So long 2013, Hello 2014

It’s been 6 months since the last new post, and it has been a truly amazing 6 months!

August was, as usual, a crazy month with the World Pipe Band Championships and much more.  But, before that, I was off to Derry to take part in the Derry Feis with the Campbells of Greepe.  It’s the North West’s largest celebration of Irish musical culture celebrating Irish language, verse and drama, as well as the famous Irish Dancing competition and vocal choirs.  We had a couple of events there, including a very wet one out in the street, but both were great fun to take part in.  Oh, and their CD should be released this month!  The shows were both broadcast online, here’s one of the sets from the main concert with myself on C Smallpipes.

The Campbells of Greepe ‘Maighdeannan, MacShìthich, Dà Thàbh, Fear a’ Choire’ at Fleadh Live from Fleadh Cheoil on Vimeo.

Unusually, for me, being in Derry meant that I missed quite a lot of the World Pipe Band Championships week and also Piping Live but I did manage to make it back on the Thursday for a wee play at the Street Cafe.  Also that week was the premiere of a show I had been involved with since May called “This is Ceilidh” at the Edinburgh festival which involved me having a pipe off with the all girl pipes and drum group “Skirls Aloud”.  Here’s a wee clip from the rest of the Ceilidh.

On the 6th November, we finally launched Breathe – the new album by the Red Hot Chilli Pipers which I coproduced and performed on then it was off for a 3 week tour of Austria and some of the surrounding countries with Joy Dunlop.  I was then back to London to put together and perform music for the unveiling of a new sculpture for the Famous Grouse Whisky company.  An unlikely group of musicians signifying classical, rock, jazz and folk got together and performed the Beatles’ song “Come together” as well as pieces from our individual genres, it was surreal – but worked well, I think.

Onto the Winter and I’m off on a tour with a band who I have listened and loved since I got into Traditional Music – the Tannahill Weavers.  I was thrilled to join them on this short tour of the Netherlands before hopefully joining them for more music in 2014.  As ever, some of the gigs were caught on camera so here are some clips that I have been sent.  As usual, including some very unflattering angles!

On returning from the Netherlands I was thrilled to be revisiting the score from Brave as part of Patrick Doyle’s 60th Birthday celebration alongside Emma Thompson, Derek Jacobi on stage and countless other celebs in the audience.  It was also great to be once again playing with the thrill of an Orchestra, this time the London Symphony Orchestra.

A couple of reviews have been sent to me.

Being a bit of a Pixar lover as well (who isn’t, really?), I really enjoyed the “Brave: Suite,” which featured a selection of snippits from the film score. Featuring Lorne MacDougall and Callum Stewart (on the bagpipes and uilleann pipes, respectively), the music took me back to the movie itself. It was quite fun to listen to – and to be honest, I’m growing more fond of the bagpipes the more I hear them.

The Sound of London

Further standout moments came with a lengthy and very colourful suite from Pixar’s Brave, with glorious piping from Lorne MacDougall and Calum Stewart (Bagpipes and Uilleann Pipes respectively).

Michael Beek

Final bow at the end of the night.
Then things calmed down into December, where I have been spending a lot of time on my New Voices commission at Celtic Connections – there’s a lot of work still to be done but I’m really looking forward to it all coming together.  It takes place at the Mitchel Theatre in Glasgow at 1pm on 26th January.

Today’s première of Collisions sees him playing six different varieties of bagpipe, accompanied by guitars, strings, bass, percussion and vocals, exploring and reconfiguring his instrument’s diverse stylistic guises from Gaelic song to gothic rock, solo competition to contemporary folk.

I’ve got some very special guests also!

So, Happy New Year to everyone – hope 2014 is a good one for you all and I hope to be playing for you at some point through out it!


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