Author Archives: Charlotte Murray

SeudanRoddy MacLeod MBE, one of the world’s finest pipers and four-time winner of the Glenfiddich world solo piping championships, is one of the stars at an evening of outstanding piping at Haddington’s Town House on Saturday 26 April.
The concert – called ‘Piping Up’ – has been organised by Haddington Pipe Band in partnership with Cairdeas nam Piobairean, an initiative led by legendary piper Hamish Moore.
“The evening has been set up to showcase both the quality and the breadth in today’s piping world,” said Haddington Pipe Band chairman Alastair Bruce, “and we will be have the privilege of enjoying brilliant piping played on a range of instruments.”
So in addition to Roddy MacLeod (who is also the director of the National Piping Centre) playing the Highland pipes, the programme will feature a number of other top musicians.

Cape Breton’s Angus Mackenzie will be demonstrating his virtuosity on the Border pipes. Angus, from a famous musical family, came to study at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, the Gaelic college on Skye, where he still lives. He is also a member of the group Daimh, who played at Haddington’s Trad on the Tyne festival in 2012.

The brilliant duo Allan Macdonald and Griogair Labhruidh will be performing beautiful tunes, Gaelic songs, and polyphony on Scottish small pipes and uilleann pipes.

And the group Seudan will be playing copies of the famous Black Pipes of Kintail, which date from around 1785. The group’s sets of pipes have been meticulously recreated from the original by Hamish Moore and his son Fin, who is one of the Seudan quartet.

Before the concert, Haddington Pipe Band will play outside the Town House.

Hamish Moore commented: “Under the broad umbrella of Scottish piping, there are many styles and disciplines, as well as many different forms of pipes. The concert at the Town House in Haddington is a celebration of this breadth and a showcase of some of our very finest pipers and musicians

“I’ve no doubt that it will be a great night of music in a town with a centuries-long tradition of piping.”
Tickets for the concert, which starts at 7.30pm, cost £12.00 (or £9 for concessions: 65 and over/14 and under) and are available from the Waterloo Bistro and Joe Forte Sports in Haddington or by emailing Full details are on the band’s website (
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Unroofed Records presents Mike Vass – In the Wake of Neil Gunn

May 2014 will see renowned Scottish fiddler and composer Mike Vass undertake a mirror voyage of writer Neil Gunn’s 1937 adventure round the west coast of Scotland, performing community concerts along the way featuring stories, music and local history.

0005_MikeVass-2In 1937 Neil Gunn sold his house, quit his job and went off in an old converted lifeboat for a summer to inspire his writing; voyaging around the west coast of Scotland. He wrote about the various communities on the way, and went on to become one of Scotland’s most prolific and creative fiction writers. This May Mike Vass will sail Gunn’s route, finding inspiration for his own composing and re-visiting the communities Neil Gunn wrote about; performing celebratory concerts there. He wants to inspire communities with Gunn’s stories about them, inviting them to explore the changes that have taken place since the writer’s initial visit. The end result will be a new suite of music to be toured around Scotland.

Mike will be joined by special guest musicians along the journey (including Jennifer Port, Hamish Napier and Innes Watson) who will perform as part of the community concerts; sharing musical ideas as they sail and in on-board sessions at port.

They will perform at:

2nd May, Red Roof Cafe Gallery, Isle of Skye, 8.30pm

9th May, Eigg Community Hall, Isle of Eigg, 9pm

10th May, Astley Hall, Arisaig, 8pm

17th May, Iona Abbey, 3.30pm (entry included in admission ticket to Iona Abbey)

17th May, Iona Village Hall, Iona, 8pm

24th May, Kentallen and Duror Community Centre, Duror, 8pm

photo-2The project is already attracting attention, supported by Calmac Ferries, Enterprise Music Scotland, and Neil Gunn’s publishers, Colonsay-based House of Lochar. It has also received the backing of Creative Scotland’s Traditional Arts Commissioning Fund.

‘As soon as we heard of the plans to replicate Gunn’s trip,’ says Kevin Byrne of House of Lochar, ‘we contacted Dairmid Gunn, the author’s grandson and a former naval officer, and received his enthusiastic consent to support the project.  House of Lochar wishes Godspeed to the latter-day “Thistle” and all who sail in her.’

Mike wants to both connect with the Scottish coastal communities he grew to know through Gunn’s words, and find inspiration for his own writing.

‘The idea for the project came from time spent in hospital last summer,’ says Vass. ‘I had suffered a life-threatening brain insult and someone gave me this non-fiction book, ‘Off in a Boat’, to read while I recovered. I found it utterly inspirational. I was so excited by Neil Gunn’s account that I immediately started planning my own version of his trip.’

The project (following the masterminding of Fiona Hunter’s debut solo album and his own critically acclaimed experimental album DecemberWell) is Vass’s most ambitious venture to date. Its progress will be documented by Salmon Films, who will be making a film about the project.

‘We were inspired by the vitality of Mike Vass to reproduce Neil’s Gunn journey,’ says Conxi Fornieles of Salmon Films. ‘A real adventure in a very magical place.’

After a summer of writing and recording, Vass will return in the Autumn to tour the new album, featuring some of Scotland’s top traditional musicians and film footage captured on the voyage.

Mike will be keeping a blog about the voyage, visit the website here.

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Be part of bringing traditional music and song to life across Scotland this year

Venues and musicians are invited to take part in the TMSA Homecoming 2014 Traditional Music and Song Sessions programme. Funded by Homecoming Scotland 2014 and Creative Scotland, this national programme of sessions will take place across Scotland from late Spring to December.

Organisers, the Traditional Music & Song Association (TMSA) are looking for sessions to happen in many different venues in many different locations. Interested people need to register via the website – – forms should be available in the next few days.

“We are pleased to be working with EventScotland again to bring the opportunity for both visitors and locals to enjoy great traditional music and song on their doorsteps and celebrating Scotland’s traditions in this year of Homecoming 2014,” said TMSA Convener, Fiona Campbell.

Caroline Packman, Director of Homecoming Scotland said: “In 2014, the year of Homecoming Scotland, it is fitting that we support the Traditional Music and Song Sessions as they tie in perfectly with a number of our key Homecoming themes including creativity and ancestry. The sessions are a fantastic way for locals and visitors to experience Scotland’s unique musical traditions and I hope many venues and musicians will be encouraged to be part of this very special programme.”

For further information, contact the TMSA national office, at or tel: 0792 253 3915.

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New 10-Year Plan Announced

Message from Janet Archer, Chief Executive

Today marks an important moment for the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland.

I’m delighted to launch the 10-year plan which sets out a vision and a set of clear ambitions for arts and creativity in Scotland.

I’m particularly pleased that the plan has effectively been ‘crowd sourced’ bringing together more than 1000 voices from across the arts, screen and creative industries.

Coupled with the launch of our Regular Funding Programme, which will deliver stable, three year funding for organisations, today is the beginning of a new phase for Creative Scotland.

We are launching an ambitious plan and at the same time we are bringing greater clarity about our role and our funding approach. In addition, we have worked hard to make sure we have the right people, knowledge and expertise to deliver the plan.

Our plan is bold, ambitious and I am looking forward to working in partnership with people and organisations across Scotland to bring it to life.

Best Wishes,

Janet Archer

View the Plan…

Funding update – Regular Funding Programme

Today, we are also launching details of the new Regular Funding Programme, which marks the next phase in the implementation of our new funding approach.

The Regular Funding Programme is designed for organisations who are seeking a minimum of £150,000 funding over 3 years.

The programme opens today, 9 April, applications accepted from May with a deadline for submission of 7 July and decisions by the end of October.

The aim of this programme is to provide stable funding over 3 years for organisations, in order to create a rich tapestry of excellent and balanced artistic and cultural provision across all parts of society and all parts of Scotland.


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Nominations for the Arts & Business Scotland Awards 2014 are now open, and once again they are looking to celebrate the best business and arts partnerships, so please nominate yours for an Award.
Tell them the story of your partnership and why it should win in the following categories, new for 2014 and designed to bring the best and most innovative partnerships of all shapes and sizes to the fore:  PlacemakingPeopleDigital innovationEntrepreneurship/sustainabilityInternational.
This year’s winners will be announced at an Awards ceremony in Glasgow in October 2014. They will update the website with further details as our plans progress.
Entering is simple…
·         Download the nomination guidelines and form from their website:
·         Email your completed form to by 5pm on Monday 5 May 2014.
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