Celebrating Gordon’s Musical Treasure

Various Artists -  A Celebration of the Music of Gordon Duncan, A National Treasure
Various Artists – A Celebration of the Music of Gordon Duncan, A National Treasure
Various Artists

A Celebration of the Music of Gordon Duncan, A National Treasure (Greentrax, 2008)

In 2007 Scottish musicians got together to celebrate the music of piper and composer Gordon Duncan. Duncan died at age 41 and he was one of the most reputable performers and composers in modern Scottish history.

The CD Celebrating of the Music of Gordon Duncan, A National Treasure begins with a a pipe band introduction by Atholl Highlanders Pipe Band and transitions to the masterful uilleann bagpipe of Iarlath Henderson and the Concert Band. The album continues with a compelling a cappella song in Gaelic by Jock Duncan, Gordon’s father.

The accordion and fiddles of Session A9 (originally formed by Charlie McKerson of Capercallie) perform a swinging Celtic version of two pieces, one of which was composed by Gordon Duncan. This is followed by powerful traditional Breton music on bombarde and bagpipe by Sylvain Hamon and Steven Bodénes.

Evocative Gaelic singer and clarsach player Maggie MacInness brings tranquility and melancholy to the album with the mesmerizing Thig an Smeorach as t-Earrach (The Thrush Will Come in the Spring).

Gordon Duncan composed music for many types of instrumentation. The National Youth Pipe Band plays "The ’98" by Gordon Duncan, a pice that he recorded on his album Thunderstruck in 2001.

The Pan-Celtic collaborations continue with the charming melody of the Asturian piece "Añada pa Gael" featuring master piper Xosé Manuel Tejedor (Asturias, Spain), fiddler Duncan Chisholm and The Concert Band.

Scottish piper provides his contemporary view of the Scottish bagpipe accompanied by Eamon Coyne on banjo (an American folk instrument that is now widely used in the British Isles). Coyne joins singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kris Drever on the next piece, the memorable song "Steel and Stone," from Drever’s album Black Water.

Iarlath Henderson returns and joins forces with banjoist Eamon Coyne and The Concert Band, playing traditional instrumental music arranged by Gordon Duncan.

The legendary folk singer Dougie MacLean, accompanied by Ross Ainslie, sings Charlotte, composed by MacLean and Gordon Duncan and which "grew from the strong friendship and musical understanding that existed for many years between Dougie and Gordon," according to the liner notes.

The album concludes with a grand finale, with a pipe rock medley which features outstanding dual bagpipes playing the music of Gordon Duncan performed by pipers Ross Ainslie, Ali Hutton and The Concert Band .

Gordon’s son, also named Gordon, is a multi-instrumentalist and sat with the House Band during the concert, playing percussion and guitar.

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Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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