Music comes in a large variety of forms. First of all there are
the various Summer Shows which you will find throughout Scotland,
mostly aimed at tourist coach parties. These shows host a predominance
of tartan, bagpipes, highland dancing and songs of hills and heather
- essentially the image many tourists have of Scotland. They follow
a successful recipe made famous by the television series 'The
White Heather Club' aired in the 1960s.
dancing is your pleasure then there are several choices from the
more formal Scottish Country Dance Societies to the less formal
Ceilidh Dancing. The third popular form in Scotland is highland
dancing which is essentially a solo or group performance. There
are hundreds if not thousands of Country Dance societies throughout
the world many of which have their own web-site. Scottish Country
Dancers tend to prefer music played to a strict tempo - bands
such as the world famous Jimmy Shand, Jim Johnstone, John Ellis
to name but a few. Bands invariably comprise of two accordions,
fiddle, piano, bass and drums. These bands also perform at the
vibrant 'Accordion and Fiddle Club' scene throughout Scotland.
in popularity is the 'ceilidh dance' a version where formality
goes out of the window. A dance caller shouts out instructions
to experienced dancers and beginners. The main purpose is enjoyment,
dancing ability is irrelevant. Bands comprise of various line-ups
ranging from the more sedate "Scottish Country Dance Band"
formula to a full blown rock rhythm backing Celtic melodies. Bands
such as The Benachally Ceilidh Band, Craigenroan Ceilidh Band,
Cutting Edge, The Occasionals and Alasdair MacCuish & Black
Rose Ceilidh Band are amongst the most popular.
Scottish folk circuit is where many Scots would look for a real
cultural night out. It is alive and vibrant, it is not just about
tradition. There are many contemporary song-writers as well as
traditionalists. Artists such as Dougie MacLean, Eric Bogle, Archie
Fisher, Hamish Imlach, Battlefield Band, Dick Gaughan, Tannahill
Weavers, Phil Cunningham, Aly Bain have made a lucrative living
playing to world-wide audiences. Another large part of the
folk circuit is the 'folk festival'. Folk festivals comprise
of a mixture of concerts, ceilidhs and workshops where young and
learner musicians can seek tuition from some of Scotland's
top folk artists.
Highland bagpipe music forms another huge attraction to Scottish
visitors throughout the summer months. There are hundreds of pipe
bands throughout Scotland and indeed there are hundreds more throughout
the world. Pipe bands can be seen parading down town high streets
or through highland games events - this is a sight to behold.
Many of Scotland's most popular contemporary groups feature
the great Scottish Highland Bagpipe e.g. The Battlefield Band,
Wolfstone and Ceolbeg.
Orchestras also have their place. The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra
is possible the name most associated with this form of music but
lesser orchestras in Kirriemuir, Elgin and Fochabers have been
existence for decades.
there is Gaelic music, which again falls into two categories,
the formal and the less so. The formal consists of gaelic choirs
up and down the country with the mega event being the national
Mod once a year. The less formal are essentially concert hall
based and consist of groups like Runrig, Capercaillie, Clan na
Now the above are guidelines, there is considerable overlap from
one genre to the other. The term Celtic music covers several of
them and indeed in some branches exchange with Irish artistes
is commonplace, indeed several groups are part Irish part Scots
e.g., Capercaillie, Waterboys, Relativity.
you would like to hear some great Scottish music on a highly personalized
small group tour of my native Scotland please e-mail me:
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