Fred Morrison was born and raised near Glasgow, but it’s the celebrated Gaelic piping tradition of his father’s native South Uist, in the outer Hebrides, that forms the bedrock of his intensely expressive, uniquely adventurous style. His outstanding technical prowess saw him winning many top competition prizes while still at school, meanwhile being inspired by pioneering acts like the Bothy Band and the Tannahill Weavers. Although his first-love instrument remains the great Highland bagpipes, over the years his mastery has expanded to encompass whistles, Scottish smallpipes, or reelpipes – Morrison being a pivotal populariser of this once-rare variety – and Irish uilleann pipes. He was also one of the first Scottish artists to forge dynamic links with his Celtic cousins in Brittany and north-west Spain, adding further to his repertoire of influences and tunes, and has long been renowned as an outstanding tune composer.
During the 1990s, as well as releasing his superb debut solo album The Broken Chanter, Morrison was a member of both the landmark Scottish supergroup Clan Alba and contemporary Celtic stars Capercaillie, featuring with the latter in the Hollywood movie Rob Roy. He has since pursued a diverse array of collaborative and solo projects, meanwhile releasing two more albums: the unanimously-lauded The Sound of the Sun, in 2000, and 2003’s dazzling duo set with Irish bouzouki ace Jamie McMenemy, Up South.
Recent career highlights range from his record-breaking seventh victory in the 2004 Macallan Trophy competition at Brittany’s Lorient Festival to the world première of his first orchestral composition Paracas: Rhapsody of the Gael – a 90-minute work performed by over 100 musicians – as the opening concert of Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival in 2005.
2006 year saw the launch of Morrison’s very own signature instrument, the Fred Morrison Reelpipes, which have swiftly become a popular choice among today’s top players.