Celtic Music

The Steel City Rovers perform dynamic and expressive music that is a unique composite of traditional Celtic music and North American styles including bluegrass, folk and roots. Their original works touch on issues of love, loss, celebration and heritage and they also breathe life into newly-discovered instrumental melodies from as far back as centuries ago. Their sophisticated arrangements are inviting for the most casual listener but are rewarding for those who are well versed in the nuances of musical complexity. The Rovers stand out for their powerful, emotive vocals and engaging entertainment. They perform on meticulously crafted replicas of historical instruments that rarely appear on today’s musical landscape. This highly active touring band headlines large festival stages, gives intimate concert performances, educates in a variety of workshop and master-class settings and performs internationally with symphonies. They create, collaborate and work hard to further the love and awareness of music.

Jim Malcolm is the ultimate Scots troubadour. Travelling the world with his guitar, harmonicas, and engaging wit, he sings the traditional songs of Scotland and his own masterfully crafted songs in a style which is modern and accessible, yet utterly authentic. He is highly regarded as an interpreter of the songs of Robert Burns, and has been described as “one of the finest singers in Scotland in any style”

Piper Jones Band is centered around beautifully and energetically played Highland bagpipes accompanied by the percussive chords of the bouzouki and drum. In addition to original instrumentals and traditional tunes from Ireland, Scotland, and Appalachia, the group sings powerful harmonies and can lead the audience in traditional Celtic dances. They bring authentic traditional music in an entertaining form. Piper Jones Band seeks to share abundant spirit, life-filled dance tunes, and song – with those who know Celtic music well and with those who are hearing it for the first time.

Jil Chambless and Scooter Muse are two members of the band Henri’s Notions, the longest performing Celtic band in the Southeastern United States (more than 30 years!), Jil and Scooter have also performed frequently in a trio format with Scottish singer Ed Miller at many festivals throughout the US and Scotland.

For the last several years Jil and Scooter have been fortunate to work alongside many of the finest artists in Celtic Music, resulting in many spontaneous collaborations. They have shared the stage with artists such as Brian McNeill, Alastair Fraser, Men of Worth, Alex Beaton, Rathkeltair, Ed Miller, John Taylor, and many others.

Scottish Bagpipes and Drums

The Scots have adopted the bagpipes as symbols of Scottish Nationalism. They are such powerful symbols that after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745-46 the pipes were banned, as were tartan and the kilt, by the Hanoverian government in Britain. The government feared the stirring effect of the pipes on Scottish emotions. During the Proscription a first offense against the restrictions meant a six month prison sentence; those committing a second offense were liable to be transported to the colonies for seven years.

The Great Highland pipes consist of three drones (one bass and two tenor); a blowpipe with a valve to prevent the air from coming back out of the bag while the piper is taking a breath; a chanter with eight finger holes (nine notes), and a bag. Each drone has a single reed, like a clarinet, and the chanter has a double reed, very similar to that of an oboe. The piper plays by blowing in the blowpipe, inflating the bag enough to sound the three drones, then placing the bag under his arm and maintaining enough pressure to sound the chanter, on which the melody is played. The drones are tuned to “A” on the chanter scale, but two octaves lower.

When the tunes for a competition season are selected, the drum sergeant writes settings to accompany the tunes. Several bands in a competition could be playing the same selection of pipe tunes using the same notes and fingering but the drum sections would probably not sound alike. The snare drummers play beatings which are written to complement the pipe music. A Scottish snare drum is designed differently from other marching band snare drums - it has a snare immediately below the batter head (top). That, along with the use of new materials such as Kevlar heads, gives Scottish snare drums a distinctively crisp sound.

The tenor drummers are the drummers who are often seen flourishing their mallets. The tenor drums are tuned to the tenor drones.

The bass drum is tuned to the bass drone. The bass drummer is essentially the Band’s metronome. He maintains the tempo which the Drum or Pipe Major establishes.