Scottish music. As a kid, these two words always brought an image in my mind – Scottish men wearing check & striped skirt and playing a weird looking musical instrument. I had seen them performing once or twice in television. Frankly speaking, the music appeared as a depressing tune to my ears. Moreover, I didn’t like the idea of men wearing skirts. I used to wonder why anyone ever thought of such a strange costume for men !
I came to know much later that the ‘weird looking musical instrument’ is ‘Bagpipe‘. And, the men wearing skirts are Bagpipe players. No matter how much the music appears depressing to me , it is quite popular not only in Scotland but all over Europe. Bagpipe players have entertained various generations of Royalty and civilians with this musical instrument. The ‘strange costume’ they wear is actually their traditional dress ‘kilt‘.
Knowing a little bit history reduced the quirky feeling inside me about Bagpipes and the players. Rather I felt it would be a nice experience to see them live someday. But I didn’t know that I could see them performing in Singapore out of all places.
I and my husband went out on a weekend evening few days back. Our plan was not to have any plan and simply roam around uselessly here and there.
We were strolling in Clarke Quay. It is one of the hot favourite places in Singapore and mainly popular for boat rides, crabs & pubs. The usually crowded Clarke Quay was looking more bright that evening as Christmas was around the corner. Stalls of Turkish ice-cream (famous nowadays due to it’s unique & funny style of presenting ice-creams) were also present. A festive mood prevailed everywhere.
In the midst of all this , we suddenly saw few boys gathering in the crowd and making certain arrangements. After letting a zoomed-in view, we realised they were Bagpipe players. They were not Scottish though.
It was a group of young Singaporean boys dressed in white shirt, black vest, red check & striped skirt, long black socks and black shiny shoes. They were looking handsome and not an inch less regal & elegant than the Scottish men. One of them started beating a big drum (I don’t know it’s name) rhythmically. Rest of the boys joined him and I hear them funnel a beautiful music through the Bagpipes.
For the first time, Scottish music didn’t appear depressing to me at all. On the contrary, the tune was absolutely relaxing and I enjoyed the music to my heart’s content. The beat of the drum intertwined by Bagpipe music creates a hypnotic atmosphere in the audience. I understood that day why Scottish music is so popular. And, experiencing it in Lion City ‘Singapore’ made it even more memorable for me.