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

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 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 30

Listen to the Foot Stompin\' Free Scottish Music Podcast No 30

Salsa Celtica - El Camino

Salsa Celtica - El Camino

In preparing this podcast I had two things in my mind – Celtic Connections and Robert Burns 250th birthday. I started of by choosing Salsa Celtica who play the Old Fruitmarket on the 24th January. I’ve always loved the bands fusion of latin and celtic. Their stage show really works and their energy filters through to the audience. They’re accompanied on the night by the Long Notes, a band featuring Glasgow’s Jamie Smith who was a finalist in the 2002 final of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award. The 2009 event is in the City Halls at 5pm on Sunday 1st February. If you can’t make it along it is also going out live on BBC Radio Scotland.

Next up is Rod Paterson. I’ve loved Rod’s singing since hearing him first in the Easy Club. As an aside I first heard the Easy Club on Radio Scotland’s Travelling Folk in the eighties. I remember sitting listening to the radio ‘taping’ the tracks I liked and the Easy Club came on with the title track of their first album. I was bowled over by their swing, arrangements and tunes and from that minute I was set apon the musical path I still foraging today. Amazing. Anyway I love Rod’s singing – he has such a rich smooth voice and his treatment of Burns is tops.

The next track is neither Robert Burns or Celtic Connections but a track I was set on programming in our last podcast. It features Shetland fiddler Debbie Scott and legend Peerie Willie Johnston and The Selkie’s Song is a re-release from 1985. It is amazing to hear Willie playing with his much vaunted style. It’s a swinging track and it’s great to hear both musicians in tandem with each other.

Our next Burns track is from Sheena Wellington. This is Sheena’s version of Ae Fond Kiss from her Hamely Fare album. This was the CD that was released with Sheena’s version of A Man’s A Man (For A’ That) that she sang at the opening ofthe Scottish Parliament in 1999.

The next track is from Luke Plumb and James Mackintosh’s new CD A Splendid Notion. I was listening to some of the new releases the other day and this one jumped out at me. I really like ‘raw’ albums where musicians do what they do without much else and this is one of them. The whole album is simply mandolin and percussion. I think this is a risk worth taking for musicians as it really bares the soul with no room to hide. Well done to Luke and James.

Our final track is from the Battlefield Band’s Home is Where the Van Is. This is one of the most exciting concerts for me at Celtic Connections. It is part of the festivals ‘Classic Album’ series and they bring together the original band lineup to perform. This was the first piece of music I ever bought myself. I got the cassette from the old Rae Macintosh music shop in Edinburgh. We had Silly Wizard and Jimmy Shand in the house but this was the first endeavour with my pocket money. I didn’t really like it a first. It was very different to the Silly Wizard LPs in the house. I grew to love it though and still listen to it frequently.

We need more young folks!

Foot Stompin Scottish Music

Foot Stompin' Scottish Music

When I look at the business of Scottish trad/folk music I often worry. I do this because a lot of the non-performance industry (by this I mean record company owners, publishers etc not musicians) are run by folks in their 60s and older. From a point of view many of our suppliers are in this age range. They produce a lot of very valuable music and books which are in danger of getting lost if they stop. Maybe their interest is fueled due to their age and experience but at the same time they are keeping the tradition alive and available. (I am aware that trad music is not necessarily big bucks business but important non the less.)

We need to encourage more of our young people to get involved in this side of the business. How do we do this or should we rely on them to show an interest? I would love to see more folks taking up the mantel of publishing music. Highland Music Trust, Hardie Press and Kerr’s have done wonderful jobs in publishing with their vast array of books but there are still lots of collections out there. The record industry also needs people to get involved. Also more websites promoting Scottish music trying to make viable business’s. New technologies are appearing all the time and we need to move with them and young people are the best at that.

In the end you cannot force people to do things but the time is coming when we are going to need a new generation to get involved and I suppose that is now. Let’s do it!

Traditional Music And Image

Red Hot Chilli Pipers Blast Live CD

Red Hot Chilli Pipers Blast Live CD

I’ve just been watching BBC ALBA and the programme Rapal. It looks at the current contemporary Scottish music scene. THe first band on it Theatre Fall were great, full of attitude and personality. It made think of the difference between traditional musicians and ‘pop’. Would we get our ideas over to the public (and sell more CDs) if our bands were to take more chances image wise and run about the stage more (!)? Whenever you see the top pop bands they look original, feel confident on the stage, not afraid to move all over it. (I say this as someone who sits rigid on the stage with a concertina on my knee and have no plan on changing this.)

The Red Hot Chilli Pipers do all this very well but have divided the scene in two – some like them some hate them! Can trad musicians do this without affecting the quality of their music? Do we need to sit down or stand still to create quality trad music? The Peatbog Faeries move around a bit and now defunct Croft No. 5 were great at it still making great music.

It would be good to see more bands trying out these ideas however would they alienate the trad music community by doing this? I suppose they should take the chance!

Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No. 25 Scottish Fiddle feature

Foot Stompin Scottish Music - Filska

Foot Stompin' Scottish Music - Filska

Listen to the Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast

The first 2 weeks of October have just rushed by! It’s been a busy time with the semi-finals of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician. We had a great time a an excellent concert. Our curry party afterwards was good as well. The six finalists are:

Adam Holmes – guitar, song (Edinburgh)
Lorne MacDougall – pipes, whistle (Carradale, Argyll)
Ruairidh Macmillan – fiddle (Nairn)
Kenneth Nicolson – Gaelic song (Lochs, Isle of Lewis)
Jack Smedley – fiddle (Buckie, Banffshire)
Daniel Thorpe – fiddle (Inverurie)

These guys (and yes they are all male!) will go through to the finals on the 1st February at the prestigeous Celtic Connections festival. They will play a very different music stage to the one they played in Coulter. It is much larger and will sound completely different to play. Also the fact of it being a final will make them have to think about it differently.

I was also in Cardiff last week in an exciting development for our Distil project. Dave Francis and I have been funded to develop our Distil project for Welsh traditional musicians. Our first residential event happens in Snowdonia in February. I’ll keep the blog addressed with developments.

I’ve also managed to update our Foot Stompin’ YouTube page with three new videos. I bought a Flip video camera after a great discussion on the Foot Stompin’ forum. I’m using to film as many Scottish musicians as I can get to. I started off with a new film of myself playing The Bee’s Wing Hornpipe. I felt like going a bit mad at the end and tried to emulate this in the video editing. Some like it – some screw there face up! I’ve also filmed some brilliant fiddling from Glasgow’s Katie Boyle and great pianoing from Shetland’s Harris Playfair.

Back to the podcast. I wanted to do a fiddle feature for this edition as I just love the instrument. I started off with Jenna Reid’s band Filska. Their A Thousand Miles Away CD came out a few years back on Foot Stompin’ This track show off the amazing Shetland technique.

I followed this with a track of Shona Mooney’s brilliant album Heartsease. This is easily for me the most original fiddle album to come out in years. Her material selection is great and features many reels and slower pieces from the Scottish Borders. The thing that made this album stand out is the thought that goes into the arrangements and Shona’s skill to try out new ideas.

No fiddle podcast would be complete without the music of Perthshire’s Neil Gow. Neil Gow is one of the classic tune writers of all time. He lived in the 18th century and published many tune books. The track is played by Pete Clark, a beautiful fiddler whose has concentrated on this particular style of playing.

We next interview Jenny Wrigley. I’ve known Jennifer (and her sister Hazel) for years as we used to play together in Edinburgh. Jennifer is an amazing player with great tone and technique. She is also an excellent tune writer and has added many new tunes to her Orkney tradition. In the interview she explains the Orkney style. I follow this with a track from her last album Skyran.

I finish the podcast with a track from Allan Henderson. Estb. 1976 CD came out a few years back and I’ve always loved it. I really like Allan’s highland style solo and with Blazin’ Fiddles. I remember travelling to Canada with Allan and his younger sister Ingrid Henderson. Ingrid had just won the Radio 2 Young Trad Award in 1990 and part of her prize was to go to Vancouver Folk Festival. They were great players even then but most of all I remember the whole family (including Mum and Dad) all dressed in blue shell suits for the trip. Oh memories…

MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards open for nominations

MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards

MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards

Hands up for Trad and their panel of industry judges are once again on the lookout for the very best in  traditional music for this year’s MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards.  Since 2003, Hands up for Trad have been celebrating the best in Scottish traditional music from across the country and are proud to announce that in a new partnership for 2008, this year’s awards ceremony will be broadcast by BBC ALBA the new Gaelic television channel, a partnership between MG ALBA and BBC.

Between the first and 17 of October anyone can nominate via the website;  The 16 categories include Best Gaelic Singer, Best Live Act, and Best Up and Coming Artist [see appendix for details of all categories].  Nominations will then be shortlisted by the panel made up of our partners from record labels to venue owners and other industry representatives.  From November 3rd, the vote goes back to the public who have the final say on who will sweep up at this year’s award which is held on December 6th at The Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow.

The 2007 event was held in Fort William and saw Julie Fowlis take 2 awards including Best album.  Previous winners have included Karine Polwart and the Peatbog Faeries who won Best Live Act in 2005.

To celebrate the awards, Hands up for Trad will also be hosting the annual ‘Scots Trad Music Awards Spectacular Ceilidh’ which takes place on December 5th also at The Old Fruitmarket.  In the perfect start to the Christmas calendar, The Occasionals will provide the soundtrack as you Strip the Willow in the beautiful venue at the heart of Glasgow’s Merchant City. 

Simon Thoumire, Director of Hands up For Trad said ‘ We’re looking forward to celebrating the Scottish traditional music scene again this year at what has become a real highlight of the music calendar and are very excited that for the first time the awards will be televised by our new partner MG ALBA. We’re proud to be able to give the public the opportunity to have their say in who deserves recognition for their work in the past year and look forward to celebrating Trad at the Ceilidh and the Awards on December 5th and 6th.’

Donald Campbell, Chief Executive of MG ALBA said “The Scottish traditional music scene is bursting with new and emerging talent and that is something that fits perfectly with our vision for Gaelic television. We know our audiences will greatly appreciate the opportunity to participate in and view the awards on BBC ALBA”

Make your nominations at where you can find details on all the categories and criteria for each award

For further information on Hands up for Trad please contact;
Jenny Mungall | Material |  0141 204 7970  |  07813 886 448   |

For information on MG ALBA please contact
Murdo Morrison | MG ALBA |  01851 705550  |  07525 893367  |
5 December | Scots Trad Music Awards Spectacular Ceilidh | Old Fruitmarket | £8 (£6 conc)

Tickets are available for the ceilidh from Old Fruitmarket box office  +44 [0] 141 353 8000 

6   December | MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards | Old Fruitmarket
Ticket arrangements for the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards Ceremony and Gala Concert on Saturday 6th December are still being finalised. There will also be a late-night concert at the Festival Club with the band Session A9.  Register for updates at

20 December | MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards | Broadcast on BBC ALBA

MG ALBA is the operating name of Seirbheis nam Meadhanan Gàidhlig (Gaelic Media Service). Find out more at

BBC ALBA is a partnership between MG ALBA and the BBC. Further information is available from or

Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 24

Listen to Foot Stompin’ Free Scottish Music Podcast No 24

The Curer - Deoch n DorusI’ve enjoyed putting together the Foot Stompin’ October podcast. I’ve started the show with Wolfstone, a folk rock band who have been around for a few years now. I first met them properly when my band Keep it up toured Canadian festivals at the same time as them. I used to think we were mental until I met them. They rocked the festival circuit and had everybody up dancing. This new album Terra Firma is great.

The next band Malinky is full of young musicians but they are definitely one of the older bands on the scene. Since their Danny Award winning performance and excellent debut album Last Leaves they have gone through a few lineups but consistently deliver very stong albums and performances. The new album Flowers & Iron sounds like it’s going to do well.

Our next record is from Deoch ‘n’ Dorus. I don’t know too much about this band although the accordion player Stuart Cameron was in the very first BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award in 2000. They’re all great players and I love the sound they make.

I’ve known our next artist Ishbel McCaskill for years but I had never heard this track before tonight. An Teid Thu Leam A Mhairi (Will You Go With Me Mary?) is a really beautiful song. The performance and vocal harmonies make it for me.

As i say in the broadcast I chose the next piece of music because of the tune – The Dawning of the Day. Of course St Laurence O’Tool are an amazing band with lots of championships to their name but in this case they happen to be playing a tune that my little boy Charlie is learning on the whistle. We’re having a great time with him and my wife and I are enjoying our evenings listening to him practice and playing along with him.

I finish up this broadcast with a track from my youth. Anthem for Common Man came out in the eighties and received a bit of a slagging for its use of a drum machine but I loved it at the time and still do. The band are still going strong touring the world but I still hark back to this album and also Home is Where the Van Is. I love the intro to ‘The Four Minute Warning’, I’ve played all the tunes in the set at some point.

I hope you enjoy it. Subscribe to our newsletter for more information.

Where have all the bands gone?

Well what I actually mean is where have all the semi-pro bands gone? When I started playing in Scottish folk band Seannachie in 1987 the scene seemed to be full of semi-pro bands. We all had jobs and we played at night in the folk clubs and at festivals – mainly folk clubs. To me there seemed to be a lot of bands like this at the time with not so many full time outfits. The music was just as good as the pros just I suppose we played with a safety net. Times seem to be reversed and the caption ‘semi-pro’ (I think) now is a word for amateur. Do these bands still exist and am I missing them? When you look at the list of folk club entertainers there seem to be more solo artists/duos/trios than anything else.

This is turning around in my head as I write this. Maybe I’m wondering ‘where have all the bands gone?’ As I write this I’m struggling to think of lots of bands that are currently out there on the scene. I don’t think there is the money out there to pay medium or large fees that are required to book a band. A typical folk club will pay max £200 which does not go a long way event before deducting travel expenses.

It’s interesting when I discuss Scottish music with people because we’re always talking about the buzz around at the moment. How everyone has a feeling of Scottishness and the music is thriving. However when you get to the nitty gritty of it there is not enough gigs around to make a proper living. Musicians are moving more and more into teaching as that is where the cash is. Are we going to have a catch 22 situtation with lots of kids being able to play the music but not being able to hear it live where it is at its best.

What’s the answer? How do we fight our case in a busy world full of 24hr tv and Wiis?  In the end musicians play music because they like performing in front of an audience. The buzz and the sharing always does it for me. We need gigs and lots of them. How are we going to get them? I think greater investment in the cultural sector would be a start. In countries like Germany and France there are always festivals on the weekends. The promotors are always sponsored by the goverment (or local goverment). Free concerts always work for me where the public can walk in and experience something new.

I seem to have taken on a big subject and I don’t have all the answers… We do need more gigs as that is how we will get more bands who will help send out the message about Scottish music.