Articles by: Calderwood, Ross

Tools of the Trade Aug 2016 in Chanter 2016 Autumn

I first encountered bellows smallpipes in the late 80s at the Holmfirth Folk Festival. On the Saturday there was an open stage bagpipe event. The variety wasn’t on the scale of The Blow Out, but this was my introduction to one of the main bagpipes of the British Islands. Among the Northumbrian, Union, and Highland pipes, someone was playing a set of highland fingered smallpipes. I fell in love with the open, almost Northumbrian type sound, and the fingering was the same as I had learned as an eight year old at my local pipe band in Port Glasgow.

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I received the offer to review Bagpipes; A National Collection of a National Instrument from my English friend James Merryweather due to me being a genuine ‘Scotch piper’, and can now say how glad I am for taking up the request. This book now takes its place on my shelf next to the likes of John G. Gibson’s Traditional Gaelic Piping and William Donaldson’s Highland Bagpipes and Scottish Societies. In the same vein as these works, it founds its material on up to date contemporary evidence, whilst constantly leaving the door open for future research and interpretation.

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Bagpipes in the West Highland Museum Sep 2019 in Chanter 2019 Autumn

Bagpipes in the West Highland Museum by Ross Calderwood and James Merryweather In April 2019, the two of us visited Fort William to examine properly the bagpipes we had previously seen on display at the museum there, inaccessible behind glass but recognised as, at the very least, interesting. Having gained the interest and trust of the curator, we were also shown boxes of complete and incomplete bagpipes which the museum had insufficient space for display.

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