• Music,  My Tunes

    Duncan’s Boots

    This reel was written in the summer of 1997 after a memorable time at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye during the fiddle and step dance week.

  • My Tunes

    The Tempting Seamstress

    This tune was written back in 1996 when I had nimble fingers due to all the busking. Playing for hours a day, most days, does wonders for your dexterity and I can’t play it now with the same fluidity. The pipes I play here were made by Jon Swayne and have a right hand thumb hole, allowing you to play the minor third without cross fingering. The title is self explanatory and the tune was written for a friend.

  • My Tunes

    The Woodside Reel

    The session scene in Oban has used a number of different venues throughout my time as a participant. For a while in the mid 1990s the main weekly session was in The Woodside on Tweedale Street. This was before the pub was extended and the rear was converted into a night club of sorts. A small, narrow pub, it didn’t have much space for musicians or punters but this did make for a good atmosphere as it didn’t take many folk to make it feel busy. I was making my living as a busker at the time so was playing a lot, often many hours per day. New tunes would…

  • My Tunes

    Lisa Cronin’s Jig

    Another tune from 1995. This jig was written for my girlfriend at the time, Lisa Cronin of Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland. Like many young traditional musicians I had discovered syncopation and started to incorporate it into some of my own tunes. I thought I was being modern and contemporary at the time but syncopation actually has a long history in border piping. As Matt Seattle points out in the introduction to his great book of tunes ‘The Border Bagpipe Book’ (Dragonfly Music, 1993), “Syncopation, which is now being introduced as a kind of modernism into Highland piping, was almost certainly present in Border piping three hundred years ago.” I play…