Since they performed with The Darkness on T in the Park’s main stage in 2004 and walked away with the top prize on UK prime time TV talent show ‘When Will I Be Famous’ in 2007, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers haven’t stopped for breath – other than to inflate their bagpipes! The Chilli’s have fast become a global phenomenon, rocking far flung shores from Bangkok to New York and everywhere in between with their signature ‘bag rock’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbY8eNkaW4k Now these enormously talented musicians are returning to Fife with a performance at the Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline. A fusion of traditional pipe tunes and contemporary anthems is promised. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Isxaq6yuKxE Notable covers performed have included ‘We Will Rock You’ by Queen, ‘Cloks’ by Coldplay and ‘Smoke on the Water’ by Deep Purple, as well as ‘Chasing Cars’ by Snow Patrol and ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ by Journey. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Dc_C0qzGoA The band has released five studio albums – but the live experience is unrivalled! *Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Alhambra, Dunfermline, December 30 www.alhambradunfermline.com
When the Red Hot Chilli Pipers take to the stage at Perth Concert Hall on Friday March 3, it’ll be a particularly poignant occasion for former Strathallan School pupil Harry Richards. Several years ago he was part of the Strathallan School pipe band which performed on stage alongside the Chillis – going on to become a fully-fledged member of the iconic ‘bag-rock’ band himself. But as the current line-up of the Strathallan School band again prepares to join the Chillis on stage, don’t ever dare suggest that the sound of the bagpipes sounds like a strangled cat! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUd0oTNdICc “People often have a preconceived idea of what bagpipes sound like,” says Red Hot Chilli Pipers co-founder Willie Armstrong. “Some people think it sounds like a strangled cat. But pipes are one of the most emotive sounds there is if played properly.” As a former full-time fireman and watch commander with Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, Willie, 52, knows all about feeling the heat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YdkolAEHj4 But it was through the creation of the iconic Red Hot Chilli Pipers in 2002 that the lifelong piper and former Royal Navy man from Cumbernauld got into helping the band start musical fires with their mix of piping and pop. Having played since he was 11, making money from bag pipe playing started off as “having a laugh with his pals” through weddings and corporate work. Yet before long the Chillis, as they became known, were playing worldwide. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwrvHnYpwkk The band was catapulted into the mainstream public eye after winning the BBC 1 television show, “When Will I be Famous,” in 2007. The band was named Live Act of the Year 2007 by the Scots Trad Music Awards, and its “Bagrock to the Masses” and “Blast Live” recordings reached platinum sales status in Scotland and a UK Silver disc, with combined sales of more than 130,000 copies. “People always ask if we thought it would get to the scale it has,” laughs Willie. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kj2i4IR_az0 “I remember playing at a stadium in France once. Jimme O’Neill from The Silencers was there. I went up to him - I wasn’t wearing my piping garb – and said I was one of his biggest fans. He said he was there to see the Red Hot Chilli Pipers!” Willie says the success of the Chilli Pipers “just all happened – it was not planned”. “The only time I got nervous was in front of 80,000 people at Hyde Park or on the last night piping at T in the Park when the crowds stretched as far as the eye could see,” he adds. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMFtWeBJPZk Yet most of the time, an “unconscious confidence that the fingers know what they are doing” carries them through on stage, where they put on “more of a show than a concert.” *Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Perth Concert Hall, March 3 www.horsecross.co.uk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttvBEBPrmu4
With the dust barely settled on Perth’s biggest weekend of the year, details have been revealed of another major city centre celebration. Saturday’s Christmas light switch-on attracted more than 40,000 people and was followed on Sunday by a community day of culture. On Sunday Perth hosts its most ambitious St Andrew’s Day celebrations to date. "As Scotland's oldest, and newest city, it's right that our celebrations for St Andrew's Day reflect the mix of respect for tradition, and exciting outdoor events which Perth epitomises,” said Provost Liz Grant. "We have made a tradition of holding the annual St Andrew's Day parade and procession in a different part of Perth and Kinross. “This year the city centre and St Ninian's Cathedral will act as host, and I am grateful to their support in organising this year's event. "In the afternoon Perth will once again prove why it's the place for great outdoor events with the best of modern Scottish music from Dougie MacLean, The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, and more, and a great selection of Scottish food and drink produce to enjoy." The Fair City's celebration of Scotland's national day will start with a civic parade leaving at 10.25am from outside the council buildings at 2 High Street, Perth. The parade, which will be led by Perth and District Pipe Band, will then make its way to St Ninian's Cathedral via North Methven Street. The parade will include members of the historic Society of High Constables of the City of Perth, representatives from youth organisations and local schools, community representatives and groups, councillors and chief officers of Perth and Kinross Council and invited guests. The church service will start at 11am in St Ninian's Cathedral and there will be no return parade. From 12 noon to 5pm there will be the opportunity to enjoy the best of modern Scottish music on the King Edward Street stage with Reely Jiggered, Mad Ferret, The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, and Dougie MacLean. In between dancing the crowds can also pay a visit to The Scotland Street Marketplace to sample some of the finest food and drink from Scotland's natural larder at our King Edward Street outdoor market.
Stuart Cassells has made his first public piping performance on an open arena since retiring from the Red Hot Chilli Pipers. At Perth Highland Games on Sunday, he played a rendition of When the Battle's Over as Provost Liz Grant looked on. He also played Green Hills of Tyrol with delighted members of the St John's College pipe band, who had travelled from Harare in Zimbabwe to be part of the Games. Stuart, who now manages the Famous Grouse Experience, left the Red Hot Chilli Pipers in 2011 after the medical condition he was first diagnosed with at the age of 19 - focal hand dystonia - got worse. The condition, which primarily affects his left hand, causes involuntary muscular contractions, meaning he can only play for short periods of time. FHD affects one in 200 musicians because of the rapid and precise hand movements they use. The Red Hot Chilli Pipers were founded in 2002 and are world famous for their unique versions of rock and pop tracks and modern takes on traditional tunes.
Pipe dreams do come true. Aberlour residents in Dunfermline were in for a piping hot treat when one of Scotland’s biggest bands put on a special surprise gig. Robert Morrison, 17, Jamie Thomas, 22, and Brandon Anderson, 22, will lead off the walkers at the Edinburgh Kiltwalk on Sunday as they take big steps to raise money for the charity which has done so much to help them, the Aberlour Child Care Trust. To help spur them on ahead of the big day, the Kiltwalk team arranged a very special surprise – a private performance from their favourite band, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers. Piper Harry Richard and guitarist Ben Holloway brought the house down with a once in a lifetime concert for the residents. https://youtu.be/ubJmk0nklQs The world’s most famous bagpipe band, who recently released their 9/11 anniversary single 343 The Fallen in collaboration with the Fire Department of New York, once again showed their charitable side ahead of their performance at the Kiltwalk closing party. Robert, who stays at Aberlour’s Dunfermline residence, will be walking the five mile “Wee Wander” on Sunday. He said: “It’s a moment I’ll never forget. “They were incredible and we all wanted it to go on forever. We were all singing and dancing. I can’t stop smiling. “I can’t wait to see them perform again on Sunday. “We’re walking to give back to the charity which has helped me and my friends throughout my life. “I can’t wait to lead the walkers who are all doing something amazing.” The Royal Bank of Scotland Kiltwalk will see thousands of participants don their kilts and raise money for a host of children’s charities. Getting under way at Murrayfield, the event sees 100% of funds raised by participants go straight to Scotland’s children’s charities. Chief executive Paul Cooney said: “It was a real pleasure to meet these three impressive young guys and their friends and colleagues and hear why they are walking and the difference Kiltwalk funds has already made to their lives. “I couldn’t think of three better candidates to lead off our walkers this Sunday in Edinburgh. “The Red Hot Chilli Pipers’ visit to Aberlour is a memory that will last a lifetime for them, and me. “Their performance on Sunday will be a well-deserved treat at the end of a tough, but enjoyable day for our walkers who are taking part to raise money for charities close to their hearts in the final Kiltwalk of 2016.” To register for the Kiltwalk, sign-up at www.thekiltwalk.co.uk and choose a charity to support.
Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...
Huge crowds gathered at the weekend as Perth came alive in a riot of colour and music. Perth Racecourse was the first destination as racing fans made the Summer Carnival fixture - the only Saturday event on the calendar - a sell-out success. There was plenty of bright sunshine to be enjoyed, which was fortunate as a bus breakdown caused lengthy queues on approaches to the venue and led many to abandon vehicles and finish their journey on foot. Fitting in with the carnival vibe, crowds were entertained by magicians, carnival stilt walkers and evening music from tribute act UB40 Homegrown. On Sunday, the attention shifted to the Perth Salute, which brought pipe bands and musical acts from around the world to the city. They began with a parade along Tay Street before staging a triumphant 50 minute performance on the North Inch. The event was inspired by last year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo outreach performance in the city and saw an eclectic line-up assembled. Acts included the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Perth and District Pipe Band, Beats of Brazil and the Criterion Jazz Band. The Japanese Central Band and The Indian Naval Band, who are currently in Scotland to perform at the 2017 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, also joined the event.
The sounds of some of Scotland's most popular live musicians will echo through the streets of Perth today. The city's St Andrew's Day Scottish Festival begins with a parade from 2 High St at 10.25, led by Perth and District Pipe Band. Thereafter, the musical focus shifts to King Edward Street, where Dougie MacLean and the Red Hot Chilli Pipers will headline. Also taking to the stage will be Mad Ferret and Reely Jiggered, with all the acts on stage between midday and 5pm. All the while, all manner of stalls will be serving fine foods and drink to accompany the offering from the city's cafes, bars and restaurants.
Bagpipe super group The Red Hot Chilli Pipers entertained crowds in Perth as part of the city centre St Andrews Day celebrations. The musicians were one of a number of acts to grace the stage at a special Scottish market on St John Street. Also on stage was The Voice UK winner Stevie McCrorie and local group The Mad Ferret Band. The entertainment was rounded off by the Perth and Vale of Atholl Pipe Bands. The event, which also features a number of Scottish-themed stalls, was hosted by BBC Radio Scotland presenter Grant Stott. Sunday also saw hundreds of runners take to the streets of Perth for a MoRun event. The 5k and 10k races are in support of the The Movember Foundation – a charity tackling men’s health issues. Across the rest of Perth and Kinross three communities were celebrating Christmas light switch on events over the weekend. Kinross kicked off the festivities on Friday night with a street market, with the light-up event taking place at 7pm. Alyth Christmas Lights committee held their event in the Square on Saturday evening. With the local community council not in operation at the moment there was no citizen of the year to perform the ceremony, so it was done by Rod MacFarlane, chair of the lights committee. The switch-on followed a parade from the Guide Hut down Airlie Street led by Alyth and District Pipe Band under the direction of Pipe Major Gordon Barton, and Santa on a motorised sleigh. Also on Saturday around 1,000 revellers attend Crieff's annual Christmas lights switch-on in the town's James Square. The event featured street performances and a children's party organised by the Crieff At Christmas volunteer group, whose members have raised around £20,000 to ensure the town is lit up over the festive season.
An Angus councillor has stepped down from a Tartan Day working group in disgust at the decision to pay the Red Hot Chilli Pipers more than £3,000 to perform for black tie guests. Mark Salmond said he could not support the spending of Angus taxpayers' money for the 30-minute spot by the kilted ensemble at the 2012 Connections Dinner at the Carnoustie Golf Hotel. The Courier can reveal that the working group booked the Red Hot Chilli Pipers after throwing out the suggestion of booking Blazin' Brass from Carnoustie as it would have been ''inappropriate''. Mr Salmond told The Courier: ''I've been working for the past two months to try to persuade my working group that this wasn't possibly the best idea in the current economic climate on how we should be spending taxpayers' money. I was the lone voice in the group and unfortunately I could not persuade them and the act has been booked. ''As the convener responsible for finance, morally I can't support the spending of council taxpayers' money in this way. I have worked very hard over the last five years in Angus to bring forward well thought out and competent budgets to protect the front-line services as far as I possibly can. ''Morally for me to pay over £3,000 to bring in entertainers for a 30-minute performance is a step too far for me and I personally could not have justified that to any member of the public. There was just no way in a million years I was going to accept this decision so I have tendered my resignation. ''I support Tartan Week and I think it's fantastic for Angus, but my main problem was with the payment of a professional act. I suggested that there were many talented amateurs in Angus that we could use to showcase what Angus has to offer but it was put to me that, given the VIP guests that were attending, it would be inappropriate to have amateurs and we would really need professionals.'' The working group also includes Provost Ruth Leslie Melville, council leader Bob Myles and Councillor David May. The black tie dinner is part of the council's programme of events and celebrations and will feature guests such as US Consul General Dana Linnet. Angus Alliance councillor Peter Nield said he knew nothing about the working group and was furious when he found out about the Red Hot Chilli Pipers being booked. He said: ''It is a sad affair. To snub local talent is awful. As an Alliance member we knew nothing about the Tartan Day sub-committee that Councillor Salmond was on. We never received copies of the minutes and I was furious when I found out about the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and made my own inquiries. ''As the education convener I wanted to know why the Carnoustie award-winning brass band was not used, which includes a significant number of children. I then was told by a leading member of the Alliance that he and an officer from the economic development department had agreed they were not good enough. I find this insulting.'' Arbroath councillor Jim Millar said: ''I back Councillor Salmond's decision to step down from the steering group. Balancing the books is becoming increasingly difficult, and I find it hard to justify spending money on this at a time when the task of delivering core services is becoming extremely challenging. ''I support the Tartan Day celebrations but money spent on them must be for events that are accessible to all.'' Angus Provost Ruth Leslie Melville said: ''The Tartan Day Connections Dinner brings together an eclectic and influential, international audience to celebrate the very best of Scotland. I am immensely proud that Angus hosts this prestigious event, as are the local, national and international companies that support it. It is testimony to the value of the event that even in these especially difficult financial times they have the business acumen to recognise the unique opportunity it offers to promote Angus' vision and confidence and celebrate Scotland's success and talent. ''My pride in Angus has increased dramatically in the last five years when as provost I have experienced the depth and breadth of creativity and enterprise in the county. Angus has a unique place in the Tartan Day celebrations and in our communities the very best of our local talent will be out in force. ''The Red Hot Chilli Pipers are wonderful entertainers and fantastic ambassadors for Scotland.'' It's not the first time musicians, Angus Council, Tartan Day and a £3,000 bill have hit the headlines. In 2005, Laura McGhee was at the centre of a wrangle over the cost of her involvement in Tartan Day celebrations. Two opposition councillors questioned the £3,000 bill for sending the violinist to New York to play. It came as members of the strategic policy committee were asked to support the outlay on the Monifieth musician's trip to perform her own composition, The Arbroath Suite, in Times Square and under the Statue of Liberty. Councillors were told Laura would showcase her work at Arbroath Abbey at sunset on April 4 and at sunrise on April 6 on Liberty Island. At the time, independent councillor Bob Myles, who is now on the Tartan Day working group, said: ''I am all for promoting talent but I feel £3,000 for sending one person along seems excessive.'' He said shelling out the cash had to be seen against the background of expense faced by parents in Angus keen to see their offspring learn music. SNP councillor Alex King defended the spending as ''well worth it''. The committee finally agreed to spend the cash. Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Wire