Calum is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, tutor and composer based in Glasgow, UK. He is perhaps best known as a founding member of the award winning folk band Breabach but has additionally written, performed and toured with groups such as Man’s Ruin, The Grit Orchestra, The Unusual Suspects, Seudan and Tryst.
Calum is a founding member of bagpipe-led folk band Breabach. The contemporary ‘trad music’ band have been increasingly successful on the British folk and world music scenes since forming in 2003. The band have been twice nominated for ‘Best Band’ at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and in December 2016 were awarded ‘Folk Band of the Year’ as well as ‘Album of the Year’ at the Scots Trad Music Awards. Breabach are presently gearing up for the launch of their 6th studio album ‘Frenzy of the Meeting’ set for release in October 2018
In 2014 Calum acted as musical director for the Boomerang Project involving Breabach alongside a cast of indigenous Australian aboriginal and New Zealand Maori performers as part of the Commonwealth Games which were held in Glasgow. The event was performed at Womadelaide (NZ), The Sydney Opera House (AUS) and Glasgow Green in celebration of the Games. The Boomerang project additionally received a nomination for event of the year in 2014 at the Say Awards.
Breabach have had the privilege to work with some of Britain’s most revered exponents of traditional music including Ali Bain and Phil Cunningham, Capercaillie, Greg Lawson, The Peatbog Faeries, Blazing Fiddles, Dougie Maclean and international acts such as Moana and the Tribe, Le Vent Du Nord, The Black Arm Band, Horomona Horo and Tareq Al Nasser’s Rum Group from Jordan.
Calum wrote and released his debut solo album of cross-genre celtic funk music in early 2010 entitled ‘Man’s Ruin’, and is now regularly writing/performing his folk -funk (or Flunk) crossover music with the group. Man’s Ruin released a follow-up album ‘Health and Safety’ in 2012 and an E.P. entitled ‘Working for the Man’ in 2014. Man’s Ruin comprise five of Scotland’s leading exponents of experimental folk music. These cross-genre folk rebels have earned international recognition for their soul-twisting interpretations of modern folk and roots music on the contemporary stage. Whether it be folk, funk, country, rock or electronica they seamlessly blend styles through careful and considered musical craft work. The resulting effect is a semi-acoustic fireball of funk-flavoured folk.
The Big Music Society
Calum co-founded the Big Music Society with John Mulhearn in late 2014. The organisation seeks to promote and present the ancient musical art form of ceól mòr on the modern concert stage with reimagined delivery of the material. The organisation’s first concert invited soloists Duncan Grant and Murray Henderson to present ideas in collaboration with a specially formed string ensemble at the National Piping Centre in March 2015. Since this first show there has been a restaging of the night at Piping Live and one of the Murray Henderson arrangements was booked by Simon Thoumire to be performed at Na Trads for BBC Alba in December 2015 in it’s in entirety. Other shows organised by the Big Music Society in 2015 were ‘Seinn air a’ Phíob’ which invited Allan Macdonald, Rona Lightfoot and Kenna Campbell to explore the connections between ceól mòr and Gaelic song in concert at St. Andrews in the Square. Celtic Connections 2016 provided a stage for the third, and highly contrasting, show which took elements of jazz and world music influence combining them with the compositional artform of ceól mòr showcasing the talents of Fraser Fifield (Scotland) and Matthew Welch (USA).
Calum is currently working with Gaelic supergroup Mànran on their forthcoming studio album – expected 2021.
In July 2019 Calum co-organised and taught as part of a brand new event Glasgow School of Folk. The event was a massive success in it’s first year and the team including Adam Sutherland, John Somerville and Laura-Beth Salter will be announcing plans for 2020 later this year. GSoF was adapted to run in 2020 as an online Summer school and the forthcoming online Winter event has sold out for December 2020.
Calum acted as specialist external assessor for bagpipe degree recitals at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland for four years (2016-2019).
Calum has been teaching bagpipes and whistle for the University of Highlands and Islands distanced learning course (2014-present)
Calum is currently the visiting bagpipe tutor at Newcastle University as part of their folk degree program (2013-present).
Calum is a seasonal tutor for Scotland’s Gaelic teaching festivals – or feisean – (2003-present).
Calum has tuturored at The Edinburgh Youth Gathering and at ‘The Gaitherin’ – based in Aberdeenshire. These courses take a more focused look at Scots traditional music rather than Gaelic, but also offer time to more contemporary influences during the teaching week.
Calum led evening piping classes at the National Piping Centre between 2001 and 2004 as well as taking part as a tutor for some of their spring and summer schools.
Calum has worked alongside Donald Shaw on his compositional productions of ‘Harvest’ and ‘Argyll Rhapsody’ as a tutor and performer on bagpipes and whistle.
Assessing and Judging Experience
Calum was the external specialist assessor for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s BMus piping department for 4 years.
Calum organised and co-hosted the Delegates Late Night Showcase Bar for Showcase Scotland in 2014 and 2015 during Celtic Connections. He has since been employed as a guest host for the Celtic Connections Late Night Sessions in The Drygate, Glasgow.
Calum sat on the judging panel for the BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year competition in 2009.
Current Bands and Projects: Man’s Ruin, Breabach, The Grit Orchestra, The Unusual Suspects, Seudan, RTK9000 and the Knobsquad and Saxon Pop.