Duncan Chisholm

It’s evening in Canada as I write this.  I’m sitting at my desk overlooking the park as the sun sets, a candle burning in the window, listening to Duncan Chisholm‘s CD ‘Live at Celtic Connections’ and specifically to his tune The Farley Bridge.

If I remember correctly, the first time I heard him perform this tune was at Caputh Church in Perthshire during Dougie MacLean‘s Perthshire Amber Festival in 2016.

I can’t begin to describe how magical a performance it was – the music, setting and location were sublime.

During the early months of Covid, Duncan Chisholm posted a tune every day on his Twitter Feed.  In a time of uncertainty, it was a wonderful way to start the day.

Please – please – check out his music.  You won’t be disappointed.  It is inspiring and truly – truly –  beautiful.

Ross Ainslie

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.)