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Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Folk Celtic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Gig review Breabach"

Young Highland-rooted five-piece Breabach have come a mighty long way since first emerging as winners of a Danny Kyle Open Stage Award at Celtic Connections 2005 – not least literally, with consistent touring taking them as far afield as Australia, but primarily in terms of the steadily progressing musicianship and assiduous hard graft that have got them there.

Breabach - Oran Mor, Glasgow

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Their determination to keep stretching themselves and developing has become as much of a band signature as the twin Highland bagpipes wielded – along with flutes and whistles – by Calum MacCrimmon and James Duncan MacKenzie. It was in evidence again here, on the first night of a summer tour, in a set that featured a good few tracks from their forthcoming fourth album: a work evidently well in progress, barely a year after its predecessor, Bann, came out to glowing reviews.

Not content with two finely contrasting lead voices, for instance – Megan Henderson’s arrestingly clear, vibrant sweetness, in a selection of Gaelic songs, and Ewan Robertson’s warm, earthy urgency – MacCrimmon debuted a strong original ballad reflecting on his dual Canadian/Scottish heritage. On the instrumental front – completed by fiddle, guitar and double bass – Breabach remain firmly centred in their native traditions, but their treatments and configurations of tunes once again displayed all the artfulness, ambition and imagination that set them so decisively apart from the pack. - Scotland on Sunday

"Ùrlar from Breabach - living heritage and fresh innovation"

Ùrlar from Breabach - living heritage and fresh innovation(October 13, 2013)
An enlivening of the soul always accompanies the skirl of the pipes – even for a sassenach, and the latest urlarFINALrelease Ùrlar from Breabach does that and more. Broadly a collection of trad-arranged and self-penned material this album continues to prove that Breabach’s blend of living heritage and fresh innovation remains a lodestone for Scottish folk.

The mix of course stretches far beyond the pipes – there’s Megan Henderson on fiddle and vocals, James Lindsay with double bass, Calum MacCrimmon plays bagpipes, whistles and bouzouki, James Duncan Mackenzie on bagpipes and flutes, with Ewan Robertson guitar and cajon.

During recent returns to their hometowns the band members explored the abundance of remembered tunes and songs known among family and friends to forge the magic that became Ùrlar. Perhaps that’s why this album holds its magnetic attraction. You’re there among the band, sharing the inheritance, reveling in the inspiration, soothed and envigorated.

The breadth of this album is entrancing - pipe-driven energy with ‘The Poetic Milkman’ moving into Megan’s evocative vocal through the deep-seated longing of ‘Hi Ho Ro Tha Mi Duilich’ the gentle reflection on fate in ‘Forvie Sands’ and the burst of potency that courses through ‘Monday Night at Riccardo’s’. By contrast there’s themelancholy ‘The Orangedale Whistle’ - a stunning Canadian narrative that examines the effect of change, while the defiance and sadness of ‘The Seven Men of Knoydart’ is riveting in its truth. Fast or slow, traditional or progressive, the shape and substance of Ùrlar will move you.

Released on 21st October 2013 through Proper Distribution & Highlander Distribution - you can find out more here:

Reviewer: Dan Holland - Folk Works

"Piping up for Scotland"

Piping up for Scotland

Recently voted live act of the year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards, Breabach have established themselves as one of the finest folk bands on the scene. Ùrlar, produced by Lau’s Kris Drever, sees the band deliver a beautifully mature and rich mix of subtle musicianship. ‘The Poetic Milkman’ gets the ball rolling, with Calum MacCrimmon and James Duncan MacKenzie’s pipes delivering a pacey and frenetic opener. Megan Henderson’s vocals provide a sweet respite in ‘Hi Ho Ro Tha Mi Duilich’, while Ewan Robertson delivers a passionate version of ‘The Seven Men of Knoydart’. MacCrimmon proves himself to be a formidably sensitive vocalist on the heartfelt ‘The Orangedale Whistle’.

Breabach are known for their love of the piping tradition and this is perfectly captured on ‘Forvie Sands’, a reflective air on times and places past, while ‘Bowmore Fair’ sees the band in a more spirited mood, with a brisk set of tunes. The rousing pipe tune ‘The Old Hill’ provides a fine conclusion to an exciting and accomplished album. Ùrlar is thrilling, stirring and poignant; a rare treat. - Songlines

"Scottish Music Roundup : Breabach"

As the reigning Scottish Trad Music Awards' Folk Band Of The Year, Breabach are sounding tighter than ever on latest album Urlar (Breabach Records).

With Lau's Kris Drever helping out on the production desk, the five-piece bind together perfectly as a unit, whether it is across the fast-flowing notes of Monday Night At Riccardo's or knowing when to lay back and when to let soloists fly on opening tune The Poetic Milkman (listen as flute offers lovely support to fiddle and pipe leads, and guitar and bass set the rhythm).

There is something intriguing and modern in their approach to the traditional piobaireachd I Am Proud To Play A Pipe, as there is when Ewan Robertson adds his melody to Hamish Henderson's lyrics on The Seven Men Of Knoydart. There is a personal context to the latter (grandfather of the band's Megan Henderson acted as secretary for the crofting rebels of the title) and behind all of the tune choices, which perhaps provides the extra factor that makes this Breabach's best album yet. - The Herald


There is something stirring about the skirl of the pipes which I have loved for years especially heard live and played well and Breabach have two excellent exponents in the shape of Calum MacCrimmon and James Duncan Mackenzie. Urlar which roughly translated from Scots Gaelic is the basic theme of a piece of classical bagpipe music is Breabach's 4th album which the band promoted the album extensively across the UK before Christmas.

With Lau's Kris Drever on production duties, the inspiration for Urlar is drawn from the family, friends and the communities from where Megan Henderson (fiddle/vocals/stepdance), Ewan Robertson (guitar/vocals), James Lindsay (double bass) and the fore-mentioned James Duncan Mackenzie (pipes/flute), and Calum MacCrimmon (pipes/whistles) come from, and is steeped in the band's collective Scots heritage, comprising ten traditional and self- penned material. From the outset you can hear why the band are the current Scottish Trad Music Award's Folk Band of the Year and have been nominated in the Best Group category of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Having heard three quarters or the bands albums, this is the best so far and demonstrates five musicians at the top of their game with Kris Drever capturing the live qualities of the band within a studio setting. There is plenty of sparring between the pipes and this interplay brings uniqueness to the album but 'Urlar' is a lot more than pipes.

There is a brilliant version of Hamish Henderson's 'The Seven Men of Knoydart' with Ewan Robertson taking lead vocals. The song tells the struggle in 1948 of the men who laid claim to part of the Brocket estate in the Western Highlands invoking the Land Settlement Act of 1919 to provide smallholdings (farmland) to veterans of war. Brocket won in the Courts and the men's appeal to the Secretary of State for Scotland was rejected and they gave up their fight to obtain crofts on Knoydart of appeal. There is an added poignancy and personal context to this version as the grandfather of the band's Megan Henderson acted as secretary for the crofting rebels. Jimmy Rankins superb song and narrative 'Orangedale Whistle' that examines the effect of change on the Canadian railroads has Calum MacCrimmon on lead vocals and you can hear that this song is personal by his melancholic tone :- "The winds of change forever blow/ Some things stay and some things go/The falling rain must melt the snow/ The orangedale whistle will always blow". This version is made more enjoyable by the explanation of Calum's connection in the sleeve notes. The Scots Gaelic tradition is represented by 'Hi Ho Ro Tha Mi Duilich' and 'Bha Mise Raoir Air An Àirig' which are beautifully sung by Megan Henderson. As a non Gaelic speaker; I found the sleeve notes useful and could then understand why there is such fondness and a certain longing in Megan's vocal delivery for the Isle of Lewis.

I have a particular liking for the only non pipes instrumental on the album 'Monday Night at Riccardo's' which is two great tune set: the driving rhythm of 'The Dudes of Hazzard' and the even more frenetic Monday Night at Riccardo's with its different changes of pace. If the pipes are your bag; and no apologies for that play on words, there are plenty of that from the opening 'The Poetic Milkman' through 'I am Proud to Play a Pipe' which nails Breabach's colours to the mast, and 'Forvie Sands' with its opening and closing pipes which hide the haunting flute and strings weaving the desolate tale of a village swallowed by the sands to the foot stomping pipe tune 'Dr. MacInnes Fancy' which closes 'The Old Hill' set.

You can tell that from the pre- recording research to the sleeve notes and the recording itself, 'Urlar' was a project with strong personal significance at the heart and soul of the band which for me provides the extra factor that makes this Breabach's best album yet. - Fatea


Lau's Kris Drever has found himself behind the control desk for this the fourth album by the critically acclaimed Scots quintet Breabach, who are also the current Scottish Trad Music Award's Folk Band of the Year. For the content of this album the band drew upon the traditions of their own individual hometowns and communities in order to create ten songs and tunes each imbued with a strong sense of their collective Scots heritage. The sets of tunes, both traditional and contemporary, are treated to seasoned arrangements throughout, with a handful of engaging songs, one or two of which are performed in Scots Gaelic, including Hi Ho Ro Tha Mi Duilich and Bha Mise Raoir Air An Àirig, beautifully sung by Megan Henderson.

The songs and tunes chosen for ÙRLAR, the title of which translates from Scots Gaelic to 'floor' generally, but more specifically in this case to the base theme of classical bagpipe music, demonstrate the band's informed sense of composition and arrangement. Established without question as a fine live outfit, Breabach's recordings manage to capture those live qualities within a studio setting, utilising Calum MacCrimmon and James Duncan Mackenzie's distinctive sparring on the Highland bagpipes, whilst Megan Henderson flitters between Ewan Robertson's rhythmic guitar with some fine fiddle playing. James Lindsay completes the circle with some empathetic double bass lines, underpinning everything, the result of which reveals Breabach's highly distinctive sound. - Northern Sky

"Welsh Review"

Breabach is one of Scotland’s most celebrated and successful bands and justifiably so. With a line up that includes fiddle, flute, whistles, guitar, jews harp, two sets of pipes and vocals from the whole 5 piece line up their interpretations of traditional and original music burst with creative energy. The instrumental sets are boldly inventive, and there are some wonderful songs including an interpretation of Karine Polwarts Rivers Run. The progression of tracks is perfect. Concluding the song Scotland’s Winter with piobaireachd variation is pure genius. This powerful track is followed by Farley Bridge, an absolute gorgeous tune by Duncan Chilsom. M’Eudail, M’Eudail is a reflective and moving song in Gaelic. I have no idea what the words mean, but ideas of love, loss and hiraeth fill the heart, and it’s one of several contenders for the final track status. A brilliant album from start to finish. - Delyth jenkins


Urlar - Full Album

Bann - Full Album

Desperate Battle of the Birds - Full Album



Nominated Best Group - BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2014

Live Act of the Year - MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2013

Breabach once again displayed all the artfulness, ambition and imagination that set them so decisively apart from the pack." Scotsman ****

 Tempos are often exhilarating, & the ensemble interplay is fiery. The colours & textures are beautifully layered but spaciously uncluttered lending the Breabach sound a depth & definition that only strengthens its impact. Songlines ****

a richly textured, highly crafted & engaging album & Breabach are magnificent live. Froots 

Ever since launching their career as winners of an Open Stage Award at Celtic Connections 2005, Breabachs star has been steeply on the rise, an ascent that continues with the release of their fourth album, rlar.

They are often described as the new faces of Scottish Traditional music. Their career has already seen them voted Best Group at the Scots Trad Music Awards and nominated for BBC Radio 2 Folk and German Folk Awards. Breabach unite the thrilling talents of Calum MacCrimmon (pipes/whistles/ bouzouki), Ewan Robertson (guitar/vocals), James Mackenzie (pipes/flute/whistles), Megan Henderson (fiddle/ vocals/stepdance) and James Lindsay (double bass). Founder members and new recruits have forged a seamlessly fresh creative dynamic, further enriching Breabachs signature synergy of songs and tunes, traditional and modern, sweetness and fire. 2013 saw Breabach perform across the globe and 2014 is no different, kicking off with a New Year performance at the Woodford Festival in Australia. March and April saw them perform at Womad New Zealand and Sydney Opera House before returning home for an extensive UK tour in May followed by the HebCelt Festival and the Commonwealth Games.

Breabach are currently working hard on a huge tri-nations collaboration project called Boomerang. This exciting project features Breabach as curators (Scotland) and include Moana and the Tribe with Horomona Horo (New Zealand: Aotearoa) and Shellie Morris, Casey Donovan and traditional Aboriginal and Maori dancers and musicians from Australia. Celebrating the Indigenous Commonwealth Boomerang explores links between Gaelic, Aboriginal and Maori cultures, through language, music and dance.

Rehearsals for the Boomerang project were musically directed by Breabachs own Calum MacCrimmon.  A direct descendant of the ancient and legendary dynasty of MacCrimmon pipers (from the Isle of Skye) who are recognised internationally to have been the most prolific teachers, players and composers in Scottish piping history.   Calum will become the 11th hereditary piper to the Clan MacLeod of Dunvegan when it is handed down by his father Iain MacCrimmon. 

To view a live Breabach performance please follow this link :

Band Members / Instrumentation 

Calum MacCrimmon - Pipes, Whistles, Bouzkouki, Vocals

Megan Henderson - Fiddle, Step Dance, Vocals

Ewan Robertson - Guitar, Vocals

James Duncan Mackenzie - Pipes, Flute

James Lindsay - Double Bass