This article states that that an organisation devoted to supporting traditional Scottish music raised almost TEN THOUSAND POUNDS to put together a book of sheet music detailing how to play AC/DC on bagpipes!
It is being put together in the memory of Scottish piper Gordon Duncan, a man described as an influence on the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and responsible for THIS incredible cover of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck:
Not sure if he was ever a Scottish weddingpiperbut thats the tune I want played at my wedding!
Gordon passed away in 2005 and this is the second such book put together since his death, commemorating 10 years. Amazingly the man played his tunes by ear so not a lot of them were written down.
Visit the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust webpage here.
These have apparently been a thing since at least the start of the year! The supermarket Lidl has been selling inexpensive bagpipes for over half a year and in the Daily Record article I’m shamelessly taking a lot of my information from (an article that can be found here.) the director of the National Piping Centre, Alisdair McLaren, had positive things to say about them! He said;
“A basic set of pipes costs around £700 so at £12.99 they are definitely worth the money, even though the sound is more like what you would get from a practice chanter.
“They are a bit of fun and if a young person then wants to learn the pipes properly that can only be a positive thing.”
Can’t argue with that, the price of a basic set could scare off a lot of people before they’ve even begun to take up the pastime. Hopefully the introduction of a cheaper alternative will help a few people to pick the bagpipes up, keep piping alive and well and maybe introduce us to some new Scottish wedding pipers down the road.
The video below see’s the Scottish National Youth Pipe Band try them out and have fun in the process:
What do you think about the Lidl pipes? Have you had an opportunity to play them yourselves? Are they any good or a bit rubbish? As ever feel free to let us know in the comments below.
I was looking at wedding music statistics today (as you do) and found these one’s to be pretty shocking. Statistics I found on the St. Louis Bride and Groom website, taken from sources such as USA Today and The Knot suggest that almost 100% of brides they spoke to would, if they could do things again, spend more money when it came to choosing the entertainment for their wedding. 72% of those brides said they would spend a significantly larger amount of time choosing their musical performers. Finally 81% said that the main thing they remembered about their reception was the entertainment they chose.
Choosing a Scottish wedding piper for your wedding can be a time consuming business but these statistics definitely show that it will be time well spent. Don;t leave it until the last minute and don’t underestimate the importance of getting a really good piper to play. We can recommend Stuart (who can be found here: http://elitebands.co.uk/scottish-piper ) however if you have anyone you’d like to recommend make sure to do so below in the comments!
Here’s another collection of songs you are probably familiar with that you wouldn’t expect to see covered on bagpipes and certainly wouldn’t expect to see on a blog about Scottish wedding pipers!
The Flintstones theme song
Do they still show the Flintstones on TV? I have vivid memories of watching it as a kid along with about fifty other Hanna-Barbera shows that used to cheaply fill up kids television.
I’m also old enough to have begged my dad to take me to see the 1994 movie complete with Agent Dale Cooper as the villian and the terrible B-52s cover of the theme. It doesn’t take much but the video below is certainly a more enjoyable cover than that one ever was:
(And for comparisons sake here’s the B-52s version. I’m very sorry.)
If I can make some requests I’d like to hear some more kids TV show themes covered, in particular Thundercats, The Pink Panther and Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. MAKE IT HAPPEN INTERNET!
Game of Thrones theme
I’d like to do some research and see if any Scottish pipers actually show up in the show. Living in Glasgow I’ve seen half the cast out drinking over the years, I’ve seen the actor that plays Sandor Clegane on a few occasions, he’s intimidating looking man!
Game of Thrones is a good show to do a bagpipe video for, the theme fits and the success of the show means that you can rack up the youtube hit count. This is a pretty cool video in my opinion so be sure to check it out!
Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
We’ll finish with one I never thought I would see, a cover of a song that depending on your vintage you may know from Leonard Cohen (the writer of the song,) Jeff Buckley or Alexandra Burke. Or from 5 years of terrible X-Factor auditions.
Hopefully Leonard got a nice retirement check out of it all.
Personally I’m a big fan of the original Cohen version without all the historic of the X-Factor cover but your mileage may vary. I think the band covering it are from Russia but I’m not 100% sure but, well, it’s something different right?
Have you seen any cool cover versions done on bagpipes? Let me know in the comments below! Also check out the Elite Bands pipe major here: http://elitebands.co.uk/scottish-piper
Do bagpipes come from Scotland or Ireland? There are a variety of instruments known as bagpipes throughout Europe and even in parts of Asia, but in the British Isles, there are two main types, the Irish (Uillean or Elbow) and the Scottish(Great Highland or Small Border).
Do the Irish play bagpipes? Bagpipes are a class of musical instrument, aerophones, using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag. Though the Scottish Great Highland Bagpipe and Irish uilleann pipes have the greatest international visibility, bagpipes have been played for centuries throughout large parts of Ireland.
What are the bagpipes made out of?
These are blown by mouth and the bags were traditionally made from the skin of a sheep; although currently leather, rubber or other synthetic materials are used. The pipes themselves were originally made of bone or ivory, but hardwood is the modern choice.
Ok so we’re moving away from the M.O. of talking about pipers for this one to name a number of songs that might be worth considering if you’re getting married anytime soon. We’ve split them into a couple of categories, current and classic. What songs would you consider for a first dance? Or what song did you have for your first dance? Let us know in the comments below! Bonus points for any videos of pipers performing these songs. 😀 (don’t worry we will return to the subject of Scottish wedding pipers soon enough)
1. Bruno Mars -Marry You
2. Beyonce- Love on top
3. Paulo Nutini – Candy
4. Ellie Goulding – Your Song
5. Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
6. John Legend- All of me
7. Pharrell Williams – Happy
8. Florence and the Machine – You’ve got the love
9. Ben Howard – Only Love
10. Adele – Chasing Pavements
1. Foo Fighters – Everlong
2. Barry White- Just the way you are
3. Nat King Cole – Let There Be Love
4. Jackie Wilson – I get the Sweetest Feeling
5. Etta James – At Last
6. Madness – It Must Be Love
7. Ben E King – Stand By Me
8. Louis Armstrong – What A Wonderful World
9. The Goo Goo Dolls – Iris
10. Elvis Costello – She
As we said if you have any recommendations make sure to tell us in the comments below! We’ll leave you with some Jackie Wilson!
The bagpipes show up in a number of different films of all types of genres, be it comedy, drama, even sci-fi! Films as diverse as Braveheart, Army of Darkness, The Thirty Nine Steps and Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan at some point feature the pipes being blown. here are some of our favourite examples:
Braveheart (1995) Ooft, try being an English kid in a Scottish school in the mid to late 90s, everytime this Mel Gibson directed Oscar winner showed up on television the next day was pretty hard going. The bagpipes show up in the soundtrack and whilst the film is famously littered with historical inaccuracies (Primae Noctis? Not a real thing. Robert The Bruce? Good guy.) the pipers are not one of them.
Or maybe they are, I mean Mel Gibson was making up most of this as he was going right? Its still a pretty decent film though I’d say.
Hot Rod (2007) Hot Rod is a very funny, sadly mostly forgotten film starring two members of The Lonely Island and a few SNL alumni. Andy Samberg, Danny McBride, Bill Hader, Will Arnett, Isla Fisher and Ian McShane all show up as part of a phenomenal cast in this comedy about a useless stuntman. One of the highlights of the movie occurs near the end where a riot breaks out to the tune of ‘You’re the Voice’ the 1986 John Farnham song. If you know the song you know it features bagpipes and a group of pipers show up in the scene! Its very funny and worth your time tracking down the film on Netflix.
Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness (1993) Considering the notorious nature of the first Evil Dead (one of the so called “video nasties” of the 1980s) Army of Darkness is a relatively light hearted adventure film. Directed by Spiderman director Sam Raimi the film sank without a trace at the box office upon its release before building a skid cult following over the years. The scene in question sees an army of the dead march towards battle with special effects reminiscent of the legendary special effects creator Ray Harryhausen. In it (possibly Scottish) skeletons can be seen playing bagpipes in a weird but striking visual. Check it out in the video below, another film well worth tracking down on Netflix:
Thats all for today but we’ll pop another blog up about bagpipes showing up in movies again over the next week or so.
It was in the press over a week ago but the story of London Mayor Boris Johnson’s introduction of a new “code of conduct” for those playing bagpipes could be seen as a the first step to getting them banned from London entirely! Street musicians that create “piercing sounds like bagpipes” will be forced to move regularly or move to locations with “no flats, offices, shops or hotels.”
The new rules classify bagpipe music as a “repetitive loud sound” that can become annoying quickly which is pretty insulting to the performers. Further many London buskers see this as the first step to introducing a licensing scheme for busking.
Interestingly Alastair Campbell, of all people, has revealed himself to have been a bagpiping busker in his younger days. The former communications director at 10 Downing Street, the man that was a least part of the inspiration for Malcolm Tucker from the Thick of It, came out in protest and stated that he was “a great supporter of buskers in towns and cities.”
To silence the sound of Scottish pipers in London would be a great shame for the atmosphere and culture of the city A spokeswoman for the mayor of London stated: “Bagpipers are very welcome in London and we have many fantastic players. We also welcome feedback on the code of conduct.” So we will have to wait and see where this goes long term.
Now on a lighter note lets leave you with some of Peter Capaldi’s best rants.
Remember the Unipiper? The viral video bagpiper with a panache for dressing up as characters such as Darth Vader, whilst playing bagpipes and riding a unicycle? We spoke about him a couple of weeks ago in a blog post that can be found here. He’s back again, keeping Portland weird, and taking advantage of the hype surrounding the upcoming ‘Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens’ (Christmas can’t come soon enough!) In this video he can be found dressed as the BB-8 Droid from the trailer, you know this guy:
Here the Unipiper is found in the same car park from previous videos, with “Keep Portland Weird” in the background. As ever he has flames coming out of his bagpipes which is as impressive as ever (how does he do that?) It’s also pretty impressive how he manages to keep balanced on a glorified beach ball for the entire video. Pretty sure most of us would end up falling over by the end of the minute long video.
Check it out here:
We would love to know if anyone does any videos like this a bit closer to home, a Scottish Piper doing something a wee bit creative like this feels like a viral video hit n the making! Let us know in the comments if you’ve seen anyone else perform a routine like this that you’ve enjoyed, till then #MayTheFourthBeWithYou.
So you’ve hired a piper for your wedding or event but you’re worried that you’re not going to know any of the music. You don’t mind a few classics but you’d like a few numbers with a bit more of a modern spin on them, worry not! Help is at hand as we offer an exhaustive exploration of modern(ish) chart hits covered on the bagpipes.
Taylor Swift – Shake it off
Not sure what makes this guy the “Official” Taylor Swift bagpipe cover artist (hint: his imagination) but here he is covering this insanely catchy hit from last year. Looking at the guys youtube page few pop starlets escape a cover, your mileage may vary to how successful you find it but theres no doubt he’s putting a unique spin on some of your favourite tracks. Such as…
Katy Perry- Dark Horse
What, no Firework?
Pharrell Williams – Happy
This guys Batman mask is giving us happy flashbacks to the unicycling, fire breathing, Darth Vader that was mentioned here a few weeks ago. You know, this guy:
(Happy #StarWarsDay everyone!)
Whilst visually he can’t compete with the guy keeping Portland weird he makes a good try of it and at least its a cover of the Pharrell hit from the last couple of years we actually like (i.e. not Blurred Lines.)
John Legend – All of Me
This guy wins points for performing this right next to the Clyde in the centre of Glasgow, we like a hometown boy. Big fans of the original and this cover is well worth a listen if you get the chance!
Metallica – Enter Sandman
Ok this one’s a bit of a cheat, being that the song is coming up to it’s 25th anniversary (way to make us feel old passage of time!) but this is pretty cool. The band are called Dudeldrum, they’re from Russia and their musical genre is described as Bagpipe Folk by Youtube, not the kind of band you come across everyday!
Of course if none of these acts are doing it for you maybe its best to stick with the classics. The Elite Bands piper Stuart is available for all sorts of events and functions and can be found here: http://www.elitebands.co.uk/scottish-piper
Whilst he may not cover Metallica or Taylor Swift he adds a touch of class whatever the occasion.