Survivals and Revivals; History of Piping; Oral History; Heritage
Tradition in a Modern World; Regional Ethnologies
European Ethnological Research Centre - Regional Ethnologies of Scotland; The Survivals and Revivals Project
Gary West was born and brought up in Highland Perthshire, attending Pitlochry High School and Breadalbane Academy, before moving to Edinburgh at the age of 18. He was the first person to graduate from the University of Edinburgh in the newly launched degree entitled Scottish Ethnology and Scottish Historical Studies, in 1988. Following a brief and ill-judged period as a banker, he returned to the School of Scottish Studies to undertake a PhD, and was later appointed to the staff there as a lecturer in 1994.
From the age of 7 he has been highly active within the field of traditional music, learning his trade with the innovative Vale of Atholl Pipe Band with whom he won both the Scottish and European Championships. On settling in Edinburgh he moved sideways into the folk music scene, joining the band Ceolbeg in 1988, and the so-called ‘Scottish folk supergroup’, Clan Alba, in 1993. In more recent years he has played and recorded with a variety of musicians, and has toured widely in Europe and North America. Since 2002 he has presented the weekly specialist programme on BBC Radio Scotland, Pipeline.
His research interests centre around the general theme of the use of the past within the present, and include heritage, revivalism, oral history and the conceptualisation of tradition.
Board Member, Creative Scotland
Chair, Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland
Board Member, Arts Trust Scotland
Board Member, Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust
Member, AHRC Peer Review College
External Examiner, University of Liverpool
Voicing Scotland: Folk, Culture, Nation. Luath Press, Edinburgh, 2012.
Farm, Family and Neighbourhood in Post-Improvement Perthshire: an Historical Ethnography, Mellen Press, Lampeter, 2007.
2013 (forthcoming) ‘Further Reflections on Collection-centred Ethnology: the View from Scotland’ in Bealoideas: Journal of the Folklore of Ireland Society, Vol 80
2012 (forthcoming) ‘Heritage and Ethnology’ in Scottish Life and Society: a Compendium of Scottish Ethnology, Volume 1, Tuckwell Press
2012 (forthcoming) ‘Oral Sources’ in Scottish Life and Society: a Compendium of Scottish Ethnology, Volume 1, Tuckwell Press
2012 (forthcoming) ‘The Future of Ethnology’ in Scottish Life and Society: a Compendium of Scottish Ethnology, Volume 1, Tuckwell Press
2012 ‘Scottish Military Music’ in E Spiers, J Crang and M Strickland (eds), A Military History of Scotland, Edinburgh University Press.
2010 ‘Hamish Henderson and the Piping Tradition of the North East’ in E Bort (ed), Borne on the Carrying Stream: the Legacy of Hamish Henderson, Grace Note Publications, Ochtertyre.
2006 ‘Music’, In Storrier, S (ed) Scottish Life and Society, Volume 6, Domestic Life. Tuckwell Press, 120-133
2006 ‘Custom’, In Storrier, S (ed) Scottish Life and Society, Volume 6, Domestic Life. Tuckwell Press, 562-580
2005 (encyclopaedia entry) ‘Scott, Sir Walter’. Enzyklopädie des Märchens: Handwörterbuch zur historischen und vergleichenden Erzählforschung. Band 12, Lieferung 1. 461-465. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin and New York.
2003 ‘Learning Locality: Inter-generational Narratives of Place and Belonging in a Scottish Local Education Project.’ International Journal of Learning, Vol 10, 3229-3241
2003 ‘Lands and Lyrics: the Dynamics of Music and Song in Rural Society.’ Review of Scottish Culture Vol 15, 57-66.
2001 ‘Oral Testimony and the Hearth: Custom, Belief and Superstition in the Scottish Tradition.’ in Marion Wood (ed) The Hearth in Scotland Scottish Vernacular Buildings Working Group Regional and Thematic Studies 7, 86 – 99.
2000 ‘Conceptualising Neighbourhood: Charity Labour Gatherings in Rural Perthshire, 1850-1950’. Scottish Studies, Vol 33, 132-144.
A Clear Day's Dawning: Music for a New Parliament Greentrax (1999)
Katherine Campbell The Songs of Amelia and Jane Harris. Springthyme (2004)
Ceolbeg, Not the Bunnyhop Greentrax (1989)
Ceolbeg, Seeds to the Wind Greentrax (1991)
Ceolbeg, An Unfair Dance Greentrax (1993)
Ceolbeg, Cairn Water Greentrax (1999)
Blair Douglas, Stay Strong, (2007)
Connie Dover, Somebody Green Linnet (1991)
Talitha MacKenzie, Solas Riverboat Records (1993)
Kathy Matthea, Time Passes By (1990)
Royal Scottish Pipers Society Recital. Greentrax (2003)
Steele the Show, A Tribute to Davy Steele, Greentrax, (2011)
Andy M Stewart, The Man on the Moon Green Linnet (1993)
Wendy Stewart, About Time Greentrax (1993)
Wendy Stewart, About Time 2 Greentrax (1997)
Wendy Stewart, Standing Wave (2003)
Wendy Stewart and Gary West, Hinterlands, (2008)
Vale of Atholl Pipe Band, Cam ye By Atholl Lapwing (1982)
Vale of Atholl Pipe Band, Both Sides of the Tracks Lapwing (1985)
Vale of Atholl Pipe Band, Salutation Dunkeld Music (1988)
Vale of Atholl Pipe Band, No Reservations Lapwing (1989)
Various, The Piper and the Maker Greentrax, (2004)
Gary West, The Islay Ball Greentrax (2001)
Wolfstone, The Prophet Lismore (1992)
Gary presents the weekly Radio Scotland programme, "Pipeline".
This article was published on Sep 5, 2012