The band nobody can categorise

THERE are touches of funk, reggae, urban dance as well as traditional roots music to the sound of the Peatbog Faeries. Their tunes are virtually all instrumentals and frontman Peter Morrison plays the bagpipes (and the whistle)…so they’re a little difficult to categorise.

“We always have the same trouble as everyone else describing our sound,” laughs Peter. “We always get asked and we’re always stumped.

PLENTY OF VARIETY – catch the Peatbog Faeries at G Live
PLENTY OF VARIETY – catch the Peatbog Faeries at G Live

“It’s rooted in Scottish traditional music, you’ve got me on the pipes and Ross (Couper) on the fiddle but we’ve also got keyboards, bass, percussion…

“We started off just doing pubs in Skye with the usual folky thing but then we added electric guitar and some of the time started using beats and finding rhythms and it went down really well. Now it’s quite a wee mixture…”

Peter has been playing the pipes since taking it up at school when he was eight and later played in traditional Scottish bands.

“I never imagined how it would turn out,” he says, “but when Peatbog started, we quickly realised there was nothing else like us.”

Since their formation in 1991 the band have played all over the world, appeared at the Glastonbury Festival five times, recorded eight studio albums and been inducted into the Hebridean Celtic Festival’s hall of fame. Not bad for a band with those fearsome bagpipes at the forefront.

“The pipes are one of the most famous instruments in the world,” says Peter. “Everybody knows what the pipes are – but they aren’t expecting them in the context we use them.

“We’ve played in Australia, America, Canada, all across Europe and the Far East, and they all take a good look for the first few notes – then start dancing.

“We’re quite well known for performance, it’s not a static show. We don’t categorise ourselves in folk or anything like that – we’re a dance band. If people come to see us, they can expect quite an active night.

“Even if we play in theatres, they might be sitting down at first but after a while they’re dancing in the aisles and every other bit of available space!”

The Faeries are currently on the road promoting their latest album, Blackhouse, and Peter says their natural habitat is playing live rather than in the studio. The only downside is having to leave their homes in Skye.

“Living in Skye and being a touring band is quite a contrast,” he explains. “When we get back to Glasgow, the road crew are home but we have another six hours of driving. Then you get over the bridge and it’s absolutely beautiful.

“I wouldn’t swap it for anything. It might be absolutely pouring down with rain when we arrive home but it’s still beautiful.”

THE Peatbog Faeries play at G Live in Guildford on Saturday, August 15 and Peter has finally come up with a definition for what they do: “We’re a dance band – the best thing is to come along and listen… and dance.”

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