FRED MORRISON

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Fred Morrison

Biography


www.fredmorrison.com
www.iol.ie/~ipba/fredmorrison.html

Biographies (Courtesy of the Artist’s site, 2005) and The IPBA (2005)

Fred Morrison is widely regarded as one of the greatest Scottish pipers alive today. His performances on the Highland, bellows blown and uilleann pipes and on the low whistle have taken the world music scene by storm.

His approach is firmly rooted in the musical tradition of the Hebridean islands of Scotland but he constantly pushes the boundaries, creating a fresh new sound that is forever evolving. Fred began taking lessons from his father at the age of nine. His father, a noted piper, was from the small remote island of South Uist - which is to be found off the north-west coast of Scotland - a wild, beautiful place with a particularly rich tradition in piping.

He taught using cainntearachd, a unique singing style where notes and rhythms are given particular sounds. Before long, Fred had won most of the top international prizes of the piping world.

The immense technical expertise required to compete in such events was to provide the foundation to allow him to experiment musically and he began to develop his own sound

Fred was soon playing support, solo, to Capercaillie and Runrig - two of Scotland’s best known bands. Before long, he was touring celtic Europe – especially Spain and Brittany - where he earned the name ‘The King of the ‘Pipes’.

He went on to play with Clan Alba and spent 3 years touring and recording with Capercaillie. He also appeared in and was involved in arranging music for the Hollywood blockbuster, Rob Roy.

At this time, Morrison began to play the bellows-blown Border pipes. (pitch – in the key of A – easier to play with other instruments – slightly softer, sweeter sound). He has since performed on the Border pipes on the major stages across the world and can be credited with popularizing this instrument which is played by so many contemporary pipers.

More recently, he joined forces with master of the bouzouki, Jamie McMenemy (Battlefield Band, Kornog). The duo released an album last year, Up South, which has received exceptional reviews, as have their live performances. Most of the pieces played by the duo were composed by Morrison.

This year Fred returned again to the competitive piping scene and won the coveted Macallan Trophy, Lorient, France for a record-breaking 7th time.

PLUS (Courtesy of the Irish Pipe Band Association, 2005)

Fred Morrison- Biography
Fred Morrison is without question one of the most accomplished and inspirational pipers Scotland has ever produced. His unique talent has been acclaimed across the world, each performance testimony to his deep musical spirit and years of dedication. Reviews of his concerts unfailingly return to the essence of his genius.
- Scintillating displays of impeccable technique
- Passionate expression generating musical fireworks
- Deeply evocative interpretation of Gaelic slow airs
- to create a journey of musical moods expressed through his mastery of the Scottish Highland, border and small pipes, the Uillean pipes and the low whistle.
All of these elements, along with Fred Morrison's warm and sincere rapport with every audience has made each of his performances - from Highland village hall to international stadium - an unforgettable experience for all.
"He powers along in an almost hypnotic rhythm taking massive liberties with the tunes and produces an infectious driving energy which leaves venues with huge bills for replacing worn out carpeting." - The Living Tradition


Biography
The origins of Fred Morrison's music are securely rooted in the exacting piping tradition of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. His musical mentor was his father, a noted player and judge of many of the major piping competitions in Scotland, who came from a famous Uist piping family, Clann Seonaidh Aonghais Ruaidh. Fred Morrison was taught through cainntearachd, an ancient singing and teaching style where different notes and rhythms are given particular sounds. Equal emphasis was given to feel and technique.
Having scooped up many of the major awards, both in Scotland and abroad, Fred Morrison went on to pursue a highly successful performing career. He has brought his unique style and musical sensitivity to a wide range of projects as a soloist and in collaboration with other well- known artists:
Performance:
- Alone, on stage with Highland pipes, he has performed as support to 2 of Scotland's best known folk bands, Capercaillie and Runrig.
- Fred Morrison performed and recorded with Dick Gaughan's legendary supergroup, Clan Alba.
- This was followed by a 2 year period as a full time member of Capercaillie, during which time he played on the album 'To the Moon'.
- Fred Morrison created the highly acclaimed 6-piece traditional group, Ceolas.

Television, Film and Theatre:
- He featured with many of Scotland's leading actors in Bill Bryden's The Big Picnic.
- He appeared in and was involved in arranging the soundtrack to Hollywood film, Rob Roy, starring Liam Neeson
- Fred Morrison has featured on countless television programmes in Europe and Canada. He performed most recently with celebrated singer Dougie MacLean on his BBC2 television programme, Clann na Mara.
- Fred Morrison produced the soundtrack to Passing Places, a unique feature-length community film now to be distributed worldwide.

Composition:
- Fred Morrison is a prolific composer and many of his compositions are performed by Scotland's best known traditional musicians.

Fred Morrison - Now
Fred Morrison currently performs as a soloist and in collaboration with other artists:
1. Solo Piper - Concerts/Piping Recitals/Societies/Highland Gatherings
2. Duo - with guitar/bouzouki
3. Ceolas - Generally 5/6 piece: Pipes/low whistle, 2 fiddles, bouzouki, guitar, vocals.
In addition to his current touring schedule.

Competition Piping
Fred Morrison has gained an impressive range of major trophies and awards in the world of competitive piping.
Prizes:
- Silver Medal - Northern Meeting 1982
- National Mod - Highland Queen Quaich 1985
- City Chambers, Glasgow - Piper Above all Others 1985
- Argyllshire Gathering, Oban - Gold Medal 1986
- The Northern Meeting, Inverness - Gold Medal 1991
- Macallan Trophy, Lorient - 7 times Champion including 'Champion of Champions' Award
"Uist piper builds on earlier success" - Glasgow Herald
"Uist man takes top pipes award" - Oban Times
"Student Fred wins a double first" - Oban Times

Reviews
Live Reviews:
Solo
"I'm going home to throw my pipes in the fire," mumbled one stunned veteran as he left the hall, and we knew how he felt." - The Scotsman
"Morrison's playing, even on a tune of evident Scottish origins, can evoke a world of images and flavours...and, in one particularly daring reel, produced the sort of growling, whining feedback-like sounds normally associated with a stratocaster, with no remote sense of gimickry attached." - Glasgow Herald
Ceolas
"With a couple of fiddles, a bouzouki and a guitar, all riding shotgun to Fred's virtuosity on the A border pipes, they played a storm." - Living Tradition
"Ceolas are without doubt one of the greatest things to come out of the Scottish-Gaelic scene for years." - Folkworld
Album Reviews:
"The number of truly great pipers is nearer half a dozen. Their playing transcends sterile discussion on technique and tone and instead focuses on the aesthetics of the music. They are referred to in reverential...tones by fellow pipers. One piper definitely in this latter category is Fred Morrison." - Living Tradition
"For a player still relatively young, Fred is one of a handful that has had the mantle of 'legend' placed upon his shoulders...Yes it can get fast and furious at times but the balance of airs, a waltz and Gaelic song tunes blend to make a sterling release."
"Ceilidh in the Convent is a tour de force of bent notes, grace notes, ornamentations, variations and syncopations...The closing self-penned pibroch 'Drumbuie' is particularly poignant, setting the seal on the piping record of the year." - Inverness Courier
"Talk of highlights on this CD is superfluous."
"Fred doesn't put a finger wrong on this CD. It has immediately joined the rare pantheon of essential piping recordings. Pipers (indeed all traditional musicians) should buy a copy and listen carefully to it." - Living Tradition
"...Piper Fred Morrison's The Sound of the Sun will click with Irish audiences. In this he is superb." - The Irish Times

Instruments played: Highland Pipes, Border Pipes, Small Pipes, Low Whistles

AND, another brief UPDATE

Fred Morrison was voted "Best Instrumentalist" in the 2004 Scots Trad Music Awards. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest Scottish pipers alive today. His performances on the Highland, bellows blown and uilleann pipes and on the low whistle have taken the world music scene by storm. Fred's approach is firmly rooted in the musical tradition of the Hebridean islands of Scotland but he constantly pushes the boundaries, creating a fresh new sound that is forever evolving. He began taking lessons from his father at the age of nine. His father, a noted piper, was from the small remote island of South Uist - which is to be found off the north-west coast of Scotland - a wild, beautiful place with a particularly rich tradition in piping. He taught using cainntearachd, a unique singing style where notes and rhythms are given particular sounds. Before long, Fred had won most of the top international prizes of the piping world.

The immense technical expertise required to compete in such events was to provide the foundation to allow him to experiment musically and he began to develop his own sound

Fred was soon playing support, solo, to Capercaillie and Runrig - two of Scotland's best known bands. Before long, he was touring celtic Europe - especially Spain and Brittany - where he earned the name 'The King of the 'Pipes'.

He went on to play with Clan Alba and spent 3 years touring and recording with Capercaillie. He also appeared in and was involved in arranging music for the Hollywood blockbuster, Rob Roy.
At this time, Morrison began to play the bellows-blown Border pipes. (pitch - in the key of A - easier to play with other instruments - slightly softer, sweeter sound). He has since performed on the Border pipes on the major stages across the world and can be credited with popularizing this instrument which is played by so many contemporary pipers.

More recently, he joined forces with master of the bouzouki, Jamie McMenemy (Battlefield Band, Kornog). The duo released an album last year, Up South, which has received exceptional reviews, as have their live performances. Most of the pieces played by the duo were composed by Fred Morrison.
This year Fred returned again to the competitive piping scene and won the coveted Macallan Trophy, Lorient, France for a record-breaking 7th time.

Paracas, Rhapsody of the Gael, is a new work by Fred Morrison, which has been commissioned by Celtic Connections 2005, Glasgow, to open this year's festival.
Fred has collaborated very closely with Mark Sheridan, who has also orchestrated the piece and will conduct on the night. The performance will involve many of Scotland's best known traditional musicians including pipers Simon McKerrell, Rory Campbell and Finlay MacDonald, fiddlers Alasdair Fraser, Anna-Wendy Stevenson, Adam Sutherland and Deirdre Morrison, cellists Wendy Wetherby and Natalie Haas, Patsy Seddon and Mary McMaster on harp, singer Alasdair Codona, the Orchestra and Chorus of the Scottish Opera and full Gaelic choir and will take place at the Royal Concert Hall on 12th January 2005.



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