Thursday, August 20, 2009

Albannach - Scottish War Music

If you are interested in listening to some Scottish war music, Albannoch is a band you might enjoy. All band members are originally from Scotland. Their goal is to share the culture, heritage and history of their country through their music. They claim to be more than another pipe and drum band, their website says they play "outlawed tunes on outlawed pipes".

They tour year-round throughout Europe and the U.S. at highland games and festivals. They are regular performers at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in North Carolina, and have also performed at the games in Greenville, SC. Over the next couple of months they will be in the U.S. touring in Ohio and Virginia. Then in November they are back in Scotland.

You can check out their music and tour dates at their website:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Scotland County Highland Games

In 1899, Scotland County, North Carolina was formed from Richmond County. The earliest settlers of the area were mainly comprised of Highland Scots by 1729. They came up from the Cape Fear River through Wilmington, NC, and the Pee Dee River from South Carolina.

The Scotch Fair Highland Games that has traditionally taken place in Scotland County, is changing to Scotland County Highland Games. This year the games are scheduled to take place October 2-4, 2009 at the John Blue House in Laurinburg, NC. It's a beautiful historic home that has been restored and is surrounded by a rich history of Scottish descendants and other antebellum homes, and a pre-Civil War cotton gin (believed to be the oldest in existence). The John Blue House is known as the "Riverboat on Land".

Those interested as participating vendors, or athletic contenders may contact Bill Caudill at the Scottish Heritage Center of St. Andrews College at 910-277-5236.

Be sure to mark your calendar as the Scotland County Highland Games are slated to be a great October event!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

America's Braemar

Donald McDonald is the author of America's Braemar, a historical book covering the 50-year history of The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games (1956-2006). But the history on which the games is based is much older than 1956, predating the Greek Olympics. The highland games of Scotland were brought from Ireland to the Argyll district and were first called Odas, a Norse name.

A former resident of Charlotte, NC, Mr. McDonald now lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is a retired journalist and university lecturer who first attended Braemar in 1954. The Braemar Gathering was born from the Braemar Wright Society in 1816, six months after the Battle of Waterloo and was registered with the Clerk of Peace as a friendly society, the oldest surviving friendly society in the country of Scotland. In 1826 the name changed to the Braemar Highland Society. In 1848, Queen Victoria attended the gathering and ordered that the society add "Royal" to the title. It is now known as the Braemar Royal Highland Gathering. The royal family has been faithful attenders ever since.

Mr. McDonald returned to North Carolina from his visit and decided to try and duplicate the Braemar gathering among the thousands of descendants who settled the Carolinas in the 18th and 19th centuries. Thus, the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games were born, with the assistance of Agnes MacRae Morton, the games were christened as "America's Braemar". Mr. McDonald's book was completed in 2007 and published by Southern Lions Books Historic Publications in Madison, GA.

The success of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games has led to the birth of over 200 Scottish games, highland festivals, and societies. To learn more about the book, or to order it, visit here.