Portree pupils to perform with the “Jimi Hendrix of Pipes”

Four youngsters from Skye will open for well-known bagpiper Fred Morrison ahead of his concert next Thursday in the Aros Centre in Portree.

Stewart Taylor, Marlin Lewis and siblings Dougal and Frieda McKiggan have been given the opportunity to play with the revered piper. As well as his successful and prolific solo career, Morrison has been a member of Scottish groups Clan Alba and Capercaillie and featured with the latter in the Hollywood movie ‘Rob Roy’. More recently, he saw the world premiere of his first orchestral composition “Paracas: Rhapsody of the Gael” performed by over a hundred musicians during the opening concert of Celtic Connections.

Morrison played the pipes from an early age and his outstanding technical prowess led him to win many top competitions before he left school. His uniquely expressive style has earned him an unusual title — “the Jimi Hendrix of Pipes”.

Though his first-love remains the Highland bagpipe, Fred Morrison is a master of whistles, Scottish smallpipes and Irish uilleann pipes. He was also pivotal in reviving interest in reel pipes, a once-rare variety which uses the same fingering style as other Highland pipes but with a softer, sweeter tone.

The four young pipers who will open next week’s concert attend Portree High School and are all members of the Isle of Skye Piping Society. Skye schools piping tutor, Ian Ruari Finlayson, said: “It can sometimes be hard to get young pipers to perform but they’re chomping at the bit to play with a renowned world-class piper. All the kids know of him and they’re really keen to play with him.”

Next Thursday’s concert starts at  7.30pm.