various artists,
Third Grand Concert of Piping
(Greentrax, 2004)

As the saying goes, "if you like piping, you'll love this." Here for anyone with the mildest interest in that Scottish symbol of music is a must-have album.

With two previous albums paving the way, these 13 tracks are marching to yet another victory. No, these are not the familiar pipe bands of the skirl o' pipes and swish of tartan. Here you get some excellent duos and solo performances that introduce the listener to a new dimension of the pipes and manage to combine the traditional instrument with some unlikely bedfellows.

The opening set brings you border pipes, Highland bagpipe and saxophone. The merger is a winner.

Misericordia is the duo Anne Marie Summers and Stephen Tyler. They contribute three tunes here -- two Italian in origin and one Spanish. The sound is fantastic and dispels the myth that only Scottish music sounds at home on the pipes. They also introduce the hurdy-gurdy.

The international flavour of music and pipes is accentuated by the beautiful combination of Xuan Muniz and Simon Bradley -- of Asturian and Irish descent.

Many of the tunes may be unfamiliar to you, but do not be deprived of this lovely CD through a fear of trying something new -- at some time you didn't know any of your current favourite "all time greats."

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 26 June 2004