Fraserburgh pipers play from Broch to Barbados

A musical duo have proudly put Fraserburgh on the global music map at a festival celebrating the links Barbados boasts with Celtic nations.

Fraserburgh RBL Pipe Band’s pipe major Denise Buchan and drummer Louise Buchan have acted as ambassadors for the group in a whirlwind of recitals, schools workships, parades over the course of the last week.

Louise Buchan and pipe major Denise Buchan.

Louise Buchan and pipe major Denise Buchan.

The pair, who are not related, were amongst a global guest list at Barbados Celtic Festival which features performers from Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Nova Scotia in Canada.

Amazingly, some islanders can trace their roots back to the time of Oliver Cromwell after they were forced to flee their homes for a fresh start on faraway shores.

And the festival has been taking place since 1990 to honour that far-reaching Celtic connection.

Visiting artistes like Denise and Louise were welcomed to the holiday paradise after their nine hour flight from Gatwick by the Barbadian minister of culture .

Atmospheric spots like the island’s garrison, Catholic cathedral and even a motor rally formed the backdrop to a trip of a lifetime as the pair played for delighted crowds in capital Bridgetown and beyond.

They also performed with a Welsh choir and provided the music for the grand finale which took the form of a ceilidh in the sumptuous surroundings of the Coconut Club Hotel.

Louise from St Combs said: “We were playing in 32 degree heat with kilts and wool socks but it was an amazing experience and new friendships were made. We all let our hair down at the final ceilidh and had a party.

“We can’t thank the organisers enough for transporting us about and looking after us.

“The Barbados people were so friendly and we felt so humble playing for the children in the schools. This has been an amazing experience.”

Festival organiser Carol Anderson said: “It was wonderful to have Louise and Denise representing Fraserburgh RBL Pipe Band with us for this year’s Celtic festival.

“It’s been another fantastic success for everyone – sharing music and culture with West Indians and having a great Bajan welcome from local people here.”

It emerged too that both of the music makers met a fellow Scot who introduced them to local schoolchildren who were heavily involved in various festival events.

She is Sister Pauline Dempsey who originally hails from Kilsyth and is head teacher of St Patrick’s School on the island.

Praising the host of acts who jetted in to take part, Sister Pauline said: “It was a brilliant festival this year. The pupils sang and danced all week.”