The Battlefield Band “Moving Forward with Scotland’s Past”

The Battlefield Band “Moving Forward with Scotland’s Past”

Camp Hill – Playing the traditional music of Scotland along with self-penned pieces, the Battlefield Band has been performing on the international scene for more than three decades. The group draws inspiration from a homeland rich in Celtic heritage and the modern Scottish cultural scene. They tour outside of Scotland about five months each year; most frequently in the United States, Germany and the Celtic regions of Spain and France. They will appear in concert on Saturday, November 6th at the Camp Hill United Methodist Church in a concert sponsored by the Susquehanna Folk Music Society. Information at www.sfmsfolk.org.

This show will be one of the last for Alan Reid, the final remaining founding member of the band. Alan will be retiring soon after a long illustrious career. He is well known and loved for his dry humor, terrific singing voice and excellent songwriting abilities. He will be missed.

During a recent phone call to Scotland I caught up with the band’s manager Robin Morton and three band member Ewen Henderson, Alasdair White and Mike Katz. I was curious how the band has changed throughout the years and Robin told me was that what people comment on most is the frequent alterations in the band’s line-up. “We always say that the band is more like a music college, “he says “an evolving group of musicians that bring new ideas, new music, new instruments and new attitudes while at the same time learning the skills they need for successful music careers.”

Case in point is the newest band member Ewen Henderson. Ewen is a 23 year old multi-instrumentalist (fiddle, bagpipes, whistle, piano, vocal) who comes from a musical family who has been seeped in traditional music for many generations. (Past family members were the pipers for the Glencoe McDonalds) He is a Gaelic speaker and is the first band member to bring Gaelic singing to the stage.

Mike Katz (Highland Pipe, small pipe) has played in the band for 13 years. The bagpipes are considered the national instrument of Scotland, so I asked him if they are important in the band as well. “The Battlefield Band was the first Scottish band to use the bagpipes in a multi-instrumental sort of ensemble, “he said “the instrument continues to be central all that we do. It’s a very important instrument in Scottish traditional music.”

In closing I asked Alasdair White (fiddle, whistle, and bouzouki) to describe what an audience member would experience at a Battlefield Band concert. “Its bagpipes, some songs and generally a lot of good humor,” he said “we try to put on the best show that we can. It’s just a fun night of five guys playing the music of where they are from.”

 To find out more about The Battlefield Band, visit their Website at http://www.battlefieldband.co.uk/

Concert Details:

The Susquehanna Folk Music Society presents The Battlefield Band, 7:30 pm Saturday, November 6, 2010 at the Camp Hill United Methodist Church, 417 South 22nd Street in Camp Hill. Admission is $22.  Information at http://www.susquehannafolk.org

Written by Jess Hayden and published, with some alterations, Showcase Now Magazine, October/Nov 2010

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