Whistlebinkies in Concert

Monday, January 16th 2017 at 7.30pm


Hear the group in a concert hosted by the BBC Scottish Symphony Club. Tickets available at door: £8 (£4 members).

The group’s links with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra go back over 40 years when our founder Mick Broderick and our piper Rab Wallace came to hear the premiere of Eddie’s ‘Calgacus’. Rab subsequently performed the Highland Pipes part when the piece was played at the Proms in 1997. The recording was included in the BBC Music Magazine’s covermount CD ‘The Very Best of the BBC Orchestras’. Orchestra members Alastair Savage and bassist Iain Crawford play in The Whistlebinkies and the concert will feature some of Alastair’s fiddle compositions. The group performed at the BBCSSO’s 60th anniversary and one of their title tracks – The Albannach – has been orchestrated for the orchestra by Eddie and broadcast as part of a series of encores commissioned by the BBC Scottish Symphony Club.

Photo Louise Wallace Hawick Music Club Sept 17 2016

Photo Louise Wallace Hawick Music Club 17.9.2016

The Whistlebinkies Chronicle


Welcome to the Whistlebinkies Chronicle. Over the next few days, weeks, months and years we will map out the history in words and media of one of Scotland’s longest serving traditional music groups. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have material for inclusion.

Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame

The Binks were inducted into the Hall of Fame at a ceremony in the Oran Mor nightspot in Glasgow last weekend. It was  a considerable honour for the group and in the acceptance comment Rab Wallace said the group were pleased to be given this distinction and to continue to play a small part in the travelling stream of the Scottish folk music tradition.  Present on the night were, Rab, Eddie, Mark, Stuart and Peter. Rhona, Iain and Alasdair were away gigging.

Co-op 150th Anniversary

The group supported the  concert to mark the 150th Anniversary of the Co-op movement held in the STUC centre in Glasgow on Dec 1. The night started with some speeches and then a set from the championship winning Co-op Funeral Care Brass Band. We followed with five numbers featuring both lowland and smallpipes. We tried out a few new things with the bass and the smallpipes which seemd to work well. Following us was Arthur Johnston who was in fine voice as ever. He led the crowd in the Internationale and reminded everyone that the opening line is ‘Arise you starvelings from your slumbers’ not ‘Arise you starlings from your slumbers’ as has been heard on more than one occasion over the years. The man who introduced us commented that we had been supporting labour movement occasions for close on 40 years. True. Who can forget all those damp Sunday evenings in the MacLellan Galleries doing our bit to Free Nelsom Mandela or to draw attention to the Miner’s Strike. One big improvemrnt over the years: there was wine, chilled beer and fresh fruit on offer last night. Back in the 70s it was warm cans of McEwans and cold sausages rolls. RW.

Alastair Savage Trio

Great show last night from Alastair and the team. Very busy BBC Club at the City Hall heard the master fiddler swing through a whole load of classy traditional material (Marshall, Gow x 2, Skinner) and then a set of more contemporary stuff with a traditional feel. Very tight playing from all three: Alastair, Ian Crawford on bass and Ewan Drysdale on guitars and piano.
The reason this post is here is that Alastair and Ian are Binks of course but as well as playing with the BBC SSO they also have this trio work. They proved again that great musicians can tackle any genre. One highlight was the slow air that was used for a BBC Alba documentary called Vanishing something. Les Wilson, the documentary maker, was in the audience and must have been impressed. Les tells me there is a programme about Montrose going out on Fri (St Andrew’s Night). Les expects some flak from the Robert the Bruce faction who will dispute his assertion that Montrose was Scotland’s greatest ever general. I think he said the show as on BBC2 at 9pm. Catch Alastair’s trio if you can next time oot. RW.

Irvine Burns Club 10/10/12

A small but informed crowd attended our concert at the historic Irvine Burns Club on October 10. The acoustic was quite dry so it suited the pipes and drums but not so much the other instruments. The atmosphere made up for any shortfall on that score however. The club, which is open to the public, has many paintings and artefacts associated with the national bard making it is a must visit for anyone interested in Scottish culture and history. It did of course sit very well with our music, particularly when we played tunes associated with him: Rattlin’ Roarin’ Wullie, Deil’s Awa Wi’ the Exciseman etc. Anyone wishing to know more about the club should visit their website at http://www.irvineburnsclub.org . We again played through some new arrangements in readiness for recording sessions for a new CD. These all seemed to be well received. RW.

Tornaveen Village Hall, Aberdeenshire

RW gets a laugh and smiling approval from the troops

Great atmosphere in a packed village hall last night. We began pretty sharp (for Highland time) just after 8pm and finished after two encores at 10.30pm. It was a bring your own bottle night and thanks to the kind members of the audience who kept the collective Binkie thrapple well oiled throughout. Afterwards we had time to catch up with long time supporters of the group who have attended all of our gigs in this enchanting part of Scotland. Further thanks to Malcolm for the supper and to Geoff, Margaret and the committee of the ‘First Friday’ club. I made the point to them and the audience that they were to be commended for year after year putting on live music during the north east winter. After a comfortable night at Jane’s B&B we had pleasant sunshine for the drive back along Deeside and down to Glasgow via Stonehaven. Ian has gone home with a large sack of pinhead oatmeal freshly ground in nearby Alford. Nae mer hungry weans. RW.

One poster on the www.footstompin.com forum page was clearly delighted with the concert:

‘The Whistlebinkies’ performance last Friday in Tornaveen, Aberdeenshire, was an absolute joy. Relaxed and audience-engaging, their sheer professionalism and musicianship made for an evening of real delight. No sets of frenetic, ‘blistering’ reels or undanceable mish-mash; this group really understand the music they play. Unlike the groups that grind you into the floor, the Whistlebinkies lift you off it’.

Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival : 9 September 2012

Arcadis Zall de Doelen

The Festival served up a unique combination of Scottish music and whiskey tasting. Absorb the salty waves of Celtic melodies, allow the breeze of John Cage’s playful sense of disorder to rise, hand this brewage to the unequalled members of the Whistlebinkies and Scottish Circus is the result: an experience which sounds like dashing breakers. ‘And wide-eyed, ears straining, we remained, as more haunting phrases crept from all around,’ The Scotsman wrote, ‘… An improvisation of incredible beauty and delicacy.’

Rab Wallace writes: The picture shows some of us on walkabout in the city centre before rehearsals. Not in picture are Iain (bass) who is taking the picture, Rhona (clarsach) who was off powdering her nose somewhere and Stuart (box) who was off admiring buildings or some such. It really was a  superb night at the concert and we would like to thank all the staff at the Doelen for their hospitality and courtesy and the audience for being so receptive to Scottish Circus (Cage is never easy) and to our own more traditional fare. Thank you Rotterdam!