It was a pleasure to present Hamish and Fin Moore with a Hands Up for Trad Landmark Award to celebrate 30 years of their business last Saturday in the Counting House, Edinburgh. The place was packed full of friends and musicians and when I left there were 2 sessions going on in two different rooms and a ceilidh dance in the other room! Please watch the video below as once you get past my speech (Simon Thoumire), you can listen to Hamish and Fin play their pipes and a star turn from young piper Brighde Chaimbeul! My speech is below. Read their amazing story here.
Hamish Moore says – The secret to a great set of pipes is the reeds and the secret to great reeds is to work with the best cane in the world. I think we all agree the secret of Hamish and Fin’s pipes is a great sound, they’re beautiful to look at, they are constantly being developed to the highest of standards but also they have a care and a passion for the tradition of the instrument and a want to make our music heard far and wide the world over.
Hamish’s interest in small bellows-blown pipes was sparked when working as a vet in County Clare. He first heard the uilleann pipes and decided to find out more about his own smallpipe tradition. In Scotland there were a few folk already there; Iain MacDonald, of Glenuig, Rab Wallace of the Whistlebinkies, Dougie Pincock, of Battlefield Band, and Jimmy Anderson of the Clutha. Around that time his next door neighbour left an old set of smallpipes on his kitchen table and Hamish sensed that he was being given a message. Colin Ross, the great Northumbrian piper and pipemaker, restored this set of pipes and then Hamish set about serving an apprenticeship as a smallpiper, first with a pub group in Kingussie and then with Jock Tamson’s Bairns and their successors, Chorda, which featured Rod Paterson, Ian Hardie and John Croall.
1986 was the year that Hamish made the brave decision to stop practising as a vet and start making pipes full time. He had help from his father – a consultant forester for the United Nations, as well as being a wood turner, Allistair Sinclair, of bagpipe makers William Sinclair & Son, Colin Ross and flute maker Rod Cameron from Mendocino.
30 years later the business continues to grow. Musicians love their instruments and everyone wants to play them. Fin took over the Dunkeld-based business in 2013 and they now export smallpipes, Border pipes and Highland pipes to every country in the world where pipes are played.
Hamish was inducted to the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame in 2014 and it is my pleasure tonight to represent Hands Up for Trad and present Hamish and Fin Moore with our Landmark Award for amazing services to our industry. Congratulations guys. Here’s to the next 30!