‘Names and Places 2023’ concert gets big-name endorsements
Ticket sales for the afternoon Names and Places 2023 concert on Saturday, February 4th, at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall are reportedly strong, probably in no small part to several video endorsements from some of the biggest names in piping and drumming lending their voice to the impact that the music of Vale of Atholl and the inspirational leadership that Pipe-Major Ian Duncan had on their own pipe band careers.
Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe-Major Richard Parkes is the latest to chime in by video, joining the likes of Inveraray & District Pipe-Major Stuart Liddell, solo piping and former ScottishPower and Spirit of Scotland Pipe-Major Roddy MacLeod, and the accomplished piper, teacher and recording artist Dougie Pincock.
The concert pays homage to the relatively little-known 1990 album, Names and Places, made by four members of Grade 1 Vale of Atholl – Duncan, Adrian Melvin, Malcolm Robertson and Gary West – and the since-disbanded Celtic folk group Eclipse First.
Though not well known, the album is seen as a landmark recording, melding original Highland bagpipe and pipe band music with Celtic folk considered contemporary at the time.
The role of Eclipse First will be taken up by Tryst, which features multi-instrumentalist-pipers Finlay MacDonald, Ross Ainslie, Lorne MacDougall and Ali Hutton, along with Mairearad Green on accordion, John Martin on fiddle, harpist Maggie MacInnes, Owen Sinclair on guitars, bouzouki player Calum McIlroy, Craig Baxter on percussion, James Lindsay on bass and keys, with Damien Malarde of Brittany handling bombarde.
“The Vale were out there playing music that they enjoyed playing and they enjoyed presenting it to the public.” – Richard Parkes
All four pipers who made the original album will take the stage, with Melvin and Robertson flying in from their current homes in the United States, and Inveraray & District snare drummer Gus Sicard is managing all of the percussion.
Names and Place will be the second half of the show, and the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland will take the first half, including banging out several classic sets by Vale of Atholl, a band that was in the 1980s and ’90s as musically creative, irreverent and fun as any band in history.
Though the band consistently contended for first at major championships, it made a lasting mark through music, driven in large part by the creative minds of those four members, plus luminaries like Stuart Cassells, Angus Clarke, Adrian Cramb, Brian Lamond, Chris Ross, Stevie Smalls, and, most of all, the late Gordon Duncan.
Amazingly, there are still good tickets (£19-24) remaining for the event, which takes the annual “pipe band concert” as part of the Celtic Connections music festival.
Due to personal commitments, Cassells has had to drop out at emcee, and will be replaced by the familiar event host Bob Worrall.