So, for all of last week I was in the land of Piping Live. Myself and a large portion of the world’s Highland pipers were in town for the festival and/or the World Pipe Band Championships which is on every August in Glasgow and brings more money to the city than any other single weekend in the year! There is plenty to keep folk entertained.
This year was a little different for me. I was invited to host the late night music at Piping Live’s festival club upstairs in the National Piping Centre – Cool gig to get. I decided to open each night with a 2/4 march and I had some scribblings of information on the acts involved but, the thing that really struck me was how easy it is to talk a load of crap when there is a mic in your hand! That was perhaps the biggest challenge. Having said that, I enjoyed scaling it back each time and hopefully found my swing by the Friday night. Each night had 3 to 4 acts and it was totally brilliant to hear these pipe-based acts young and old, men and women, from near and far. They each delivered music with a flair for tradition as well as brilliant skill and musicianship.
I was taken by the diversity of people that attended the late nights, and much of my time off-stage was spent listening to music but also meeting new friends and catching up with old ones. There is a real comradery at this piping festival. Pipers from across the globe throw around ideas for new music, have a pint, get excited about old music, have a few more pints, complain about current musical woes and eventually the drams come out and there are confessions what they would “really like to hear next” from the piping community. It is a great platform where these kind of discussions can occur and in some way, take root.
The week was full of musical inspiration for me with Tryst supporting Flook on the Monday night, acts at the Festival Club, a studio rehearsal between Breabach and Beolach on the Wednesday (more to come on that collaboration), an outdoor session on the Friday, The Worlds on the Saturday and to cap it all off, a performance with the legendary songwriter Dougie Maclean on the Sunday evening in Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. I honestly feel truly blessed to be involved in the Scottish folk and trad scene in Scotland. It amazes me.
Here is a video clip from our Tryst show earlier last week – hopefully for your enjoyment. Thanks to Megan Kenney for the video footage!