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Music of Scotland

Scotland is a Celtic country, located to the north of England on the island of Great Britain. Celtic music has survived more strongly in Scotland than anywhere else except Ireland. As of 2003, there are several Scottish record labels, music festival and a roots magazing, Living Tradition.
 This article is part of the 
Music of the United Kingdom series.
 English folk
 Irish folk
 Scottish folk music
 Welsh folk
 Cornish and Manx folk
 Early British popular music
 1950s and 60s

Many outsiders associate Scottish folk music almost entirely with bagpipes, which has indeed long played an important part of Scottish music. It is, however, not unique or indigenous to Scotland, having been imported around the 15th century and still being in use across Europe and farther abroad. The piobaireachd, or highlands bagpipe, is the most distinctively Scottish form of the instrument; it was created for clan pipers to be used for various, often military or marching, purposes. Piping clans included the MacArthurs, MacDonalds, McKays and, especially, the MacCrimmons.

Table of contents
1 Folk and Ceilidh Music
2 1960s rebirth
3 References

Folk and Ceilidh Music

This takes many forms in a broad musical tradition, although the dividing lines are not rigid, and many artists work across the boundaries.

There are ballads and laments, generally sung by a lone singer with backing, or played on traditional instruments such as harp, fiddle or bagpipes.

Dance music is played across Scotland at dances or ceilidhs. Group dances such as jigs, strathspeys, waltzes and reels, are performed to music provided typically by an ensemble, or dance band, which can include fiddle (violin), bagpipe, accordion and percussion.

There are traditional folk songs, which are generally melodic, haunting or rousing. These are often very region specific, and are performed today by a burgeoning variety of folk groups. Most famous of which is Capercaillie.

Popular songs were originally produced by Music Hall performers such as Harry Lauder and Will Fyffe for the stage. More modern exponents of the style have included Andy Stewart, Glen Daly, Kenneth McKellar and the Alexander Brothers.

Military music, typically massed pipes and drums. Major Scottish regiments maintain bapipe and drum bands which preserve scottish marches, quicksteps, reels and laments. Many towns also have voluntary pipe bands which cover the same repertoire.

1960s rebirth

Like many countries, Scotland underwent a roots revival in the 1960s. Folk music had declined in popularity in the preceeding generation, and numerous young Scots found themselves separated from their country's culture. This new wave of Scottish folk performers were inspired by American traditionalists like Pete Seeger, but soon found their own heroes, including Cathy-Ann McPhee and Jeannie Robertson.

With Irish folk bands like The Chieftains finding widespread popularity, 60s Scottish musicians played in pipe bands and Strathspey and Reel Societies Music had long been primarily a solo affair, until The Clutha, a Glasgow-based group, began solidifying the idea of a Celtic band, which eventually consisted of fiddle or pipes leading the melody, and bouzouki and guitar alongside the vocals. alongside The Clutha were other pioneering Glasgow bands, including The Whistlebinkies and Aly Bain's The Boys of the Lough, both largely instrumental. Scottish folk singing was revived by artists including Ewan MacColl, who founded the first folk club in Britain, and The Gaugers, The Corries, Dick Gaughan and Ian Campbell Folk Group. In the mid-1960s, the most popular group of the Scottish folk revival, the Incredible String Band, began their career in Clive's Incredible Folk Club in Glasgow.

The next wave of bands, including Battlefield Band, Ossian and Alba, featured prominent bagpipers, a trend which climaxed in the 1980s, when Robin Morton's A Controversy of Pipers was released to great acclaim. By the end of the 1970s, lyrics in the Scots-Gaelic language were appearing in songs by Nah-Oganaich and Ossian, with Runrig's Play Gaelic in 1978 being the first major success for Gaelic-language Scottish folk.

More modern musicians include Shooglenifty, innovators of the house fusion acid croft, The Easy Club, a jazz fusion band, Talith MacKenzie and Martin Swan, mouth musicians, pioneering singers Savourna Stevenson, Heather Heywood and Christine Primrose.