), Kris Drever (Best male singer), Alyth McCormack (Best female singer), Lau and Karine Polwart (Best Live Act). Vote here

Wee Precious!
Alexander McCall Smith’s new novel d”Precious and the Puggies” (monkeys) due for publiclation next month is to be released only in the Scots language. The author has decided that it appears in print in the Scots language for a year before it is translated into English or any other language.

Rallying call!
Annual Inverness Fiddlers Rally takes place Saturday 13th February 2010 at Eden Court Theatre. Be there or be square!

Road to Sunset: A Life of Lewis Grassic Gibbon
A lovely radio programme about the life of Lewis Grassic Gibbon  the writer of Scottish classic ‘Sunset Song’. It can still be accessed on BBC Radio Scotland.

Anyone know about a group of travellers who went over to North America from Perthshire about 150 years ago, who still travel across a number of states including Arizona? They apparently speak (Ar Cainnt) Gaelic or Cant in English.

Piping Summer School in Tuscany
Piper Hamish Moore is delighted to announce an exciting new Summer School for Piping, Traditional Music and Dance, to be held in Barga in Tuscany where he spent 2008 as musician in residence. Barga dates back a thousand years and is a walled hill town of astounding beauty…

The Muckle Sing Again!.
An extra day (21st February) has been added to this popular event which encourages community song groups and choirs.  There’s room for indivisdual singers too.  It will be a repeat of the Saturday’s programme (now fully booked) Howden Park Centre Livingston, West Lothian.. Booking details :

Trad in the Park
A weekend of traditional music making At Highland Adventure, Glenisla with two of the country’s most respected traditional musicians. Including one half-day’s outdoor activity. For musicians of S3 and above of intermediate or advanced playing / singing ability.

4. Foot Stompin’ FREE Scottish Music ringtone
Here’s our latest Free Scottish music ringtone. It’s a tune from the new Mairearad and Anna CD. It’s very cheery and guaranteed to make you smile.

5. Reviews

CD:  Sark o Snaw. 5 stars reviewed in Scotland on Sunday .
This masterful album of traditional songs was created over hundreds of years, by many thousands of individuals, and their spirit remains palpable in West’s deeply moving and authentically Scots voice. Each of these 11 evergreen songs is given a carefully wrought, modernist accompaniment that dramatises the ballads (Chylde Owlett), conjures mystery (Well Below The Valley) or remains simple and demurely touching (Kelvin’s Purling Stream). Go listen to it…Norman Chalmers

CD: Pur reviewed in The Scots Magazine
If, like me, you span both Scottish cultures, it is maybe too easy to approach this CD with some apprehension, in case attempts to Gaelicise Burns result in McGonagall-esque Gaelic doggerel — but this is definitely not the case, and the resulting synthesis is pleasing in the extreme. In fact, it’s sometimes difficult to realise that two cultures are being welded together . . . seamless is perhaps the word. I can’t help thinking that it’s a shame we don’t spend more time considering what unites us rather than what separates us, and that this time of the Scottish cultural year should be encouraged for simply that.

CD: Don’t Sing Love Songs by Maeve Mackinnon. Five Stars. Scotland on Sunday
“From the crunchy opening string chords and cross-rhythmic tension, you know an unusual musical intelligence is at work. The title comes from the Stateside favourite ‘Silver Dagger’, and while the Scots ‘Cruel Brither’ makes an appearance, most of the songs are in Gaelic. Striking arrangements might on occasion overshadow a song, but this is one of the most absorbing albums to be released in Scotland for a long time.”.. Norman Chalmers

CD: Songs in Gaelic – Calum Kennedy. Customer Review
This CD is a must for Calum’s many fans.His wonderful romantic voice confirms he was the greatest gaelic singer of his generation. I was privileged to hear him singing in his prime.A great loss to the Scottish musical scene. (Mr Tom Aitchison)

6. Best Sellers

CD: The Desperate Battle Of The Birds By Breabach
Latest CD from top Scottish band.

CD: Sark o’ Snaw by Mick West Band
Mick’s take on traditional and contemporary Scots song.

CD: Stereocanto by Fraser Fifield.
Great use of pipes and electronics.

CD: A Shirt Of Silk Or Snow by Wendy Weatherby
Scots song and cello – a great combination.

Book: Awfy Braw – Oor Wullie Funbook
Fun games with Oor Wullie.

DVD: Eric Bogle – Live At Stonyfell Winery (DVD)
Leading Scots export sings his own songs.

7. Foot Stompin’ Scotch Whisky

Foot Stompin’ and Master of Malt have again combined to offer you great deals on Scots Whisky. Here are two classic whiskies from the Highland region.

Oban 14 Year Old: This West Highland malt is still produced in the same unhurried, traditional fashion and this 14 year old is a classic dram from the Oban Whisky Distillery. £32.95 (should have been £39.95)

Glenmorangie 12 Year Old Golden Rum Cask (70cl, 40%). A rare 12 year old Glenmorangie, finished in a dark rum cask. This was released before the range of LVMH Glenmorangie malts, thus the old-fashioned packaging… £79.95

8. Foot Stompin’ Discussion Forum

Our forum is a busy place! Feel free to join in.

Here we go again – more Gaelic dissent in the North
Councillor slams spending on Gaelic education….

Copper and Brass
I’ve just dug out the old vinyl copy of this Dick Gaughan album and it’s nice to hear again

9. Testimonials

Wow! what speedy service! the CDs arrived with today’s post. Many thanks…..Kirsten

..You guys deserve any customer service awards going – you’re certainly doing it right…Many thanks again. AlyFinlayson

10 . Foot Stompin’ on Facebook and Twitter

Follow Foot Stompin’ on Facebook and Twitter and we’ll send you daily Scottish music updates

Foot Stompin’ has a presence on the social networking site Facebook. Come and pay us a visit!

If Twitter is more your scene you can visit us here
To unsubscribe from this newsletter by reply with Unsubscribe in the subject line.

Foot Stompin’ 4th February 2010 Newsletter

Breabach - the Desperate Battle of the Birds

Breabach - the Desperate Battle of the Birds

Listen to the latest Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast

On Sunday we celebrated the 10th BBC Radio Scotland Young Tradition Award. The very first winner was Gillian Frame back in 2001 and with her band Back of the Moon she made this great album Fortune’s Road. We’re offering it to you for £3.99! 60% OFF normal price. This offer is valid for One Week Only! Radio producer Steve Dieterich said of the album “Received this new album yesterday, and have already been through it 3 times! WOW!! I listen to 10+ new albums a week an “Fortune’s Road” got my attention right away. Very appealing.”

1. New Releases – includes Breabach, Stringjammer, Ronald Anderson Band
2. Legendary Scottish Bands: Ossian
3. The BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musican 2010 – The results
4. Snippets – Dick Gaughan Lifetime Achievement, Barbara Dickson, Valentine’s Cards
5. Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast – includes Breabach
6. Reviews – includes Alasdair Fraser and Jim Reid
7. Best Sellers: includes The Chair, Blair Douglas
8. Foot Stompin’ Scotch Whisky – Campbelltown Whisky
9. Discussion forum
10. Testimonials
11. Foot Stompin’ on Facebook and Twitter

1. New Releases (remember if you’ve bought from us before you get our loyalty 10% discount off everything)

A GREAT BAND!! The Desperate Battle Of The Birds – Breabach: Breabach with their dual bagpipes, fiddle, whistles  guitar and song are one of the most inventive and diverse bands to have emerged from the Scottish folk scene in recent years. From their foot-stomping reels to their heart-warming songs, there can be no doubt why this acclaimed quartet have become a household name for many in the folk and roots music scene. Their second CD underlines their award-winning credentials with superb individual and ensemble playing coupled with skilful arrangements. What a fab CD! The album title comes from a legendary pibroch of the same name, Scotland’s oldest form of pipe music. £11.70 (£12.99 for first time customers)

WAY OOT WEST!! A Far Away Place: Folk ‘n’ Roll:  High energy exuberant acoustic music from the Isle of Lewis in a folk-rock style played by three young and very talented musicians. Fiddle, guitar and even djembe blast out tunes and songs that you can’t help but dance to. £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

HI THE ROAD!! Long Road Home (EP) – Stringjammer: An interesting six track EP of attractive yet quirky songs featuring ex Shooglenifty bassist Conrad Ivitsky on lead vocals. Not afraid of mixing up styles and genres, the band fuse Latin rhythms, with occasional twists of the Blues, but always staying close to the origin of their Scottish roots, working together toform a unique and refreshingly heady blend of tunes and songs. Conrad Ivitsky – vocals and strings;  Diane de Carabus – song, guitar; Jenny Gardner – fiddle; Pete Garnett – melodica; Willy Molleson – percussion; Mike Molleson – percussion, vocal. £5.39 (£5.99 for first time customers)

HIGHLAND REFLECTIONS!! Ma Sgaoil – Bi Beo: A second CD from the Gaelic band forging unique styles to self-penned folk/pop/rock songs. The songs are a reflection of island and Highland life, from dancing to the beauty of love, nature, the elements and the harshness of isolation and abandonment. Many songs carry a messages of love, youthful joy and reflections of childhood memories of growing up in the Hebrides £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

WATER MUSIC!! Scapa Flow – Ronald Anderson Band: A great mix of dance tunes, mostly from Orkney & Shetland and all played with style and confidence by Ronald and his excellent band of fine musicians. Ronald Anderson (accordion), Erika Shearer (fiddle), Colin Wilson (drums), Margaret Scollay (piano), and Jim Halcrow (2nd accordion). Great variation and tempo. £11.25 (£12.50 for first time customers)

Remember you can also buy from Foot Stompin’ by phone – +44 (0)131 441 3135. We take all credit cards. If you like a friendly voice at the end of your phone we’re here!

2. Legendary Scottish Bands: Ossian

Groundbreaking band Ossian were one of Scotland’s best folk groups ever. They were a unique and very special band.  Their instruments included harp, fiddle, smallpipes, whistles, cittern, mandolin, guitar, piano, bodhran, vocals. Ossian -named after the legendary 3rd century Celtic Bard and folk hero, was formed in 1976 and fast became a popular focus for a whole generation of up and coming traditional musicians.
Mae McKenna (sister of Hugh McKenna of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band) was introduced to a band formed by Billy Jackson, George Jackson and John Martin who at that time called themselves Contraband The band recorded one album on the Transatlantic label in 1974 but when shortly after Mae left to start a solo career Contraband disbanded in the Spring of 1975. Within a couple of years, Billy, George and John had joined forces with guitarist/singer Billy Ross to become Ossian. They recorded two famous albums Ossian (1977) and St Kilda Wedding (1978). More changes when Billy Ross left for a solo career but singer/guitarst Tony Cuffe stepped  and the band took on their most distinctive sound to date. Ossian went on to record some very fine albums and achieve wide international acclaim. To celebrate 20 years since the group was formed, a memorable Ossian reunion took place at Celtic Connections in 1996 and featured the line-up Billy Jackson, George Jackson, Billy Ross, John Martin, Tony Cuffe and Iain MacDonald. Tony Cuffe died in 2001 and George Jackson in July 1998.
Billy Jackson continues a hugely sucessful solo career both as a composer and performer. John Martin went on to join Easy Club and latterly is enjoying international acclaim playing fiddle with the Tannahill Weavers.

Ossian’s CDs are fast becoming hard to find. Check out the two albums available at Foot Stompin’:
Ossian (first album from 1977) £11.69 (£12.99 for first time customers)
The Carrying Stream (1997) £11.69 (£12.99 for first time customers)

3. The BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musican 2010 – The Results

Six of Scotland’s finest young musicians battled it out on Sunday 31st January in the grand final of BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician Of The Year awards 2010 at Glasgow’s City Halls. Presented by Mary Ann Kennedy and broadcast live on BBC Radio Scotland as part of the Celtic Connections festival, the winner was announced as Daniel Thorpe from Inverurie who won the coveted title with fiddling performance.

Daniel was delighted with his musical accolade: “I am absolutely delighted and surprised. I’m still coming to terms with winning, I’ve got a permanent smile on my face and I think it’ll be there for the next three weeks!”

Read more about it…

If you are in the UK you can listen to the finals concert:
Watch video of the finals concert:

4. Snippets
Once in a lifetime!
Congratulations to Scots singer Dick Gaughan who was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards ceremony on Monday evening. Well deserved!

Another successful festival!
For the third year running,attendances at Celtic Connections Festival topped 100,000 with gross ticket sales reaching over £1 million.

Barbara Dickson Signs to Greentrax
We hear that Barbara Dickson OBE, the Dunfermline-born singer and actress has signed a contract for the Greentrax label and will record a new album for release in the autumn….

Great Photos!
Take a look at the pictyures taken by photographer Louis de Carlo of the Young Trads Birthday Bash at Celtic Connections Festival.

Alistair Hulett RIP
A talented singer, songwriter and internationalist, Alistair sadly passed away on 28th January.

Valentine Cards
Don’t forget to buy a Valentine’s Day card! Make your loved one feel even more special with a Foot Stompin’ card in Scots or Gaelic. £2.25 (£2.50 for first time customers)

Fancy learning some Gaelic song?
Glasgow fiddle workshop has started a Gaelic Song class, which runs every Monday night from 7.30 – 9.30 at Stow College. If you are a learner of the language, songs can be a great way of learning new vocabulary, increasing your proficiency in pronunciation and your confidence in using the language.

Breabach and Le Vent du Nord
Still a few chances to catch these two great bands on their current Scottish tour ..check where you can see them here

Hands up for Young Trad Ambassadors
A motion presented to the Scottish Parliament states that “the Parliament recognises the worth of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year competition’s finalists for musical excellence, as ambassadors for their nation’s culture and heritage and contributors to the wellbeing, both economic and social, of Scotland…” Excellent!

5. Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast
Here’s our February 2010 Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast. This podcast features all new releases. We start with the new CD from Breabach –  The Desperate Battle Of The Birds which is followed by Mairearad and Anna. Next is Conrad Ivitsky’s Stringjammer and then Ma Sgaoil (Unleashed) by Bi Beo. Then it’s Scapa Flow by Ronald Anderson Band and we finish off the programme with Folk ‘n’ Reel.

6. Reviews

CD: Cora: Skalder Customer Review 5 Stars
This debut CD is amazing, some fantastic compositions played beautifully. A nice variety of tunes,I find it very difficult to choose a favourite but would say listen out for Esson’s Croft…Elaine

CD: I Saw the Wild Geese Flee -Jim Reid. Customer Review 5 stars
One of my all time favorite CDs (I wore out my original cassette!) to sing along with…….NY Scot

CD: Portrait of a Fiddler – Alasdair Fraser. Customer Review 5 stars
Sweet, sweet music..What a player!…. Erin MacRae
7. Best Sellers

CD: Huinka – The Chair: What a fab band! The 8-strong ‘The Chair’ from Scotland’s Orkney Islands set the floor alight with their superb brand of high energy “stomp” music.

CD: Maidean Dubh’ an Donais (The Black Stick of the Devil): Dr Angus MacDonald is one of the famous piping MacDonald brothers of Glenuig and this CD comes 19 years after his acclaimed album A’ Sireadh Spòrs. It is great!

CD: Mairearad & Anna. The girls are both excellent and inventive players and this their debut as a duo is a demonstration of their abundant talents.

CD: Air Chall :Lost. Rachel Walker. This is the third release from the talented Gaelic singer and again one is struck by the beauty of her voice.

Book: Manran (Blair Douglas):  The first published collection of Blair’s compositions has so many of his brilliant tunes.

CD: A Shirt Of Silk Or Snow: Wendy Weatherby’s album of songs and cello is proving very popular.. and quite rightly so, it’s lovely!

8. Foot Stompin’ Scotch Whisky

With our partners Masters of Malt we’ve got two more fabulous whiskies for you to peruse. We’re going to feature Campbeltown. Campbeltown whiskies are a curious mix. Characteristics include a defined dryness with a pungency, smoke and a solid salinity. Imagine a cross between the Lowlands and the Western Highlands with a pinch of salt thrown in for good measure.

There was a time when Campbeltown was the most prolific of all of Scotland’s whisky regions. Around a century ago there were as many as twenty-eight distilleries in the geographically smallest of Scottish appellations. Today there are but three: the newly founded Mitchell’s Glengyle, though it will be a few more years ‘til any Glengyle single malt whisky is bottled, Glen Scotia and Springbank, a distillery which produces three very different whiskies using different levels of peat and still combination. Campbeltown sits on the Mull of Kintyre peninsula protruding from the western coast, ‘mist rolling in from the sea’. It is the proximity to the coast that gives the whisky its salty tang. Campbeltown single malts are often superb aperitifs.

Springbank 10 Year Old: The 10 year old from the Springbank distillery in Campbeltown, a mixture of both bourbon and sherry matured whisky. The peat is present and quite pungent with an earthen rootiness. Notes of exotic fruits and a hint of salinity. £28.95

Longrow 100 Proof: A 10 year old from the Springbank distillery, matured in bourbon casks before bottling at 100 proof, or 57% abv to you or I. The nose is of good body with a spirity sweetness and there are notes of marmalade and orange peel, hints of cut flowers and a vague iodine note. £40.95

9. Foot Stompin’ Discussion Forum
Our forum is a busy place! Feel free to join in.
Celtic Connections Highlights on BBC Two (Sunday)

Gaelic concert for Haiti

10. Testimonials

Wow! what speedy service!  the CDs arrived with today’s post.  Many thanks…..Kirsten

..You guys deserve any customer service awards going – you’re certainly doing it right…Many thanks again. AlyFinlayson

11 . Foot Stompin’ on Facebook and Twitter

Follow Foot Stompin’ on Facebook and Twitter and we’ll send you daily Scottish music updates
Foot Stompin’ has a presence on the social networking site Facebook. Come and pay us a visit!

If Twitter is more your scene you can visit us here

To unsubscribe from this newsletter by reply with Unsubscribe in the subject line.

Foot Stompin January 20th 2010 Newsletter

Rachel Walker LostAt the end of January the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award is 10 years old. To mark this occasion we giving away the 2007 Young Trad winner Catriona Watt’s beautiful Gaelic song CD for £3.99! 60% OFF normal price. This offer is valid for One Week Only! One of our customers said “Wonderful wonderful wonderful – not often that I’m at a loss for words! But it’s the best thing I’ve heard for a long time”

1. New Releases – includes Rachel Walker
2. The Selkirk Grace
3. Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame – Ray Fisher
4. BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Awards Finals and Birthday Bash
5. Snippets – BBC Radio Scotland Young Trad 10 Years old, Kate McGarrigle RIP
6. Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 52
7. Reviews – Iain MacInness, Mairearad Green
8. Discussion forum
9. Testimonials
10. Foot Stompin’ on Facebook and Twitter

1. New Releases (remember if you’ve bought from us before you get our loyalty 10% discount off everything)

LOST AND FOUND!! Air Chall (Lost) – Rachel Walker: This is the third CD from Gaelic singer Rachel and again one is struck by the beauty of her voice. The album is a mixture of new and traditional Gaelic songs, and a song in English. Rachel is joined by some fantastic guest musicians including Jenna Reid, Kathleen Boyle, Angus MacKenzie, Ewan Robertson, Alec Dalglish, Barry Caulfield, James Graham, Norrie MacIver and a special appearance from Malcolm Jones of Runrig. £11.25 (12.50 for first time customers)

IAN NOT ROBERT!! Back Tae Burns (Part 1) Book – Ian Burns: Another in the excellent Fiddle Frenzy series of tune books published by Shetland Arts. This one features the works of talented composer and multi-instrumentalist Ian Burns (1932-1995). Shetland Arts plan to publish Ian’s tunes over three books and the first one covers 15 tracks – that’s 33 of the tunes written and recorded by Ian on his cassettes Spootiskerry, Sunnyside and The Laebrak. In 2001, Ian’s daughter June got the tapes made into a wonderful double CD under the title ‘Back Tae Burns’, a tremendous collection of Shetland tunes written and played by Ian Burns. Many of these tunes like ‘Spootiskerry’ are now Shetland standards, but gain extra meaning when you hear them played by Ian multi-tracking on fiddle, guitar, bagpipes, piano, mandolin and drums. It is fine tribute that Shetland Arts are publishing Ian’s fabulous tunes and we look forward to also stocking volumes 2 and 3 when they become available later in 2010! Back Tae Burns (Part 1) Book: £8.09 (8.99 for first time customers). Back Tae Burns double CD:£12.59 (£13.99 for first time customers).

GIE’S A SANG!! Scottish Songs (book): A collection of more than 80 traditional compositions arranged for voice and piano. The songs and ballads in this book reflect the rich heritage of folk music in Scottish life. Includes An Eriskay Love Lilt, O Can Ye Sew Cushions, Willie’s Gane Tae Melville Castle, Ae Fond Kiss and many more. There’s also a handy glossary of the Scots words used in the songs. £4.49 (£4.99 for first time customers).

FAMILY BAND!! The Perpetual Horseshoe – Ingrid & Allan Henderson: The two most prominent members of the talented Henderson family have been playing for years in various outfits including Cliar and Blazin’ Fiddles. We came across this early CD of them from 1994 made just as their talents were beginning to blossom. Both very fine musicians, the selection of great traditional tunes married to their obvious natural musicianship makes this an excellent album. £11.25 (12.50 for first time customers)

A NICE WEE PRESENT!! Robert Burns – The Illustrated Poets (book): This attractive, dainty wee book has a lovely selection of Burns poetry accompanied by classic illustrations. 72 pages, hardcover with a dust jacket, it is an ideal and inexpensive little gift and makes an excellent introduction to Burns poetry. £3.49 (£3.99 for first time customers).

Remember that you can also buy from Foot Stompin’ over the phone. Call us on +44 (0)131 441 3135. We can take all credit cards.

2. The Selkirk Grace
Robert Burns was touring Galloway in 1794 with his friend John Syme. They stayed with the Earl of Selkirk at his family home at St Mary’s Isle in Kirkcudbright. Burns would entertain the family with his humour, poems, songs and conversation and before each meal he would give Scottish toasts. One evening he recited an old version of a traditional Scottish grace known as the Galloway Grace or the Covenanter’s Grace which he changed to his style of recital and writing. The guests were impressed by this new Scottish toast and Burns published it as the Selkirk Grace in their honour.

Some hae meat and canna eat,
and some wad eat that want it,
but we hae meat and we can eat,
and sae the Lord be thankit.

More Robert Burns related products:

3. Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame – Ray Fisher
Ray Fisher is the first addition to the 2010 Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame. As you will read below Ray has made an amazing contribution to Scottish traditional music.

Born in Glasgow, Ray Fisher is one of three out of a family of seven children whose musical talents have made the name Fisher synonymous with Scottish folk music. Ray, her brother Archie and sister Cilla have trodden their own distinct musical paths, each carving out an international reputation. Archie and Cilla did that from home bases in Scotland whereas Ray has spent most of her life in England. She has been a champion of Scots folk song over a generation and for a long time was the voice of Scots song in England and a constant at The National Festival.

In her early days Ray performed together with her brother Archie as a duo appearing regularly on television. When doing a folk club booking in Newcastle, Ray met and subsequently married Colin Ross, a member of the High Level Ranters, a decision that spelled the end of any lingering thoughts of her being a school teacher. Song would be her life, and so it has been.

The move to England turned her towards being essentially a solo performer and was a spur to concentrate on ‘the muckle sangs’, the big ballads which helped to establish her reputation as an artist.

Ray has been an essential link between an earlier generation of singers and the present. She is an effective tradition bearer, careful to acknowledge her sources and appreciative of what has been given to her. “I really treasured the material from earlier generations. Those people were giving us part of their heritage, part of themselves. It’s a way of saying, ‘we’ve been given a precious thing, here it is, and ‘thank you’.”….
Read the full text:

4. The BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2010 Finalists Concert and Birthday Bash

On Sunday 31st January the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award is 10 years old.. The Award exists to encourage young musicians to keep their tradition alive and to maximise their musical potential by the pursuit of a career in traditional music.This year’s final again takes place at the beautiful City Halls as part of Celtic Connections Festival. For every previous BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year – Gillian Frame, Emily Smith, Anna Massie, James Graham, Stuart Cassells, Shona Mooney, Catriona Watt, Ewan Robertson and Ruairidh Macmillan – winning the competition has been a major springboard to a professional career in music. The 2010 finals concert will be broadcast live between 5 and 8pm on BBC Radio Scotland.

Afterwards, at the Strathclyde Suite there’s a fantastic birthday party with as many of the finalists and winners from the past 10 years performing. Should be great fun!

BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award1010 Finalists Concert: 5pm. City Halls Glasgow Tickets: £12.50: Tel 0141 353 8000
BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Birthday Bash: 9pm Glasgow Royal Concert Hall Strathclyde Suite: Tickets £10.00 Tel 0141 353 8000
Tickets are also available to buy online

The six talented finalists in 2010 are:
Paddy Callaghan (accordion, harp)
Mairi Chaimbeul (harp)
Lorne MacDougall (pipes)
Hannah Phillips (harp)
Daniel Thorpe (fiddle)
Kyle Warren (pipes)

We wish them all the best of luck!

5. Snippets

More well-deserved recognition for BBC Alba
…the station has achieved eight programme nominations in several different award categories at the forthcoming Celtic Media Festival 2010 to be held in Ireland in April.

The Mither Tongue!
a Scottish Government survey about the Scots language shows 88% of Scots say the Scots language is an important part of our history and heritage; 86% agree it is a valuable part of our culture and identity; 73% say it contributes to our national cultural identity. 67% think it should be taught in schools. Fantastic!

Celtic Connections Scottish Songbook concert.
Here’s some great videos from Karine Polwart and her Celtic Connections Scottish Songbook concert. Well worth a look with many great performances and songs. Only available to viewers in UK.

Interesting reviews: Check out Foot Stompin’s collection of reviews from Celtic Connections.

Kate McGarrigle RIP
..of Canadian duo Kate & Anna McGarrigle has died. The sisters took part in the very first series of Transatlantic Sessions

Willie MacDonald RIP
Known affectionately as ‘Willie Barra’, he was a fine traditional singer and the first person to win the Traditional Gold Medal at the Mod

Good Luck to Mike Vass!
The young fiddler from Malinky has his ‘composition ” “Super String Theory” premiered at Celtic Connections Festival this weekend..

Fancy some FREE workshops?
An evening of song, instrument and foot stomping workshops with super bands Breabach & Le Vent du Nord is on offer and, it’s free! Takes place 1st February in Aberdeen. Breabach were nominated for Best Scottish Folk Band in the Scots Trad Music Awards and Le Vent du Nord is one of Quebec’s most-loved folk bands.

Don’t forget the ‘House of Song’
..led by Doris Rouge, it is one of the most successful features each year at Connections Festival. Unfortunately it has been inadvertantly missed out of the printed programme this year, but be assured it is taking place in the Festival Club every Friday Saturday and Sunday. All welcome!

6. Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 52
Here’s our mid January 2010 Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast. In this podcast we feature Gun Stad by Na h-Oganaich followed by duo Mairearad and Anna, We then have beautiful Gaelic singer Rachel Walker from her Air Chall :Lost CD. We seque into The Perpetual Horseshoe by Ingrid & Allan Henderson, then Maidean Dubh’ an Donais (The Black Stick of the Devil) by Dr Angus MacDonald. We finish off with Fraser Fifield’s Stereocanto.

7. Reviews
CD: Sealbh – Iain MacInness. Reviewed for The Scotsman.
A TIME-served past piper with the Tannahill Weavers and Ossian, as well as producer of Radio Scotland piping programmes, Iain MacInnes hasn’t made an album under his own name for a decade, so Sealbh – a Gaelic word suggesting inheritance and good fortune – is a welcome arrival. Steeped in Highland piping but also with a strong interest in the revival in Scottish bellows-blown pipes, MacInnes plays Highland, Border and small pipes here, with seasoned accompanists including fiddlers John Martin and Mairi Campbell, Ross Kennedy on bouzouki and guitar, and Simon Thoumire on concertina. Characterful repertoire ranges from some exuberant, Highland pipe-led jigs to a small pipes rendition of The Terror Time with David McGuinness providing brooding harpsichord backing. Other material, such as a set of old-fashioned quicksteps, is approached in an unhurried but considered manner, while a vivacious string of Lowland hornpipes culminates in a little number from one George Frideric Handel.

CD/DVD: Passing Places – Mairearad Green: Reviewed for The Scotsman
ONE from the heart, as Wester Ross piper and accordionist Mairearad Green does more than any tourist board to celebrate her native Coigach peninsula in her Celtic Connections New Voices commission, recorded at its premiere in January and exhibiting all the freshness and verve of live performance……On the DVD, Magnus Graham’s film, made as a backdrop for the premiere, sets the music against a cyclist’s-eye panorama of glowing scenery

CD: Gun Stad – Na h-Òganaich: Reviewed for Hi~Arts.
Na h-Òganaich (Gaelic for ‘the young ones’ often translated as ‘young blood’) formed early in 1971, following a concert in Dunoon ….The group recorded three albums for the Beltona Sword label, a branch of Decca Records – The Great Gaelic Sound of Na h-Òganaich (1972), Gael Force Three (1973) and Scot-Free (1975). Following several one-off performances over the past few years, the demand for Na h-Òganaich on Cd has grown. Rather than release the old albums on CD, the band decided to team up with Simple Mind’s Mick MacNeil and have produced a stunning album with new treatments of Na h-Òganaich classics.

8. Discussion forum
Celtic Connections Late Night Sessions
.. I have noticed that Celtic Connections has introduced a new event: CC Late Night Sessions, where you pay a fiver to listen to sessions. I can’t get rid of the feeling that the structure of folk music sessions is getting more and more similar to concerts….much more commodified, controlled, pre-planned events in pubs & at festivals alike.

“What is a Céilidh?” (Ceilidh)
I suppose it all depends on whether we’re talking about a “real” ceilidh…

9. Testimonials

Absolutely delighted with your service, got my first order from you within 24hours of ordering. very impressed and will recommend you to my friends. Well done. Rosemary Cowe

Just received my order (Finlay Macdonald CD) very speedy delivery. Thanks, Mariel Coates

10. Foot Stompin’ on Facebook and Twitter

Follow Foot Stompin’ on Facebook and Twitter and we’ll send you daily Scottish music updates
Foot Stompin’ has a presence on the social networking site Facebook. Come and pay us a visit!

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Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 50

A quick note to say I’ve just realised that the foot stompin podcast has reached 50 – woo hoo!!

You can listen to the current foot stompin podcast

Merry Christmas and a Happy NewYear and we will see you in January!

BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award 2010 Semi-Finalists Announced.

BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2010 - 2009 winner - Ruairidh Macmillan

BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2010 last years winner - Ruairidh Macmillan

The BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award is 10 years old this year and again we have a great lineup of young musicians for the semi-finals. From pipes and song to fiddle, accordion and harp we’ve got an excellent night of music ahead on Saturday 3rd October in South Lanarkshire.

The musicians are:
Steven Blake – pipes, piano (Livingston)
Patrick Callahan – accordion, harp (Glasgow)
Mairi Chaimbeul – clarsach, voice (Isle of Skye)
Shelley Clark – song (Sanquar)
Amy Corfield – fiddle (Paisley)
Andrew Gibb – accordion (Biggar)
Megan Henderson – fiddle, accordion (Fort William)
Emily Hoile – clarsach (Newcastle upon Tyne)
Lorne MacDougall – pipes, whistles (Carradale, Argyll)
Hannah Phillips – clarsach (Glasgow)
Daniel Thorpe – fiddle (Glasgow)
Kyle Warren – pipes (Helensburgh)

The semi-finalist concert on Saturday 3rd October is in Coulter Hall, Coulter starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are £8 and £6 conc. The concert is a culmination of a weekend of workshops where the young musicians learn about the music business from guest speakers.

Simon Thoumire, the event organiser said:
“It’s amazing to think that we have been going for 10 years and every year the quality of the musicians is superb. This will be another exciting night of music in South Lanarkshire.”

From this concert 6 musicians will win through to the final on 31st January, 2010 at Celtic Connections festival, Glasgow. This is an excellent opportunity for the young musicians to hear bands, meet influential people, play an amazing concert at the City Halls, Glasgow which is broadcast to a wide audience live on BBC Radio Scotland.

Last years winner Ruairidh MacMillian has had a busy year and is due to record his debut CD with Greentrax Recordings in the autumn.

Many thanks to our sponsors who are Scottish Arts Council, Celtic Connections Festival, Greentrax Recordings, Foot Stompin’ Scottish music, Musicians Union, Traditional Music and Song Association, and Watercolour Music. Please support them.

This Award exists to encourage young musicians to keep their tradition alive and to maximise their musical potential by the pursuit of a career in traditional music. The winner will be provided with high profile performance opportunities and the necessary tools and advice they require to launch a career in traditional music.


Note to the Editor
Contact Simon Thoumire Hands Up for Trad on 07775 854572,,
Previous BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award winners:
Gillian Frame, Emily Smith, Anna Massie, James Graham, Stuart Cassells, Shona Mooney, Catriona Watt, Ewan Robertson, Ruaridh Macmillan

Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 43 (mid August 2009)

Four Seasons in One Day by Alistair McCulloch

Four Seasons in One Day by Alistair McCulloch

Listen to the Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 43

Hi Folks,

Summertime’s always busy when the kids are off school. I always feel very guilty working with them in the house. Working at a computer is such a non sharing activity. You just look ahead and see nothing but the screen. Hanging out the washing, loading the dishwasher, hoovering are fine because they can follow you around playing games etc. I find this guilt the most incapacitating thing about home working. Making the podcast is always funny as you have to shut the office door as the TV is often blaring with some cartoon and often if you listen carefully to the chat in the show you can hear the telly in the distance! Also with the door shut you can’t see anything and the kids know this and use the time to hit each other which inevitably ends in tears and you have to open the door again and record with the noise. In my early podcasts I used to do them with one child sitting on my knee. I must find them for a laugh.

As I said on the podcast this weekend its the World Pipe band Championships in Glasgow. As usual there’s an amazing lineup of bands from all over the world (apart from Lahore as they’ve strangely been refused entry). It’s been broadcast live on BBC online which is brilliant. You can watch it here YOu can catch all the results on the Foot Stompin’ results page here

So to mark this fact I’ve featured two pipe bands on the podcast. We start off with Twelve Thousand Miles by Manawatu Scottish Pipe Band. This is a great sound and I love the way they’ve recorded the start of the track The Road To Lipetsk.

Alistair McCulloch is a great fiddler who performs in many different bands. This set of reels from his album Four Seasons In One Day is really kicking – he must of been knackered after playing Marco’s Reel/Jim Connor’s Welcome To Grand Central Station/Gibby Gray/Trip To Shanghai. I can’t stop thinking of Crowded House when I hear the album title though!

This next album is the fifth collection of Old Songs and Bothy Ballads to be recorded at the Fife Traditional Singing Weekend. The Old Songs & Bothy Ballads: Grand to be a Working Man album comes from the May 2008 singing weekend. I picked this track because I love community singing. I don’t think it gets any better when every voice in the room sings the chorus. Jimmy Hutchinson is one of Scotland’s top tradition bearers.

I don’t know anything about this next band unfortunately apart from it really swings and I would dance to it! Dance for Joy by Reel of Seven

Our second pipe band track. The thing that drew me to these Parade Marches is I used to play them every other weekend in the 65th Edinburgh Boys Brigade Pipe Band. I can still picture the rainy gala days and muddy spats. The track comes from the album Legacy by the Winnipeg Police Pipe Band

We finish up this podcast with Stramash by Colin Steele. Colin has been working on and performing this project for the last few years and it has gone down a storm. As you will hear from the track Steele’s Reels, it is a great fusion of traditional and jazz music featuring many of Scotland’s top musicians.

Just back from the Scottish fleadh

Just back from the Scottish fleadh in Motherwell. What an amazing amount of talent from our young musicians. Hosted by Taylor High School (surely the ugliest high school ever built – closer to a nuclear bunker than a school), there were hundreds of young people playing amazing tunes. I really enjoyed just entering the place. As you walked through the doors the music just hits you and as we walked the corridors to my son Charlie’s whistle competition, the quality of the musicianship in some of youngsters was breathtaking. The Ceoltas in Glasgow must be providing the majority of Scotland’s best young musicians. St Rochs school on a Tuesday night (where we go) is home to the Irish Ministrels branch. There are at least 120 young people from the age 5 to 20 there every Tuesday all playing the music. They all enjoy it but the thing I’ve noticed over the years of knowing these guys is that the kids all listen to traditional music. So many of the young folks I’ve taught over the years don’t listen to the music in their spare time which completely misses the point of playing traditional music. You’ll never be any good if you don’t listen it. You’ll never understand the nuances of what makes a great reel, song etc.

At St Rochs all the tutors are volunteers and they all work very hard for the kids. The main man is Frank McArdle. What a guy! He has given his life to teaching the kids music (and maths) for 30+ years. But more than that he has created and nurtured a generation of great musicians and invested in them a love and understanding of music. On a Tuesday night many of his original students are back with their own children and it all starts again with Frank leading the way. He needs an Award!

On another note Tinto Summer School is nearly full which is fantastic. If you would like more information check out

I heard an amazing piece of music yesterday by Arvo part. It was his setting of the Robert Burns poem My heart’s in the highlands. Check it out