Celtic Music & Pipebands
Celtic Music is one of the most identifiable and recognized aspects of Scottish heritage and culture. Even to the casual listener, Scottish music is easily recognized for its unique quality and style. It has a definite power and presence that demands attention. This is not music that can be ignored as "background" music. People find that they are either magnetically drawn to it or beat a hasty retreat away from it. This is Gaelic "soul" played with intense feeling and listened to as an emotional experience.
The Scots have adopted the bagpipes as symbols of Scottish Nationalism. They are such powerful symbols that after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745-46 the pipes were banned, as were tartan and the kilt, by the Hanoverian government in Britain. The government feared the stirring effect of the pipes on Scottish emotions. During the Proscription a first offense against the restrictions meant a six month prison sentence; those committing a second offense were liable to be transported to the colonies for seven years.
The Great Highland pipes consist of three drones (one bass and two tenor); a blowpipe with a valve to prevent the air from coming back out of the bag while the piper is taking a breath; a chanter with eight finger holes (nine notes), and a bag. Each drone has a single reed, like a clarinet, and the chanter has a double reed, very similar to that of an oboe. The piper plays by blowing in the blowpipe, inflating the bag enough to sound the three drones, then placing the bag under his arm and maintaining enough pressure to sound the chanter, on which the melody is played. The drones are tuned to “A” on the chanter scale, but two octaves lower.
When the tunes for a competition season are selected, the drum sergeant writes settings to accompany the tunes. Several bands in a competition could be playing the same selection of pipe tunes using the same notes and fingering but the drum sections would probably not sound alike. The snare drummers play beatings which are written to complement the pipe music. A Scottish snare drum is designed differently from other marching band snare drums - it has a snare immediately below the batter head (top). That, along with the use of new materials such as Kevlar heads, gives Scottish snare drums a distinctively crisp sound.
The tenor drummers are the drummers who are often seen flourishing their mallets. The tenor drums are tuned to the tenor drones.
The bass drum is tuned to the bass drone. The bass drummer is essentially the Band’s metronome. He maintains the tempo which the Drum or Pipe Major establishes.
Scotland and the other Celtic countries have produced an amazing amount of folk music over the past 500 years. The distinctive sound of this music underlines the cultural heritage shared by Scotland, Ireland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Galicia in Spain and the Brittany coast of France. Many tunes known for hundreds of years throughout these regions are distinguished only by different names, words and variations in performing styles. Within each region there are also tunes that are unique to that area alone.
Celtic folk music is an ethnic musical form that continues to have contemporary music written in the same style and feel as it was centuries ago.
The Saturday Night Celtic Concert!
Music starts at 6:30 PM in the Celtic Rock Tent and is included in the price of your Saturday admission ticket. All musical guests of the festival will be on hand to perform and entertain! Invite your friends who didn't come out to join you for the show - tickets at the door will be $10 for those not attending during the day.
Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas
The musical partnership between consummate performer Alasdair Fraser, "the Michael Jordan of Scottish fiddling", and brilliant Californian cellist Natalie Haas spans the full spectrum between intimate chamber music and ecstatic dance energy.
Over the last 18 years of creating a buzz at festivals and concert halls across the world, they have truly set the standard for fiddle and cello in traditional music. They continue to thrill audiences internationally with their virtuosic playing, their near-telepathic understanding and the joyful spontaneity and sheer physical presence of their music.
Seven Nations is a truly original and determined band that began in New York City, with members now hailing from California, to Toronto, to Florida. They have for years booked their own tours,and have had their own PBS and CNN specials. Throw away any preconceived notions you may have about Celtic music...this is a band that has invented its own sound and attracted a prodigious national and international following.
Seven Nations is not your father’s Celtic band. With a passionate, tender, and rollicking style that winningly veers from roots and folk to dance and fusion-rock, Seven Nations has earned a growing reputation as an adventurous band with a charismatic stage presence.
Ed Miller has been hailed as "one of the finest singers to come out of the Scottish Folksong Revival" and as "one of Scotland's best singing exports." Originally from Edinburgh, he has for many years been based in Austin, TX where he gained graduate degrees in Folklore and Geography at the University of Texas. Ed is available for concerts, clubs, house concerts, festivals, Highland Games and Burns Suppers, as well as for lectures and workshops and has recorded 9 CD's of Scottish songs.
Jil Chambless & Scooter Muse
Originally from Montgomery, AL, Jil Chambless now resides in Tuscaloosa and has played an active role in the Celtic music scene for more than 20 years.
As singer and flute and whistle player, Jil has completed many recording projects and performed at Celtic festivals and concerts across the US as well as in Canada, Scotland, and Israel with the band Henri’s Notions, guitarist Scooter Muse, Scottish singer Ed Miller, Scottish fiddler John Taylor, the band Vulcan Eejits!, the Vogt Family Contra Band, and others. Jil brings to any audience a wonderful listening experience from haunting ballads and upbeat songs to toe-tapping tunes with a smooth delivery that never fails to bring both smiles and tears in every performance.
A long time guitar player, 1968 marked a big change in the music Scooter Muse had digested during the folk years. Bonnie and Clyde had a banjo on the soundtrack – Earl Scruggs’ Foggy Mt. Breakdown – and from that point on he never looked back.
Finally, after the summer of 1972, with the sound of Dueling Banjos on any folkie’s mind, Scooter purchased his first banjo, took a few lessons – and almost 40 years later has been fortunate to win countless banjo competitions throughout the southeast including the Tennessee Valley Championships 8 times.
He has played banjo with bluegrass legends, Claire Lynch, Vassar Clements and a host of others as well as handling first call banjo duties for the world famous Muscle Shoals, Alabama recording industry. While at the Briarfield Bluegrass Festival in Alabama in the early 80’s, another life-changer for him was experiencing the progressive Celtic sounds of a great band, Touchstone. That show launched him into the world of Celtic music on banjo, and ultimately, moving into the world of open tunings on the guitar. In the 90’s he founded the Full Moon Ensemble, who achieved national recognition, toured the US and Canada as well as Scotland and recorded 5 critically acclaimed CDs. After a successful 8 year run, the FME went their separate ways and Scooter was drafted as the guitar player for the longest running Celtic band in the south, Henri’s Notions, based in Tuscaloosa, AL for over 30 years. The Notions consistently play festivals, concerts and other venues throughout the southeast and have appeared with such great artists as Bob Dylan, Paddy Obrien, Patrick Street, Brian McNeill and countless others.
In 2005, Scooter recorded his first solo guitar CD, Saddell Abbey, with all original material as well as original music set to the poetry of Robert Burns.
Searson has toured for well over a decade and have the confidence and drive to continue with their musical careers more than ever before. Sisters, Erin and Colleen Searson have developed their own original style of high energy fiddling, passionate vocals and step dancing.
The sisters perform on a variety of instruments throughout their live show which includes Colleen on fiddle, vocals and Ottawa Valley Step Dancing while Erin performs on piano, vocals, Ottawa Valley Step Dancing and tenor guitar. Rounding out the live show is bass/guitar player Fraser Gauthier, who has studied at Humber College and Capilano University, gradually gravitating towards roots music. Dave MacDougall is a drummer and percussionist who brings creativity and groove to a variety of styles of music.