A National Treasure Concert Series

In the summer of 2007, less than two years after Gordon died, the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust organised a concert at Perth Concert Hall to honour Gordon and to celebrate his own unique music and compositions.  The Trust hoped to raise funds for the promotion of piping and other forms of traditional music in Scotland, with a particular emphasis on young musicians.

This concert was entitled “A National Treasure: a celebration of the music of Gordon Duncan” and was a sellout, a huge success and did indeed celebrate Gordon’s music, played by Gordon’s musical friends, colleagues and family. A wonderful evening was had. It was described as ‘a hugely emotional yet happy occasion’!

A recording of this concert is available to purchase in our online shop:  “A Celebration of The Music of Gordon Duncan. A National Treasure. Live Concert 2007”.

This was the first of six “National Treasure” concerts:

A National Treasure I - 29 September 2007

Photo of the front of the programme
The programme cover

Held at Perth Concert Hall on Saturday 29 September 2007.

The musical director was Brian McAlpine and it was stage managed by Ross Ainslie (who was also joint musical director). It was hosted jointly by Fiona Ritchie and Gary West.

The concert opened with the Pipe Band of the Atholl Highlanders marching through the concert hall onto the stage with ‘The Kilworth Hills’. A rousing start to the evening. Then Jarlath Henderson, on Uilleann Pipes and with The Concert Band played a beautiful and emotional tune ‘Taimse Im’Chodlach’ (I am sleeping- Do not wake me). The Pipe Band of the Atholl Highlanders reformed and marched off to ‘The Atholl Highlanders’, their Regimental March.

Gordon’s father, Jock Duncan, who was brought up in New Deer and Fyvie in Aberdeenshire where he developed his love of traditional ballads and songs, took the stage in his own unique and inimitable way and totally performed the Bothy Ballad ‘The Plooin’ Match’.

Session A9 took to the stage next playing great cheery music including Gordon’s ‘Pressed for Time’. The Concert Hall audience was dancing in their seats!

Gordon’s love of Breton music was presented and performed by Sylvain Hamon (who was the winner of the first Gordon Duncan Memorial Solo Piping Competition held at Celtic Connections in 2006) and Steven Bodenes who played some traditional Breton dance music.

Maggie MacInnes, from Barra in the Outer Hebrides, sang lovely traditional Gaelic songs to and with the audience.

The National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland presented a lively and entertaining performance including an energetic rendition of Gordon’s ‘The 98 Jig’. A change of tempo followed with ‘Anada pa Gael’, a beautiful tune played by Xose Manuel Tejedor, from Asturias, (Xose won the MacAllan Trophy in 1990, 1993 & 1997 and it was then that Gordon met Xose) on Galician Bagpipes and Duncan Chisholm on fiddle.

Allan Macdonald, from Glenuig in Moidart, and one of Gordon’s fellow pipers, joined up with Eamonn Coyne and Kris Drever to play a mix of traditional and more modern tunes before Tim Edey and Eamonn accompanied Kris singing.

Jarlath Henderson, Eamonn Coyne and The Concert Band played a happy selection of Irish tunes which Gordon himself had enjoyed playing enthusiastically on many occasions.

Again the tempo and mood changed when Dougie Maclean and Ross Ainslie played ‘Charlotte’, which grew from the strong friendship and musical understanding that existed for many years between Dougie and Gordon.

The finale began with a tune which Gordon had written but never named. It was the prize in a lottery -‘Give the Tune a Name’ – which was drawn on the evening of this Concert and won by Jody Steele, from Melbourne, Australia. Jody played alongside Gordon in the Drambuie Kirkliston Pipe Band when Ian Duncan was Pipe Major.

This tune was named ‘Full Moon Down Under’ and played by Ross Ainslie and Ali Hutton and The Concert Band then they continued seamlessly into ‘Thunderstruck’!

This National Treasure concert was well described as ‘a hugely emotional yet happy occasion’!

A recording of this National Treasure concert is available for purchase in the online shop: “A Celebration of The Music of Gordon Duncan. A National Treasure. Live Concert 2007”

A National Treasure II – 27 September 2008

The programme cover
The programme cover

Held at Perth Concert Hall on Saturday 27 September 2008.

Following the success of the first concert in 2007 the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust wished to establish it as an annual celebration of Gordon’s music and provide a platform for young musicians (including in time those who have received funding from the Trust) and encourage the creation of new work by commissioning a piece of music each year, under the title ‘Tunes for Gordon’.

As a ground breaking creative force in traditional music, one of the Trust’s foremost aims is to encourage young musicians to write their own music using Gordon’s open minded approach as an inspiration. For this second concert we deliberately recruited four of the finest young writers in traditional music to compose the first ‘Tunes for Gordon’. With support from the Scottish Arts Council, we commissioned Ross Ainslie, Jarlath Henderson, Mairearad Green and John Sommerville to write 25 minutes of new music to be performed by them at this concert. To accompany them we had a band containing some of Scotland’s finest young traditional talent.

Each musician composed one piece individually with one piece written by all four collectively.

Our comperes Gary West and Fiona Ritchie introduced our first composer Ross Ainslie, from Perth, a highly accomplished piper with the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band before touring with Gordon Duncan. He has since played with Ivan Drever’s band “Clueless”, Flook!, Dougie Maclean and Salsa Celtica. Ross released a debut album with Jarlath, “Partners in Crime”, in February 2008.

Composition 2 was by Jarlath Henderson, from Dungannon, County Tyrone, a three times ‘All-Ireland Champion” uilleann piper. Jarlath also plays whistle, classical and traditional flute, guitar and has a keen interest in traditional song. Jarlath is also currently in his fourth year of a medical degree at Aberdeen University.

Hannah Fisher, from Dunkeld, then entertained the audience with some wonderful traditional fiddle music before another great Scottish tradition, the music and storytelling of the travelling people was performed by Sheila Stewart, who was born in Blairgowrie and as well known on both sides of the Atlantic. Then back to some pipe tunes played by 16 year old Kyle Howie, from Dundee, who has been playing Pipes under the tuition of  Ian Duncan for six years.

Our next artists, Tangi Josette and Yannick Martin, are twins who were born in Africa in 1986 and shortly afterwards were adopted by separate Breton families and didn’t meet again until they were six years old. Whilst seeing each other regularly from that age, each got on with his own life, yet both cultivated an interest in Breton music and both were recruited by their local Bagad. By 2002 they were competing jointly and very successfully, winning championships, proof of their perfect mastery of their instruments playing Breton music.

The last performance of the first half was by the Vale Veterans Pipe Band: a gathering of many of the members of the ScotRail Vale of Atholl Pipe Band from the late 1980s, when they won titles such as British & European Champions and came 3rd in the World Pipe Band Championships, and recorded “Both Sides of the Tracks” which achieved silver disc status, unusual for Pipe Band recording at that time. Many of the band members have continued to play with bands including Field Marshall Montgomery, Boghall & Bathgate, Spirit of Scotland and Scottish Power while other  play in other traditional music arenas with bands such as Wolfstone, Ceol Beag and the Tannahill Weavers.

Composition 3 was by Mairearad Green, from Achiltibuie in Webster Ross, a keen composer and a professional musician equally talented on the accordion, the pipes and the piano. Mairearad is a member of ‘Tachem’, ‘Box Club’ and has recently toured with the Karine Polwart Band.

Composition 4 was by one of Scotland’s top young accordion players, John Sommerville, from Abriachan on the banks of Loch Ness. He is known for his high energy, dynamic playing style and has played with ‘Croft No Five’, Salsa Cetica, Session A9 and Frank Ferdinand and currently playing with Box Club, The Treacherous Orchestra and Babelfish.

The winner of the Gordon Duncan Memorial Piping Competition at Celtic Connections 2008, Andrew Carlisle, from Ballygown, Northern Ireland, played a fine selection of pipe tunes before Brian Finnegan, from Armagh, took over with some Irish Traditional music on flute and whistle. (He won the prestigious All Ireland Fleadh Cheoill for flute and whistle on six occasions). He has travelled the World for the past ten years with his ground breaking group ‘Flook’.

Cathy Ann MacPhee, from Barra in the Outer Hebrides, then sang beautifully in her native Gaelic before the music changed again, this time to Galician music, played by Anxo Lorenzo on the Gaita (Galician Bagpipe). Anxo has managed to amalgamate traditional and contemporary music seamlessly into vibrant, fresh new melodies and rhythms.

The ‘House Band’ at this Concert was Hamish Napier (Young Scottish Traditional Musician of the Year 2006) on piano, Mike Bryan on guitar, Conrad Ivitsky on electric and double bass and Dougie Hudson on percussion.

A National Treasure III - 26 September 2009

The programme cover
The programme cover

Held on Saturday 26 September 2009 at Perth Concert Hall.

One of the Trusts foremost aims is to encourage young musicians to write their own music using Gordon’s open minded approach as inspiration. The concert provided a platform for these and other young musicians and has encouraged the creation of new work by commissioning a piece of music each year, under the title of ‘Tunes For Gordon’.

For the 2009 concert, with support from the Scottish Arts Council, we commissioned four of the finest young traditional music writers to compose the Tunes For Gordon: Innes Watson, Kevin O’Neill, Duncan Lyall and Adam Sutherland were commissioned to write four pieces of new music, under the musical direction of John Sommerville, to be performed by them at this concert.

Our stunning house band for this concert was the Treacherous Orchestra.

Our comperes were Gary West and Fiona Ritchie who welcomed a compilation of truly world class musicians from across the Celtic nations once more.

‘Tunes For Gordon’- Innes Watson is a professional guitarist, fiddler, composer and arranger from the Scottish Borders who currently plays with Lori Watson, Rule of Three, Border Fiddles and the Treacherous Orchestra.

Tunes For Gordon’- Kevin O’Neill is one of our most respected, energetic and versatile flute players who is currently playing with the Treacherous Orchestra and the Maverick Angels.

Edelmiro Fernandez, who lives in Santiago de Compostela, is one of Galicia’s foremost pipers, winning both Galician contests and international contests such as the Macallan Trophy (Lorient 1995, 1996, 1998, 2001). Edelmiro on gaita added inter-Celtic music to this concert.

Gordon’s nephew, 15 year old Alex Duncan, who lives near Burrelton in Perthshire, is a regular competitor in the solo piping competition circuit and is a member of the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland. Alex played some of Gordon’s compositions for us, including ‘Alex’s Haircut’!

A change of tempo and style as Kris Drever, originally from Orkney, took to the stage singing with his warm soulfully resonant vocals, as well as playing guitar. Kris has toured with ‘Fine Friday’ and now plays with The Kate Rusby Band, Session A9 and Lau.

The Vale of Atholl Pipe Band, now sponsored by Robert Wiseman Dairies, has a reputation for enthralling, high octane performances, always including Gordon Duncan Tunes. The band was promoted from Grade 4 to Grade 1 in just seven competing seasons, from 1977 to 1983, when they were led by Pipe Major Ian Duncan with Gordon as Pipe Sergeant.  The pipe band’s selection completed the first half.

Tunes For Gordon’- Duncan Lyall, as well as playing double bass and bass guitar, works as a producer and sound recordist. He has played bass with Croft No Five, Marty Pellow, Phil Cunningham, Chris Drever, Julie Fowlis, Fred Morrison, Ross Ainslie and Jarlath Henderson and is currently a member of Box Club and the Treacherous Orchestra and plays regularly with Jenna Reid, Emily Smith, Sarah-Jane Summers and The Fortunate Sons.

‘Tunes For Gordon’- Adam Sutherland has been playing fiddle for 20 years and writing music for 15 of those. Adam has played fiddle with many acts around the world including The Scottish Stepdance Co, Babelfish, Session A9, Findlay Macdonald Band, Salsa Celtica, The Peatbog Faeries and the Treacherous Orchestra.

Ian Macleod, known for his work with ‘Acid Croft’ and as a founder member and composer with Shooglenifty, takes Scottish dance music to new heights.

Another change in rhythm as Karen Matheson, with the haunting vocals of Celtic super-group Cappercaillie,   performed proving her award for ‘Best Gaelic singer’ from the inaugural Scottish Folk Awards, being so well deserved.

The concert would not be complete without some Irish music, this time by composer, producer, arranger and studio session musician of world class renown, John McSherry, who has recorded with Clannad, Sinead O’Connor, Nancy Griffiths, Shaun Davey, Dan Ar Braz and The Corrs to name a few as well as solo performances. Playing along with John was Francis McIlduff, from Belfast, an excellent bodhran player who then became an even more excellent piper and whistle player too.

The finale by the house band, the Treacherous Orchestra, was an explosive acoustically driven sound, a new generation of Instrumental Folk Music. Musical dynamite played by dazzling musicians featuring multiple instruments. The Treacherous Orchestra are John Sommerville (accordion), Ross Ainslie, (pipes and whistles), Ali Hutton (pipes and whistles), Bo Jingham (flutes and whistles), Kevin O’Neill (flutes and whistles), Adam Sutherland (fiddle), Innes Watson (fiddle), Eamonn Coyne (banjo and mandolin), Michael Bryan (guitar), Spad Reid (guitar), Fraser Stone (drums and percussion), Martin O’ Neill (drums and percussion), Duncan Lyall (double bass).

Andy M Stewart, from Blairgowrie, the wonderful singer and musician with ‘Silly Wizard’ was billed to appear at this concert but sadly was unable attend.

A National Treasure IV - 25 September 2010

The programme cover
The programme cover

A National Treasure IV was held on Saturday 25 September 2010, at Perth Concert Hall.

This year, at the 4th annual celebration of Gordon Duncan’s music, under the Trust’s ‘Tunes For Gordon’ aim, Patsy Reid and Calum MacCrimmon were commissioned to write some new music to be performed at this concert. (Both were finalists in the BBC Traditional Musician of the Year Award.) These pieces were performed by a stunning group of young musicians that have come together as The Gordon Duncan Experience. The Gordon Duncan Experience will also play a composition by Martyn Bennett, another inspirational musician who tragically died in the same year as Gordon.

Once more our comperes, Gary West and Fiona Ritchie, welcomed a compilation of truly world class musicians from across the Celtic nations.

Tunes For Gordon’, Calum MacCrimmon began piping in Edmonton, Canada before he and his family moved to Scotland in 1991 where he made a name in the solo piping competition scene. He excels not only in piping, but also in whistle, guitar and composition.

‘Tunes For Gordon’, Patsy Reid, from Knapp in Perthshire, was the youngest ever winner of the prestigious Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship. She has a great amount of experience in performing and teaching both traditional and classic music.

The Gordon Duncan Experience was formed earlier in 2010 following auditions and was made up of young Perthshire musicians ranging in age from 12 to 17, playing a range of instruments. Under the musical direction of Corrina Hewat (one of the leading Scottish harp players in the world today and a tutor on the Traditional Music Degree course at Newcastle University and the RSAMD) and Dave Milligan (a professional musician whose piano playing flows freely between jazz improvisation and the traditional airs and dance music of his native Scotland) they all rehearsed intensively for their debut. The GDE project also funded two trainee Musical Directors, Sandy Stirton and Katrina Nimmo. The development of the GDE in was supported by tuition from several other accomplished musicians: Steven Blake (pipes), Amy Geddes (fiddle) and Ronnie Goodman (percussion).

A photograph of the Gordon Duncan Experience members
A photograph of the Gordon Duncan Experience members

The Gordon Duncan Experience members (pictured) were: on piano Aden Mazur, on bagpipes Alex Duncan, Connor Powell, Euan Clarke, Jack Stewart & Tommy Henson, on bodhran Christina Stephenson, on cello Rebekah Salem-Dalgety, on drum kit Michael MacLennan, on fiddle Anna Olafsson, Christina Duncan, Eve Caldwell, Jamie Salem-Dalgety & Kirsty Glasgow, on flute Clare Sterrit & Catriona Iannetta-Mackay, on guitar Aron Dochard and on mandolin Harry MacPherson and Simone Fraser.

After playing ‘Tunes For Gordon’ this new Celtic big band played Martyn Bennett’s epic and atmospheric  ‘MacKay’s Memoirs’ beautifully, then finished off with a selection of Gordon’s own cheery tunes.

Sheamus Begley and Tim Edey continued the music. Sheamus Begley, with his wit and storytelling is one of Ireland’s most popular traditional musicians on accordion and voice. Along with Tim Edey from Dingle, Kent, and his virtuoso talents on guitar and accordion, made a unique duo performance.

The internationally renowned piper, Willie MacCallum of Bearsden, who was winner of the Gordon Duncan Invitational Solo Piping Competition this year, played some beautiful traditional pipe tunes, including two of Gordon’s 2/4 marches.

Old Blind Dogs since forming in the early 1990s have developed their own style with an energetic mix of songs and tunes with dynamic percussion, polished vocals, soaring fiddle and stirring pipes The line up on the night were Jonny Hardie (fiddle, guitar and vocal), Aaron Jones (bouzouki, guitar and vocals), Ali Hutton (Border pipes, whistles and vocals) and Fraser Stone (drums and percussion).

Pitlochry and Blair Atholl Pipe Band is a band formed in 2004 by a group of local musicians, of all ages, who not only compete at the Major Pipe Band Championships but have also forged strong links with a bagad from Lorient in Brittany. Some of the ‘Sonerien an Oriant’ bagad players play with the pipe band and vice versa.

Gordon Duncan Jnr, a multi instrumentalist/producer from Pitlochry working in a range of styles from folk, jazz, hip hop, to funk and soul. He has been performing across Scotland playing drum kit with ‘The True Gents’. However on the night we heard Gordy on guitar singing some of his own compositions.

Xose Manuel Budino, one of the acknowledged masters of the Galician gaita (bagpipe), a gifted flute and whistle player, a talented composer and arranger of songs of high energy and beauty that reflect his Galician roots, completed the concert’s inter Celtic collection of great musicians.

A National Treasure V - 24 September 2011

The programme cover
The programme cover

Held on Saturday 24 September 2011 at Perth Concert Hall.

This year the concert boasted another tremendous line up, including Wolfstone, a well travelled and highly acclaimed band who Gordon toured with in their early years. A National Treasure concert wouldn’t be the same without a pipe band therefore we were joined by the Scottish Power Pipe Band, one of the World’s leading prize winning Grade 1 pipe bands, who Gordon also spent some time playing with. In 2011 they were runners up at the World Championship.

We were joined by a contemporary of Gordon’s, the great Pipe Major Gordon Walker and by the up and coming Julie Fowlis Band. Also featured was the 2010 Young Musician of the Year, Kirstan Harvey and an exciting new band, ‘Wingin’ It’. We commissioned ‘Wingin’ It’ to write and perform exciting new compositions for ‘Tunes For Gordon’.

There were also be some veterans of the National Treasure concerts with Ross Ainslie, Charlie McKerron and Tim Edey who were joined by Marc Clement.

Hosted by our two compères for the evening, Gary West and Fiona Ritchie, we were delighted to again welcome a compilation of truly world class musicians from the traditional music field.

In 1989 Duncan Chisolm, a first class exponent of the traditional Scottish Highland fiddle, Along with vocalist and acoustic guitarist, Stuart Eaglesham, formed Wolfstone and in 2010 they celebrated 21 years of live performances throughout the UK, Europe, Scandinavia, Canada and the USA, along with worldwide release of 9 highly acclaimed albums. Their current line up is undoubtedly the most vibrant and exciting ever with their unique blend of electric and acoustic guitars, fiddle, pipes and pulsating percussion.

Julie Fowlis Band with a formidable line up of Julie, her husband Ėamon Doorley, Tony Byrne, Duncan Chisolm and Martin O’Neill have become synonymous with emotive, expressive and high energy live shows. Julie is no stranger to awards, winning Gaelic Singer of the Year 2007 and the first ever Scottish Gaelic singer to win the BBC2 Folk Singer of the Year 2008. Julie is delighted to finally make her National Treasure debut particularly since she spent part of her childhood in Highland Perthshire.

Pipe Major Gordon Walker enlisted as a boy soldier in The Royal Highland Fusiliers. Gordon is a seasoned competitor and prolific winner of the major senior competitions. Gordon is well respected and is equally at home on the competition stage as he is on the recital platform or the concert stage where he royally entertains. He is Pipe Major of ‘The Maucline & District Caledonia Pipe Band’ located in his native Ayrshire.

Kristan Harvey, current BBC Radio Scotland Young Musician of the Year, started learning fiddle in Orkney’s Traditional Music Project and has just graduated from the RSAMD with a BMus honours degree. She is currently playing with ‘The Sanna’ as well as furthering her solo ambitions with pianist Harris Playfair.

Wingin’It is a fresh and dynamic acoustic duo comprising Perthshire native Adam Bulley on guitar and mandolin, and Chas MacKenzie, from Oban, on guitar. For this National Treasure V , Wingin’It will premier a newly written piece inspired by Gordon’s life and music.

Charlie McKerron, Marc Clement and Tim Edey together make a fabulous sound that covers both Scottish and Irish music with world/jazz music influences and beyond. Charlie McKerron has been a member of Capercaillie since 1985 and formed  the fiddle fuelled powerhouse Session A9 ten years ago. He is highly regarded as a fiddle player and composer. Guitarist Marc Clement is best known for his work with Blazin Fiddles. Marc is also a top studio engineer and producer and his music compliments Charlie’s work beautifully. The virtuosic, multi-instrumentalist Tim Edey adds to this lovely music.

Ross Ainslie is an outstanding player on whistles, Cittern and both Highland and Border pipes. Ross was born in Perthshire and a protégée of Gordon Duncan. He has toured with Gordon Duncan, involved with Ivan Drevers band ‘Clueless# and played with ‘Flook!’. He is currently a member of the Dougie Maclean Band, Salsa Celtica, India Alba, The Treacherous Orchestra and plays as a duo with Jarlath Henderson. Ross was nominated for Best Instrumentalist in the 2010 Scots Trad Awards and his first book of compositions is due to be released early 2012.

A National Treasure VI - 29 September 2012

The programme cover
The programme cover

A National Treasure VI was held on Saturday 29 September 2012 at Perth Concert Hall.

We were delighted to have an immensely talented line up. Travelling from the USA especially for the performance was the legendary Irish piper Paddy Keenan, of Bothy Band fame.

We had the multiple Macallan winner, Fred Morrison, backed up by Matheu Watson on guitar and Martin O’Neil on bodhran. The pipe band was Lothian and Borders Police Pipe Band, one of the most exciting concert bands around.

We had Gordy Duncan Jr. and Rona Wilkie (Scottish Traditional Musician of the Year) as well as a unique trio of Fraser Fifield, Iarla O’Lionaird and Graeme Stephen and the very good friends of the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust, The Treacherous Orchestra.

Fred Morrison – a virtuoso of the Great Highland Bagpipe, the bellows blown reel pipes, the Irish uilleann pipes and the low whistle. He has gained honours in the Scottish competition piping circuit including gold medals at Inverness and Oban, and taken the prestigious Macallan trophy at Brittany’s Lorient Festival seven times as well as winning Best Instrumentalist at the 2004 Scots Trad music Awards. He was joined by Matheu Watson on guitar and Martin O’Neill on bodhran.

Paddy Keenan – an inspiration to generations across the world, including the young Gordon Duncan and Fred Morrison, who were moved to apply his fiery approach to Scottish piping. The ground breaking Bothy Band forever changed the face of Irish music, merging a powerful rhythm section with traditional tunes to create an entirely new sound, with Paddy as its melodic fulcrum and driving force. Raised in Travelling family steeped in Irish traditional music and piping in particular, he now lives in the USA and is in demand for festivals, concerts and recitals worldwide. We are very grateful and excited to have him in Perth as our guest.

Rona Wilkie – BBC Radio Scotland’s 2012 Young Scottish Traditional Musician of the Year. Having grown up in Oban, Rona was simultaneously trained in both Highland fiddle and classical violin. Rona led fiddle group ‘Gizzen Briggs’ for several years including the opening of the Scottish Parliament in front of the Queen and First Minister in 2004.

Gordy Duncan Jr. first musical steps followed his father onto the pipes before switching to become an accomplished percussionist. His musical journey continues as a multi-instrumentalist in a variety of bands and, increasingly, as a talented and prolific singer songwriter drawing on jazz, funk and rock as well as Celtic influences.

Lothian & Borders Police Pipe Band led by Pipe Major Neil Hall (who recently took over from our own Ian Duncan) and Leading Drummer Jacob Jørgensen. The band is a formidable unit both in the competition circle and on the concert stage, where their innovative outlook is heard to best effect.

The Treacherous Orchestra was formed in Glasgow in 2008 by some of the most exciting young players in the Scottish traditional scene and from their very first gig, established them as a truly great live act and was quickly sought after as festival headliners all over the UK and Europe. With two of his Perthshire piping protégés, Ross Ainslie and Ali Hutton, in the lineup, the spirit of Gordon Duncan clearly loomed large over this unique 12 piece ensemble which also included Adam Sutherland, Innes Watson, John Sommerville, Eamonn Coyne, Kevin O’Neill, Bo Jingham, Duncan Lyle, Fraser Stone, Michael Bryan, Spad Reid and Martin O’Neill. Their blend of irreverent fun, wonderfully distinctive and quirky writing, superb instrumental technique, diverse influences and determination to entertain make them a band very much in his own image.

Fraser Fifield, Iarla O’Lionáird and Graeme Stephen all came together for a one-off collaboration especially for this concert. Fraser Fifield is a multi-instrumentalist and composer with an original sound, his distillation of influences from such diverse sources as the Highland Bagpipe tradition, jazz saxophone, Bulgarian kaval and others has lead to a growing catalogue of critically acclaimed recordings on his Tanar Records label. He has worked with various Scottish bands and musicians including Salsa Celtica, Old Blind Dogs, Mr McFalls Chamber and many more.

Iarla O’Lionáird grew up in Cùil Aodha in the West Cork Gaeltacht becoming both a masterful exponent of Sean Nós (old style) song and a pioneer in its renewal and development. He has made many recordings with the Afro Celt Sound System, receiving two Grammy nominations and his three solo albums confirming Iarla as one of contemporary music’s most ambitious singers and recording artists.

Graeme Stephen has carved a distinct niche for himself as a brilliantly understated guitarist, bandleader and composer as well as Instrumentalist of the Year at the 2011 Scottish Jazz Awards.