Traditional music from across Scotland

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  • People enjoying a traditional music session in the bar of Hootananny, Inverness
    A traditional music session in the bar of Hootananny, Inverness
  • Kirkwall Pipe Band playing outside St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney
    Kirkwall Pipe Band outside St Magnus Cathedral, Orkney
  • Red Hot Chilli Pipers playing onstage
    Red Hot Chilli Pipers playing onstage
  • A pipe band marching at the World Pipe Band Championships, Glasgow Green
    The World Pipe Band Championships, Glasgow Green

The grandeur of the bagpipes, the toe-tapping music of the fiddle and accordion, the proud custom of Gaelic song and the relaxing sounds of the clarsach. Now is the perfect time to explore the richness of Scotland’s diverse traditional music

Scotland’s national instrument, the bagpipes, appears in many different forms, from pipe bands and traditional folk and ceilidh bands to solo performances, buskers and as an accompaniment to Highland dancing. The distinctive sound is synonymous with Scotland, and popular Red Hot Chilli Pipers offer this with a twist, blending bagpipe and rock music.

Immerse yourself in traditional reels, jigs and waltzes and enjoy the party spirit of a ceilidh. Don’t worry if you don’t know all the steps to the multitude of dances, as many events and ceilidh bands include a ‘caller’ to take you through the steps before you begin. If you prefer to enjoy the music without the dancing, many pubs hold live folk nights, including Whistlebinkies and the Royal Oak in Edinburgh or head to Shetland to join in the many informal fiddle sessions. The islands’ Fiddle Frenzy Festival includes special workshops for fiddlers of all abilities.

Absorb the history and customs of Gaelic music and song by attending one of Scotland’s traditional music festivals, including the Blas Festival and Royal National MOD which welcome established artists and emerging talent from across the country. Or head to South Uist for Ceòlas, and learn more about the rich history of Gaelic music and dance in the popular summer school.

Celtic Connections, held every January in Glasgow, celebrates the diversity and beauty of Scottish traditional music and is a wonderful showcase of local and international musical stars. Contemporary folk bands that perform regularly across Scotland include Capercaillie, the Peatbog Faeries, Shooglenifty and Salsa Celtica.

Join in the celebration of Scotland’s traditional music throughout the year.

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