Matt Seattle Band
Border Pipes for Weddings
Born in Kent in 1951, Matt has played guitar since 1965, fiddle since 1983 and pipes since 1991, starting with Scottish Smallpipes and transferring to Border Pipes in 1995. He experienced many types of music before immersing himself in the traditional music which has been his focus for the last thirty years.
In this time he has gained a reputation as an expert on Border and Northumbrian pipe and fiddle music, his own compositions have been recorded by musicians as diverse as Scottish lutenist Rob MacKillop and Northumbrian piper Kathryn Tickell, and he is one of the few pipers to play on one of Kathryn's own CDs.
Matt has edited and published several music books, recorded three CDs as featured artiste, three as a member of the Border Directors, and guested on many more. He lived in Northumberland for 14 years from 1984, moving to the Scottish Borders in 1998, and plays regularly on both sides of the Tweed.
photo ©John Parris
The bellows-blown Border Pipes (also known as Lowland Pipes and Northumberland Half-long Pipes) were played in Lowland Scotland, the Borders and Northern England in the 18th century and successfully revived in the 1980s and 90s.
With no history of military use, they are quieter and sweeter-sounding than Highland Pipes but with a stronger tone than either Scottish or Northumbrian Smallpipes, Border Pipes have their own repertoire of music from both sides of the Border, and as well as the sprightly dance tunes and soulful slow airs which one might expect they are also at home with longer pieces in the Native Baroque idiom of the early 18th century.
Matt Seattle, Border Piper
Matt no longer competes but cannot resist letting you know that he has gained first place in all four main Open competitions for solo Border Pipes (Lowland and Border Pipers' Society, Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering, Rothbury Traditional Music Festival, Northumbrian Pipers' Society), and is an Honorary Life Member of the Northumbrian Pipers' Society.
He has been a featured performer at festivals large and small (Alnwick, Celtic Connections, Coldstream, Edinburgh Fringe, Fyvie, Innerleithen, Kelso, Melrose, Morpeth, Peebles, Portpatrick, Rudolstadt) and piping events (Bagpipe Society, Northumbrian Pipers' Society, Armagh Pipers' Club, Lowland and Border Pipers' Society, Pipers' Gathering USA).
Matt has researched and published three influential books of Border pipe music. The Master Piper, 1995 (3rd edition, 2011, now available) being an edition of the William Dixon manuscript of 1733, the oldest-known substantial collection of bagpipe music from the British Isles. He is currently working on a new compilation of Border pipe music, which will be something like the Border Bagpipe Book (1993, out of print) would have been like if it had been written by someone who had been living with William Dixon's music for twenty years.
"It really does seem, when one hears his playing, that the two loose ends of a piping tradition have been picked up and tied together again so that they are an unbroken thread once more."
William Marshall, Bagpipe Society