2017 is GO!

So that's us at the end of the year already - feels like just a few weeks ago myself and the Tannies were having great fun at the "Just for Gordon" concert at Celtic Connections.  Of course Celtic Connections is the next thing in the new year and the new project I'm involved with, Tryst, will be putting on a concert with I think is going to be great.  More on that later, but first - here's some videos from the Gordon concert which have been released by the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust - it's great to have them as a keepsake.

You can read a bit more about that concert in the last blog as well as see the first video they released.

And here's the big project coming up early 2017 - "Tryst" - The latest pioneering project from Calum MacCrimmon and John Mulhearn’s Big Music Society sees ten contemporary piper/composer/producers commissioned to write new music in the spirit of their instrument’s classical, often ceremonial or commemorative, Ceòl Mòr tradition. Compositions from MacCrimmon, Mulhearn, Finlay MacDonald, Rory Campbell, Ross Ainslie, Ali Hutton, Steven Blake, Lorne MacDougall, James Duncan Mackenzie and Mairearad Green will variously enlist the whole ensemble on additional pipes, instruments and voices.

We've been rehearsing hard - there's everything in there - new notes, unusual time signatures, dynamics - I don't want to spoil but I think it's going to be great!  Here is the set we did at the 2016 Scots Trad Music Awards in Dundee a few weeks ago.

In the last few months some of the sessions I did in the Summer came to fruition - including the tracks from Susan Boyle's new alum - "A Wonderful World".  I'm so chuffed to be part of another of her albums, the musicianship and love in making it are second to none.  The album was produced by Steve Anderson and Cliff Masterson - two complete legends who were totally keen to get some subtle Celtic flavours throughout the album.  Oh, and of course an entire pipe band for "Mull of Kintyre" - a tune I was excited to record growing up in the area and learning through the original band on Paul McCartney's recording!  Here's a track that's one of my favourites - "Angels" - I tried to get the Red Hot Chilli Pipers to do this on every album since Bagrock to the Masses, but they were never up for it!

And back in November, the session I did for ITV's "Thunderbirds are Go" also aired.  The music for this is written by Ben and Nick Foster - two brothers which is appropriate for this series and two total musical gentlemen.  I've loved the themes the whole way through the series and to get the score through and realise I got to do the main melody on the pipes was a huge thrill.

Another session I had the pleasure of being involved with was providing pipes for a Tamil movie by famed film composer D Imman.  Some custom pipes had to be arranged for it - you can hear them here along with Border Pipes and then onto Highland Pipes towards the end!

And finally, towards the end of the year I supplied pipes for the great Celtic Rock band Coast - they have a new album out very soon and you can hear my pipes and whistles on it.  It's called Windmills in the Sky and it's awesome!

So that's me clocking off for the new year - Hogmanay will be spent with the brilliant Ewan Robertson and Ryan Young and then New Years Day in Edinburgh with the Tannahill Weavers, Eddi Reader and James Grant.

NEWS JUST IN - and finally, I've just found out that the Red Hot Chilli Pipers track I produced in August was the years most watched video on BBC Scotland Online - that's a great way to round off the year.  See you in 2017!!

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