Formed in the late 1960s in Glasgow, Scotland, the band made a substantial contribution to the development of Scottish traditional music during the subsequent decades. They led the revival of the bellows-blown bagpipes and were the first ensemble to combine the Celtic harp, fiddle and pipes in regular performance. The band recorded extensively for the Claddagh, Greentrax and Lochshore labels and continues to perform and record. Visit the band website here. In addition to tracks posted here, archival material is also being added to the band’s Bandcamp site – see below.
Some New Tracks
The following tracks are from a recently found Whistlebinkies’ recording from the late 1990s.
Sleep, Dearie, Sleep / The Mason’s Apron
Themes from Epopee Celtique
An ensemble setting of themes extracted rom the suite composed by Eddie McGuire for the Whistlebinkies and pan-Celtic orchestra and choirs. Premiered at the Lorient Festival, Brittany.
Eilean Scalpaigh na Hearadh
Sung by Judith Peacock Cummings.
The Whistlebinkies at Irvine Burns Club, 10 October 2012
The following tracks are from a live recording of the band in concert in the intimate setting of Wellwood Burn Centre and Museum, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland that is the home of the famous Irvine Burns Club. The concert was part of the club’s Music at Wellwood series. Recorded and edited by Stuart Eydmann.
The Queen’s Welcome to Invercauld / Lord Huntly’s Cave
Two quickstep marches from the fiddler/composer James Scott Skinner.
The Swan LK 243
Composed by Catriona McKay in 1999 while onboard the Shetland-built, one-hundred year old herring fishing boat of that name.
Gwerz An Ene Reiz / Person Plouergat /An Dro
Music from the Breton tradition learned while playing there. The titles translate as Gwerz An Ene Reiz : Lament for an honest soul; Person Plouergat : The Priest of Plouergat. An Dro is a traditional dance.
By Yon Castle Wa’
The air to the old Jacobite song There’ll never be peace until Jamie comes hame that is associated with Robert Burns.
Sleep Dearie Sleep / Kenny Gillies of Portnalong / The Whistlebinkies Jig
The two jigs are by P. MacFarquar and Stuart Finlayson.
The Wee Eddie Reel / Keltan’s Reel / Loch an Duin / MacFarlane’s Reel / The Highland Wedding / Willie Davie
The Wee Eddie Reel is by Rab Wallace.
Michael MacDonald’s Jig / The Loch Ness Monster
Michael MacDonald’s Jig is by Jim MacGillivray and The Loch Ness Monster by Peter MacLeod.
Bonny at Morn / The Earl of Dunmore
A slow air from the Border country and a jig from Lewis.
Farewell to Ireland / An Achill Air / Ancient Clan March
The opening reel developed in Ireland from the Scottish strathspey The Highland Watch’s Farewell to Ireland. The group were introduced to the air and march by John Purser in the 1980s when members played for his series ‘A Change of Tune’ on BBC Radio Scotland .
Niel Gow’s Lament for Whisky / The Deil’s Awa’ wi’ the Exciseman / Atholl Highlanders
A selection of popular tunes including music associated with Robert Burns.
A song air composed by Donald Shaw.
March to the Battle / Will Ye Gang to Sheriffmuir? / The Battle (improvisation) / The Battle of Sheriffmuir (piobaireachd ground) / They ran and we ran
A programme of music and song associated with the famous battle of 13 November 1715.
The Keel Row / The Bowmore Reel / The Whistlebinkies Reel / Devonshire Terrace
A selection performed under the title The Whistlebinkies’ Reels. The Whistlebinkies Reel and Devonshire Terrace are by Rab Wallace.
The Scattering ~ The Whistlebinkies with The Cutting Crew in 1988
In 1988 The Whistlebinkies were invited to play fiddle, pipes, concertina, percussion and flute on the title track of the band The Cutting Crew’s follow up to their 1986 USA chart topping (I Just) Died in Your Arms, their top 10 hit I’ve Been in Love Before and their Top 40 song, One for the Mockingbird. All three were released to varying levels of chart success in their native UK and across much of Europe and executives of Virgin Records were keen on the band delivering a follow-up album that both was popular on its own and had multiple radio-friendly singles lined up.
The album and single of the same name have their own Wikipedia entry here.
The track is here:
and the video issued to accompany the release of the song can be viewed here:
On the album The Whistlebinkies’ theme makes a return in this bonus track:
A live version of the Cutting Crew (without the Scottish musicians) can be seen here:
Cutting Crew lead singer and songwriter Nick van Eede spoke fondly of the album’s title track, stating:
The Scattering I think it’s one of my best lyrics, telling of how the small villages in rural communities can die out when the life blood youth move away to the big cities. We had a lot of fun recording it as we flew down from Scotland with The Whistlebinkies who were a fabulous and famous folk band. We had 5 hours to record all their parts which included bodhran, fiddle, pipes and accordion. This is still a firm favourite when we play live, even without the folk band! [Songfacts Nick Van Eede from Cutting Crew : Songwriter Interviews” www.songfacts.com]
He also talks about the song and the ‘binkies’ contribution in this 2019 performance:
A compilation from the original soundtrack for a film on the exploitation of North Sea oil by Eddie McGuire with the Whistlebinkies. Recorded CaVa Sound Studios, Glasgow c. 1981. Edited by Stuart Eydmann. The tone poem opens and closes with a musical recreation of the sound of the sea and shore. A version of this piece is the title track of the Whistlebinkies CD on the KLUB label.
This performance was recorded live at the Gable End Theatre, Hoy, Orkney, during the 2006 St Magnus Festival by Stuart Eydmann.
Farewell to the Creeks
Recorded Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh 27 August 2010. Featuring Robert Wallace on Scottish small-pipes in the key of D.
Scottish Folk Dances
Recorded at the Festival des Politischen Liedes, East Berlin 1976. Released on the album “6. Festival des politischen liedes” on the East German label Eterna.
Auld Lang Syne
This was recorded as part of the music for the first ever New Year broadcast of Channel 4 TV (1982), a documentary film by Eddie McConnell “Hogmanay – The True Story”. See video extract below.
Great is the cause of my sorrow
Recorded at Dollar Music Society, Dollar Academy, Scotland, October 2009.
The Winter it is Past
The air to a song by Robert Burns. See also the short film using the same air featured here.
Bonny at Morn
A song air from the Scotland-England border country. Recorded Oran Mor, Glasgow. Viola played by Annaleise Dagg
Bonny at Morn
This version was recorded at Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh 27 August 2010. Concertina played by Stuart Eydmann. See also the version played at the Irvine Burns Club above.
Video and Film
Acorns to Art
Acorns to Art – Angus Ross Furniture from Dave Hunt on Vimeo, with music My Bonny Moorhen by the Whistlebinkies.
From the 1982 Channel 4 documentary featuring The Whistlebinkies, The Stewarts of Blair, Robin Hall, Jimmy Reid, Jack House and others. Published by Panamint.
Whistlebinkies on Bandcamp
Archival recordings of a number of special projects involving the band are available on Bandcamp: