From a very young age I was surrounded by all sorts of different musical tastes. Spending weekends with my Grandparents on my Mum's side of the family (who come from the North East and the Isle of Lewis) I would be forced to spend my Saturday night's listening to "Take the Floor" with Raaabbie Shepherd, well maybe not forced, I was quite the choochter actually and rather enjoyed listening to bagpipes, accordions and Gaelic singing. (That picture is Robbie by the way)
In fact it got to a stage where I even had my own set of mini bagpipes which I played at my uncles wedding when I was around the age of 6 although the actual bagpipes made absolutely no sound. There is in fact a video of the occasion - somewhere - which inspired a composer from the Isle of Lewis called Ian Crichton to dedicate a pipe tune to me called Master Cameron Mathieson Brown. God I must have been a right wee tosser in that video - "Master". Believe it or not I got the shock of my life listening to Take the Floor and actually hearing it on the radio, all be it not a particularly popular radio program. Anyway, this led to me eventually taking up the chanter at the age of 9 and then moving onto the bagpipes when I was about 11. I can safely say instruments open up all sorts of opportunities for people to travel , socialise and experience new things, but the bagpipes are in a league of their own providing the musician with an abundance of conversation and alcohol (maybe i've got that the wrong way round) . I've travelled to Bulgaria and France with the pipes and its quite a good way of saying hello to people , well maybe not so much the French, as well as travelling all over Scotland playing at festivals, highland games and even . . . sheep shearing festivals in places as normal as Auchtermuchty to the stunning mountains of the Applecross Peninsula (easily one of the most jaw dropping places i have ever been to).
The Applecross festival trip was quite an event, I was playing with a battle reenactment group known as Clan Alba ( they were kind of like a Scottish take on hippies but with less weed) and we made the lengthy journey on a road which only first saw tarmac a decade or so ago. Not to mention we were travelling in a converted Royal Mail van fitted with a variety of old car seats bolted to . . . something and a collection of spears, pikes, battle axes and claymores at our feet. Anyway that is a brief overview of why I play the bagpipes and a taster of some of the great experiences I have had playing the instrument. Not even spoke about the music yet !