It says much for the spread of Gordon Duncan's musical exploits that, in the fifth year of these tribute concerts and with many colleagues already called upon, Saturday still saw two former Duncan outlets making their debuts in the series.
Quite different they are too, with the ScottishPower Pipe Band playing magnificently in a style that carries their own tradition forward early on and Wolfstone’s tight fusion of the bagpipe and fiddle traditions with hard-rockin’ rhythms rattling towards the finale.
The unifying forces for these disparate performances, and indeed for all the participants in a handsome celebration of a talent taken from us far too soon, are the unabashed love and respect for a man who left behind memories of daring and technically immaculate bagpipe playing, a catalogue of great tunes that are part of the fabric of Scottish traditional music, and stories of a glorious rascal.
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Gordon Walker captured all these factors with his opening solo piping set, adding a heartfelt lament for another, more recently departed piper, Alasdair Gillies, and the tunes kept coming. Julie Fowlis’s band weaved a magical Soup Dragon into the singer’s winsome Gaelic song set. The effervescent whistle, pipes, fiddle, frets and box team of Ross Ainslie, Charlie McKerron, Marc Clement and Tim Edey re-energised The Jig Of Beer, and a mighty session version of The High Drive formed a rousing coda. But not before guitar-mandolin duo Wingin’ It, Orcadian fiddler Kristan Harvey and singer-songwriter Gordon Duncan Jr contributed their ideas and strong musical personalities in keeping with the Gordon Duncan spirit.