Matt Seattle continues his series for pipers playing in sessions

Our third episode gathers together four modern pipe-friendly jigs which are all played in sessions around Scotland. Three lie within the 9-note range; two are composed by pipers; and two aren’t. All four have elements of syncopation which, though not a novel phenomenon in Scottish traditional music, is now more popular than ever. We hope you enjoy playing them.
The Road To Banff, by Aberdeen-based flute and whistle player Malcom Reavell, was published in the TMSA’s The Nineties Collection edited by Ian Hardie, and has since become a session favourite.

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Fiddlers Gavin Marwick and Jonny Hardie both play and have played in many bands, notably Iron Horse and Old Blind Dogs respectively. Gavin informs me that Sandy Broon’s Jig forms part of their collaboration on “a wee suite of tunes for the Blue Lamp in Aberdeen … Sandy Broon is the owner … it’s a good venue for a gig and there’s session nights as well – he’s been encouraging music in the town for years!”


Glasgow-born piper and whistle player Fraser Shaw had a long association with Islay, and was a well-loved and active musician and prolific composer both there and on the mainland. Sadly he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2011, and died in 2015 at the early age of 34. The Fraser Shaw Trust – – was set up in his memory to gather his tunes together in a book and on a CD to raise funds for the relief of multiple sclerosis, particularly in Argyll.
His jig A Bottle Of Vodka, Twenty Marlboro Reds And £50 Cashback, Please! was reputedly composed for Glasgow sound engineer Dave Town. The version here is transcribed from the recording Mac Ìle – The Music Of Fraser Shaw made by a group of Fraser’s friends featuring some of Scotland’s best traditional musicians brought together under the collective name The Islay Sessioners.

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Strains 1 and 2 of The Musselpecker (Scots for oystercatcher) flew by in January after the composer heard the first cheeps of the year while walking along the banks of the Teviot. It was taken up by the session at the Canon in Jedburgh and so just about qualifies for inclusion here. Strains 3 and 4 flew by later and take the syncopation a little further. We shall assume that any Border piper can find c natural on the chanter, and that a skeely Border piper can also find high b.


GRATEFUL ACKNOWLEDGMENTS to Malcolm Reavell, Gavin Marwick, Jonny Hardie, and Gráinne Brady (for Fraser Shaw Trust) for permission to reproduce copyright works.