Well I needed to find some Scottish tunes for a dance, and off I went googling – actually the kick start was in the ‘related’ links as a helpful suggestion in my gmail box – good old context-sensitive targeted advertising. except only one was for a a pay service, the other was Hans’ ABC music page – a real wealth of material in abc format. And sure enough I found what I wanted in the Athole collection. Strange spelling though – I remember visiting Athol in the Scottish highlands a few years back – gorgeous picturesque place with a wonderful castle that is maintained and lived in by the Laird himself.

Using barfly (for mac) I was able to hear the tune over several times, and followed the music notation until it made sense. It’s a great way to learn. I found that if you edit the tempo (L:1/8) to read L:1/4 the tune is played at half the speed, making it much easier to pick up the thread of the tune. So now I can play a passable version of the Gay Gordon’s – a traditional Scottish Country dance tune.

Not a bad way to round off an excellent weekend



Now here is a bolt from the blue! We get offers of gigs in sometimes unusual situations and unusual places, but this one takes the cake. The email said in part: “here’s the situation: the Beijing Caledonian Society is holding their Annual Highland Ball…” The Beijing What??

Well it seems that there is indeed a dedicated group of Scottish highland dancers in China’s capital – and they need a live band. Who better than Full Circle? So it would seem we are destined to go away on tour to the land of the Red Dragon – in a few months. In the meantime this er… Irish/Celtic band will be learning some new Scottish repertoire. Yes we do play some Scottish numbers, but some of the dances will have specific tunes. Anyhow we have already been requested to play one song in particular… The Devil Went Down to a Small Country South of Russia… Now this sounds like fun!