Saor Patrol
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Saor Patrol

Lansing, North Carolina, United States

Lansing, North Carolina, United States
Band Rock Celtic


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



"Q&A: Charlie Allan of Saor Patrol"

He’s led an army of 160 trained warriors through the gory battle scenes of Gladiator and the forests of Robin Hood. Is the father of five children. And heralded as one of Scotland’s most dedicated preservers of the country’s history. He also tours the world with a hard-rocking, metallic and traditional pipe band known as Saor Patrol (pronounced Shore Patrol). Charlie “Chick” Allan towers tall and fully-bearded, a bear of a man who appears as intimidating off-screen as he is on-screen with sword and a severed head in hand. That is, until you get to know him.

Get him talking about his heart’s passion, the Clanranald Trust for Scotland and their re-created medieval village of Duncarron, designed to educate upcoming generations as a living museum and experiential history center – and you know he’s a man who knows how to turn dreams into reality. He also has a depth and gentleness to him that lets you know you’re dealing with an old soul and a generous spirit.

No, Charlie Allan is not who you expect him to be. And perhaps that is what makes his music and his life’s calling so intriguing.

Tell me your story. How did you become a musician and what inspired you to form Saor Patrol?

I was a musician from an early age. At age 12, I was taught to play the accordion. This obviously gave me an ear for music. But it wasn’t until the mid-‘90’s that I decided one day that we should have music within our Clanranald Trust group. We had everything else like a film combat team and the education department that visited schools and the living history side of things, too. So it seemed a good idea to take up the pipes.

I understand you taught yourself how to play the bagpipes while on the set of Gladiator. You also compose much of Saor Patrol’s music – blending rock with Celtic , tradition with contemporary— creating unique sounds that bridge the past with the future. What inspires you as a songwriter?

I did. I’d been shown how to play pipes by a mate, but decided to take a few lessons, so I went to Ewan Boyd, a well-known piper. The “strict” style was not for me. As Ewan put it, I already had my own style from exploring around myself. So, we decided since I had a grasp of the scale the best thing to do would be to show me in great detail how to maintain the pipes and tune them, sort of a crash course in troubleshooting. I saw and heard other bands play pipes off the strict style, but still sticking to traditional music and thought ‘hmm, I could do something different.’ I felt I could play the blues on the pipes (and I do ) so I did. I practiced while on the set of Gladiator and thought I was doing okay when I got back, but apparently it was a painful experience for folk upstairs in the office.

My inspiration for the music comes from where I am, personal loss or gain and just what vibe I pick up from where I am. It’s a good process I think, and I whistle tunes into my phone as and when they come and then later they become compositions.

You have a unique purpose behind all of your creative efforts – music and acting. You are the CEO/founder of the Clanranald Trust of Scotland and developer of Duncarron, and your efforts with Combat International and Saor Patrol all go to fund those efforts. Many people love history and their country, but you’ve dedicated your life, time and work to preserving the historical knowledge and heritage and passing along Scotland’s rich history – you speak at schools and at concerts. How did you decide that this is what you were meant to do? Where did this passion come from?

The passion came from when I was a 15-year-old kid at school. I was in a history lesson and when the “Picts” were mentioned (the indigenous Celts of Scotland labelled ‘picts’ from the Latin ‘Picti,’ meaning painted people) I was told we were not and did not cover their history, but would cover English history instead. I objected. Much to my dismay, to no avail. So I was off to read up on these illusive peoples of Scotland. In my late teens and up to my 30's, I would travel around every weekend to the North checking out historic places and getting back to where my ancestors came from.

I get the sense that it’s all about giving back for you. To Scotland, to children, to future generations. What is the most important thing you want to pass along to the next generation?

It is, and I feel that I have to do this and leave something established that is accessible to all.Something that will run like a well-oiled machine and never stop. Something nobody can abuse for their own gain or change for their own desires. I hope some of our present and future generations will take up the banner and carry on. That would be my final wish.

Combat International is highly specialized in the film industry. There aren’t many actors in the world who have specialized knowledge in medieval weaponry/combat – how did you develop those skills?

I developed this from basics I picked up on film sets from other enthusiasts and ma - American Songwriter


Esspee (2001)
Black Bull (2003)
Full Boar (2005)
Full Throttle (2006)
Hands Across the Border (2009)
Stomp (2010)
Two Headed Dog (2012)



Saor Patrol (pronounced shore - Gaelic for freedom/liberty) was formed in 2000 combining bagpipes and drums to create a distinct tribal sound. Their first year out they won "Best New Artists" at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Since then the band's popularity has grown and they have added an electric guitar to the pipes and drums they started with. This combination of powerful instrumentation has evolved into what we call Scottish Medieval Rock.

Saor Patrol has performed many international gigs over the years however Germany is currently their largest market. The latest CD "Two Headed Dog" reached number 5 on the German Alternative Music Charts in 2012.

The band was invited to Wacken, Germany in 2012 to be part of the largest metal festival in Europe. They have been invited back in 2014. The band has also been invited to South by Southwest in 2014, a very huge honor.