The Wizard of Skene

The first melody I self-assembled was in 1987, intended for the Highland Bagpipe, it's a reel in four parts named after my maternal Grandfather, John (Ian) Davidson of Garlogie, Skene. The tune's title refers to a nickname given locally on account (hopefully) of his polymath approach to life post WW2 upon returning to Aberdeenshire as self-taught repairer of clocks and watches, maker of off-grid electricity, wine, guns and four children.  The title refers also to the local legend of the (Wizard) Laird of Skene, Alexander, whose alleged black magic activities made enough impression during his short life, 1680-1724, to ensure fires were still lit in local parishes each Halloween to keep the Wizard at bay going into the 19th century. 

As a teenager I played with a 4 piece folk group called 'Innisfree', exclusively in pubs from Aboyne, Aberdeenshire as far away sometimes as Ness, Isle of Lewis. We recorded a tape and 'The Wizard of Skene' is on it as a stand alone track on side 2, played straight through twice after a 12 bar intro, Albert Honig on guitar, June Mair on bodhran and myself on the GHB. 

The Wizard of Skene was also recorded a few years later by Red Hot Chilli Pipers founder, Stuart Cassells, for the album 'Young Pipers of Scotland' on Greentrax records. 

Here's the music manuscript:


Hope you enjoy playing it. 

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