Piobaireachd / Pipe Music

Fraser Fifield

Piobaireachd / Pipe Music is the startling new recording by piper and multi-instrumentalist Fraser Fifield. It features a collection of tracks recorded following Fifield’s deep re-examination, during lockdown, of what he calls “that ancient, slightly mysterious music associated with the Scottish bagpipe.”
A musician whose work over the past twenty years has found him collaborating with Indian, Bulgarian and Argentinian colleagues, as well as appearing with Scottish Gaelic-world music band Capercaillie, jazz guitarist Graeme Stephen, chamber music adventurists Mr Falls Chamber, the Afro Celt Sound System and the mammoth Grit Orchestra, Fifield began his musical life playing the Highland pipes in his adopted Aberdeenshire.
Taking lessons with his local GP in Aboyne, Dr Jack Taylor, himself a gold-medal-winning exponent of piobaireachd and for many years the chairman of the Piobaireachd Society, Fifield became – and has remained - fascinated with piobaireachd from the age of eleven.
While adding whistle, saxophone, clarinet and kaval (the Balkan end-blown flute) to his repertoire over the years, Fifield has often applied the phrasing and techniques associated with piobaireachd, sometimes known as “the classical music of the Highland bagpipe,” to his own compositions and improvisations.
In lockdown, Fifield explored and re-imagined ancient tunes, including The Flame of Wrath for Squinting Patrick, from the 17th century and attributed to Donald Mòr MacCrimmon, and The Lament for the Old Sword. The former, which commemorates an act of terrible retribution, features soprano saxophone, clarinet and whistle embellishing the bagpipe melody and the latter finds whistle and soprano saxophones vividly reinterpreting traditional piobaireachd variations.
Piobaireachd/Pipe Music also features Fifield's own compositions, including Being in Time, a Border pipes, saxophones, whistles and kaval multi-tracked odyssey in dedication to his late friend, the pipe maker Nigel Richard, and In Regard to That Matter, which was commissioned from the RareTunes Scottish music archive and composed in the spirit of the album.
Improvisation on Whistle acknowledges both the alap of north Indian ragas and the urlar, or ground, of a piobaireachd. This reflects Fifield’s experience of playing with Indian masters including Zakir Hussain and his conviction that Scottish piping once involved much more improvisation than it does today.
“I have a theory that improvisation is simply inherent to the human musical experience and I would posit an improvisatory route to the music we now call piobaireachd,“ he says. “I suppose it might be impossible to prove but it makes sense to me and I’m happiest when creating afresh – that interesting mix of performer and composer at the same time.”
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In Mumbai

Fraser Fifield

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In Mumbai

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featuring some very special guests: Sabir Khan - sarangi, Suresh Lalwani - violin and viola, Navin Sharma - tabla and dholak.

Fraser Fifield plays low whistle, border pipes, soprano sax and kaval.

The music was composed by Fraser, except Ewe Wi Crooked Horn which is a traditional Scottish melody. 'Song Of Suresh' composed by Suresh Lalwani and Fraser Fifield.

We recorded at YRF studios, Mumbai, from 16-18 June, 2016, engineered by Shantanu Hudlikar and his team. The mix was made in Scotland by Mattie Foulds. My sincere thanks to the contributing musicians and engineers and also Mujeeb Dardarkar, who played an invaluable role in organising this project, and to Creative Scotland.

Read the Songlines review, https://www.songlines.co.uk/review/in-mumbai

Fatea Magazine review: "Too often, inter-cultural collaborations can become a type of musical manifesto, trying to make a point about the similarities of different musical traditions. "In Mumbai" is never like this. It is a wonderful demonstration of the mutual respect and appreciation of four musicians for each other to make a unique sound that resonates long after the album has ended"

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Traces Of Thrace

Fraser Fifield

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Traces Of Thrace

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'Scotland meets Bulgaria' ~ "Played by musicians at the top of their game, the compositions sound natural, and almost organic, but closer listening reveals that they are tightly organised and highly sophisticated. A magnificent achievement." Songlines

Fraser Fifield, sax, low whistle, bagpipe, keyboard / Nedyalko Nedyalkov, kaval / Graeme Stephen, guitar / David Robertson, percussion / Guy Nicolson, percussion / Georgi Petrov, gadulka

Recorded 13-15 December 2007 Produced by Fraser Fifield with Calum Malcolm. Music composed by Fraser Fifield.

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Stereocanto

Fraser Fifield

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Stereocanto

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Jazzwise: "Fifield is an outstanding product of the Scottish jazz-folk scene who at one moment can blow a low whistle like Charlie Parker steaming his way through ‘Ko-Ko’ and at the next knock out an air on a sax like a Highland traditionalist. On this, his fourth album as leader, the in-demand multi-instrumentalist also shows himself a master programmer and beats adept."

Innovative original compositions, featuring low whistle, Highland pipes, soprano saxophone, Bulgarian kaval, highland hornpipe, practice chanter, keyboards and percussion by Fifield with Alyn Cosker (drums), Graeme Stephen (guitar) Mario Caribe (bass) and Vicky Fifield (strings).

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Honest Water

Fraser Fifield

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Honest Water

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"Fraser Fifield's debut album confirms that he is one of the most exciting talents to emerge in Scottish folk in recent times" - The Scotsman

Fraser plays: bagpipes, whistles, saxophones, clarinet, percussion, keyboards, guitar with guests: Graeme Stephen, electric guitar on tracks 3, 8 & 11 and Malcolm Stitt, acoustic guitar on track 6.

"Music with heart, emotion, and tunes that the 'repeat play' button was designed for" - The Herald "Fraser Fifield's debut album is simply beautiful" - The Irish World

"The quality of the playing, wide musical references, and intensity of focus make it much more Garbarek than Gaberlunzie" -Scotland on Sunday

"The album resoundingly endorses his fast- growing reputation as a brilliantly skilled and excitingly original talent. " Sunday Herald

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Esotero

Fraser Fifield

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Esotero

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"In his liner note, Fraser Fifield revels in the freedom he and guitarist Graeme Stephen feel from not having to categorise their music. That's easy for him to say. For those who are unfamiliar with Fifield, he's a piper from the Aberdeenshire tradition who has also mastered the low whistle and soprano saxophone, in a way that allows his playing to flow from traditional-sounding airs into the realms of jazz and fairly free improvisation. In Graeme Stephen, he has the ideal partner and, over 16 years, they have forged an understanding that means wherever one goes the other will join him intuitively, be that into a moving lament or the kind of electric guitar and Border pipes ferment witnessed on Chase It Catch It that, if he were that sort of bloke, might see Fifield with his foot up on a monitor, posing like a heavy metal hero. At heart, Fifield is a melodist and his gifts as such are here in abundance - filed under adventure". The Herald.

Fraser Fifield, low whistles, border pipes, soprano sax Graeme Stephen, guitar

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Slow Stream

Fraser Fifield Trio

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Slow Stream

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Featuring drummer Stu Ritchie, guitarist Graeme Stephen and the composer Fraser Fifield playing low whistle and soprano sax, this album was recorded over a two day session in 2005, near Edinburgh. The group performed in Scotland and further afield for several years. Alongside original compositions is Lament for the Children by Donald Mor MacCrimmon, also music from Sweden, Ireland and Brittany.

"At once lyrical and radical, playful and soulful, talented and innovative - it’s music that places Fifield somewhere between Michael McGoldrick and Jan Garbarek" ( Sue Wilson,The Scotsman)

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In Buenos Aires

Fraser Fifield

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