School of Scots and Gaelic traditional song, music and dance – v 3.0

School of Scots and Gaelic traditional song, music and dance

The annual School of Scots and Gaelic traditional song, music and dance, organised by Càirdeas nam Piobairean, Hamish Moore’s fellowship of pipers is in full swing in Barga.

The school is now on day four and the music, song and the dance is taking place in various locations around the city.

Situated close to Porta Reale in Barga Vecchia, the studio/workshop of Gabriele Bombardi and Manuela Bollati was one of those locations that resounded to the sound of the pipes and dancing.

Hard shoe percussive step dance and Scotch Reels in which step dance was an integral part were danced in the Highlands and possibly all over Scotland for that matter. When pipes were used to provide accompanying dance music it was vital, and makes perfect sense, that the tempi and rhythms of the music were that of the dance rhythms. If the tempo and rhythm varied from that required, then the dancer would be unable to dance and accurately provide the percussive accompaniment to the tunes vital to the team that is the musician and the dancer. The two have a symbiotic and interdependent relationship.- Hamish Moore

With the new and larger space, Bombardi has been able to expand his work beyond just repairing wind instruments to encompass other artistic endeavours.

The evidence of his creative drive is everywhere in the newly renovated gallery, which promises to become a hub for artistic activity in the region.

Càirdeas nam Pìobairean (Hamish Moore’s organisation, The Fellowship of Pipers) presented the 2023 School of Traditional Scots and Gaelic Song, Music and Dance in Barga.

Hamish Moore established a similar school, “Ceòlas”, in the heartland of Gaelic culture on The Hebridean island of South Uist over twenty years ago. The coined name, Ceòlas is a combination of two Gaelic words namely, ceòl which means music and eòlas which means understanding.

So – what of Barga and the School here?

Firstly the school will eschew the stereotypical view of what Scottish Culture is – the parody of itself which was a politically motivated creation.

They will be rediscovering and celebrating with the help of the best of their tradition bearers their beautiful past traditions which have been saved for them, are now main stream, and represent a living tradition. The school in Barga is just a small strand of the exciting movement which has overtaken Scotland.

More than this they will be breaking down the artificially created barriers between the different elements of our tradition.

For this reason they study two disciplines, each interrelated and they will come together at the end of each day for an integrated session. Each of these parts when re-united will support and enhance each other and the product will be greater than the sum of the parts. There will be tears of joy and sadness when alchemy is achieved.

Barga will provide the rest: – the wonderful welcoming people, the spectacular food, the beauty of the city where magic happens and the chance and random meetings will constantly take place in piazzas and inspire a tune or a song – living – soaring – maybe even to heaven. — Hamish Moore

Hamish Moore has been inducted into the Scottish traditional music hall of fame (article here)

The Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame is dedicated to giving acknowledgement and recognition to musicians and industry people who, by their dedication and hard work, have supported and influenced the development of Scottish traditional music during their lives.
BOTH as a piper and as a pipemaker, Hamish Moore has had a vital influence on the Scottish piping scene over the past three decades, particularly in what has become known as the “cauld wind revival” – the renaissance of Scotland’s hitherto forgotten bellows-blown bagpipes.

A time-served piper from a family of pipers, since the mid-1980s, Hamish has been producing – latterly with the help of his son, Fin – high quality sets of Scottish small pipes and Border pipes, with such success that the firm has closed its order books until it catches up with its waiting list.

In concerts and recordings, Hamish’s playing has carried the torch for a revival of interest in bellows-blown pipes which has seen them become commonplace on the piping and wider folk scene, compared to 30 years ago when they seemed the arcane, antiquarian interest of a few enthusiasts.


All articles by Hamish Moore on barganews can be seen here