October 31, 2004

Luke Allan passes away

Luke Allan, one of the most popular and musical personalities in the pipe band world, has died in Halifax, Nova Scotia, after a fight with cancer.

Originally from Scotland, Luke Allan immigrated to Canada in the 1970s, settling in Ontario. He was bass-drummer with the City of Toronto and General Motors pipe bands in the 1970s and early-’80s, but he made his most significant mark with the 78th Fraser Highlanders during that band’s most successful years in the 1980s.

He was with the 78th Frasers when it won the 1987 World Pipe Band Championship, and his dynamic and innovative playing can be appreciated on that band’s Live In Ireland recording of the same year.

Allan moved back to Scotland for a period in the 1990s, and played with the Polkemmet Pipe Band, but then settled back in Canada, joining the 78th Highlanders (Halifax) Pipe Band for the past three years.

Respected by every person who knew and heard him, Luke Allan played a major role in the use of the bass-drum with pipe bands. His control of dynamics and timing was often stunning, and his sound and presence in any pipe band he played with was an ensemble differentiator.

The legendary Alex Duthart frequently said that Luke Allan was the world’s greatest pipe band drummer, and often referred to him as a musical genius.

A full appreciation of Luke Allan will be included in the December 2004 print edition of the Piper & Drummer magazine.

On behalf of the entire piping and drumming world, our condolences go to Luke Allan’s family and his many friends around the world.




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