As an emigrant from Scotland, and with Burns Night almost upon us (January 25th), it can be all too easy to get caught up in twee images of Scotland and its music. You know what I mean – pipers marching through the glens, kilts a-swinging, belting out Scotland the Brave.
And while there is definitely a place for all that, my visit back to Scotland for The Perthshire Amber Festival last October, really opened my eyes to the vibrant contemporary Folk Scene that currently exists in Scotland. Especially in the world of piping, where I was introduced to the music of Ross Ainslie.
What can I say apart from – What a musician! With his tattoos, long hair and ripped jeans, he is definitely not your traditional image of a piper.
Unfortunately, none on the photos I took at his concert turned out, but here’s a wonderful clip of him performing from Youtube. Check it out. The energy of the music is intoxicating and exciting.
But Ainslie can also play beautiful, mellow and traditional. Below, you can hear him playing on my most favourite song, Caledonia. (at 2mins 46secs and 4 mins 22secs.)
He really is such a wonderful versatile musician. What I find exciting, and very reassuring, is that he’s only one of a growing number of vibrant young musicians from Scotland who’re taking ‘traditional’ music and giving it a fantastic new twist!
You are absolutely right. Traditional music is in very safe hands!