Music comes in a large variety of forms. First of all there
are the various Summer Shows which you will find throughout
Scotland, mostly aimed at tourist coach parties. These Tartan
shows host a predominance of tartan, bagpipes, highland dancing
and songs of hills and heather, essentially the image many tourists
have of Scotland. They follow a successful recipe made famous
by the television series 'The White Heather Club' aired
in the 1960s.
dancing is your pleasure then there are several choices from
the more formal Scottish
Country Dance Societies to the less formal Ceilidh Dancing.
The third popular form in Scotland is highland dancing which
is essentially a solo or group performance. There are hundreds
if not thousands of Country Dance societies throughout the world
many of which have their own web-sites. Scottish Country Dancers
tend to prefer music played to a strict tempo, bands such as
the world famous Jimmy Shand, Jim Johnstone, John Ellis Bands
to name but a few. Bands invariably comprise of two accordions,
fiddle, piano, bass and drums. These bands also perform at the
and Fiddle Clubs' scene throughout Scotland.
in popularity is the 'ceilidh
dance' a version where formality goes out of the window.
A dance caller shouts out instructions to experienced dancers
and beginners. The main purpose is enjoyment, dancing ability
is irrelevant. Bands comprise of various line-ups ranging from
the more sedate "Scottish
Country Dance Band" formula to a full blown rock rhythm
backing Celtic melodies. Bands such as The Benachally Ceilidh
Band, Craigenroan Ceilidh Band, Cutting Edge, The Occasionals
and Alasdair MacCuish and Black Rose Ceilidh Band are amongst
the most popular.
Scottish Folk Clubs circuit
is where many Scots would look for a real cultural night out.
It is alive and vibrant, it is not just about tradition. There
are many contemporary song-writers as well as traditionalists.
Artists such as Dougie MacLean, Eric Bogle, Archie Fisher, Hamish
Imlach, Battlefield Band, Dick Gaughan, Tannahill Weavers, Phil
Cunningham, and Aly Bain made a lucrative living playing to
world-wide audiences. Another large part of the folk circuit
is the 'folk festival'. Folk festivals comprise of a
mixture of concerts, ceilidhs and workshops where young and
learner musicians can seek tuition from some of Scotland's
top folk artists.
Highland bagpipe music forms another huge attraction to Scottish
visitors throughout the summer months. There are hundreds of
pipe bands throughout Scotland and indeed there are hundreds
more throughout the world. Scottish
Pipe Bands can be seen parading down high streets at Highland
Games events, this is a sight to behold. Many of Scotland's
most popular contemporary groups feature the great Scottish
Highland Bagpipe e.g. The Battlefield Band, Wolfstone and Ceolbeg.
Orchestras also have their place within Scottish Culture. The
Scottish Fiddle Orchestra is possible the name most associated
with this form of music but other orchestras in Kirriemuir,
Elgin and Fochabers have been existence for decades.
there is Gaelic music, which again falls into two categories,
the formal and the less so. The formal consists of gaelic choirs
up and down the country with the mega event being the The
Royal National Mod held once a year. The less formal are
essentially concert hall based and consist of groups like Runrig,
Capercaillie, Clan na Gael.
Now the above are guidelines, there is considerable overlap
from one genre to the other. The term Celtic music covers several
of them and indeed in some branches exchange with Irish artistes
is commonplace, indeed several groups are part Irish part Scots
e.g., Capercaillie, Waterboys, Relativity.
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