Scottish Small Pipes & Reeds

Here is a selection of recordings played on the Scottish Small Pipes, they are old recordings perhaps done a few years ago. I had a lot of trouble when I first got this chanter from Shepherd’s Bagpipes, There was nothing wrong with the chanter or the reed, but I just could not get an octave, it was very flat at the top. So I made my own reed for it, and I had a lot of experimentation finding the right reed.

These recordings are part of that selection. I am trying the reed out… not trying out the melodies! I think I did not keep the reed in these recordings, although some of the recordings sound better than others.

Jinn & Tonik / The Flying Cats

I have been playing with Alba, a fiddle player from Madrid over the past few years. I put to gether a few mp3s connected with our rehearsals. We are called “Jinn & Tonik” and we are trying to mix Spanish and UK music with musical “accents”, how each of us look at each other’s music.
Jinn & Tonik

Another musical project was with a Alba and a singer called Isabel, we concentrated mainly on Scottish Songs, but with the phrasing and “accents” of Spain. We called ourselves “The Flying Cats” (the name was taken from Isabel’s cats who decided to jump from one side of the room to the other and land on our heads while we were reheasing).

The Flying Cats

“The Twa Corbies” & a New Audio Site

I desided to begin a new section for the blog to include mp3s of my demo recordings. These recordings are “work-in-progress”, where I am trying out different melodies on different instruments.

I have often made these recordings in the winter time, or when I have bought a new manuscript or a new instrument…

Sometimes these recordings were done when it was too cold/wet to go out busking and I have had to stay indoors for weeks. It was so cold one winter I had to do the recording in our kitchen by the stove… these recordings I called “Kitchen Recordings”…

I hope to edit and include a variety of recordings I have kept over the years, just to let them be heard. They are not perfect, and they are with some mistakes, but it gives you a chance to listen to the many menlodies I have attempted and tried out.

I am using the website “Audiomack” which is not a folk/traditional music site, but it has a connection with wordpress, and this enables me to include audio-lists instead of the url links. It means you can click on the list to hear the mp3 without being directed to the main site.

The first mp3 is a ballad mellody called, “The Twa Corbies” a sinister ballad with a sinister, yet beautiful melody. If you have the time you can search the title in Wiki and it will give you a good explanation of the ballad. (Here is a link to the Wiki description )

I first heard The Twa Corbies melody being played on a Border Pipe cassette by Gordon Mooney (or was it Hamish Moore?).. i forget, but but it stayed with me and I finally got to learn it one day as I was sitting in the garden as Summer was just coming, in 2015. I had been to a bagpipe festival called “The Blowout” in southern England and I had bought a piping manuscript with this tune in. I played it as the bees were around my feet and the flowers were in bloom.

Fun Raising Concert for the Newcastleton Folk Weekend

I got a mail of Liz, who runs the website and Folk Club at Newcastleton in the Scottish Borders. She tells of a dance/fun raising event for the Newcastleton Festival this year. Get along and have a “knees up”!!! You can contact Liz via the email address below. Her web blog for the Folk Club is at

“Newcastleton Traditional Music Festival 2016 July 1st, 2nd, 3rd
There will be a Festival Fund-raising Dance 19th March at Hermitage Hall (just £5). Details:
‘The Border Reivers’ ceilidh band
A trio of local talent with a dynamic and traditional playing style that makes any event a night to remember!
and Norman Stewart,
highland traditional singing and playing
at Hermitage Hall, near Newcastleton,
19th March 2016 at 7.30pm
Tickets £5 on door, Bar, Raffle
Further info/ advance tickets:
Hermitage Hall is four miles North of Newcastleton (towards Hawick). Drive North through Newcastleton on the B6357. Go over the bridge. Turn left towards Hawick (B6399). Hermitage Hall (the village hall) is at the next left junction for Hermitage Castle, just before another bridge. Turn in left at the junction and the hall is on your left. See you there.”