Bagpiper in Kiev, Feb 2010

Burns Night in Kiev


I flew out on Tuesday for rehearsals with the Kiev Masterclass orchestra who were performing a piece by Maxwell Davies, called ‘An Orkney wedding with Sunrise’. This features a 2 minute bagpipe section at the end of the piece to herald the sunrise and the drunken walk home from the wedding. It was quite an experience playing with a 40 piece orchestra, especially when rehearsal time was so tight.

The Ukrainian crowd loved the piece, which finished their concert in style. I got asked to play a few tunes as an encore, so played a couple of jigs as a different ending to a wonderful concert.

After the concert a guy approached me, and asked if I remembered him, turns out he was a Ukrainian born Spanish bagpipe player who I had a tune with 15 months ago while in Odessa Ukraine opening a Whisky bar, Corvin. Small world!

 After the concert, I was invited to play at Kiev’s no 1 bar nightclub, Shooters  It was ladies night, where only ladies are allowed until 12, before they let the guys in!! I was well flanked by bouncers and performed my bagpipe dance music set ( if you haven’t seen this then check out bagpipes in a nightclub video. Was a great night and I enjoyed catching up with some friends from Kiev.

On the Friday, great friends and colleagues The Clann  came into town. We were helping put on a charity Burns night on the Saturday, so thought it would be a nice touch to give some Scottish culture to one of the benefactors of the event, the Kiev blind school. 

What a reception we got from the kids, who had prepared some artwork and some performances of their own, for us. Friends of ours from the Tartan Army were also over and presented the school with a large cheque, with proceeds from Scotland football fans who had been in Kiev the previous year.

I think we all left the school feeling touched at the experience we had with the kids, it is hard to put in words.


We then headed to Gergel, a Scottish school in Kiev who teach and are huge ambassadors for Scottish culture. Teaching Scottish dancing, Gaelic, burns poetry etc. We worked with 50 children putting on a Burns afternoon, which was great. (check out some pictures of the event on Flikr) they had also cooked Ukrainian haggis to celebrate the Burns tradition. Following the haggis, the children put on a theatrical rendition of Robert Burns ‘Tam o Shanter’, which featured some music from my Reel Time album (buy it on EBAY) I’m sure the Bard would have approved!!

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