Biographies of Ypres "Pals"

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The story

Barbara Dickson, OBE Barbara Dickson

Barbara is a Scottish singer and actress who has enjoyed a long and highly successful world-wide career having placed fifteen albums in the UK Albums Chart from 1977 to date, as well as recording a number of hit singles. “The Scotsman” newspaper has described her as Scotland's best-selling female singer in terms of the numbers of hit chart singles and albums she has achieved. As an actress she has two Olivier Awards, with roles including Viv Nicholson in the musical “Spend Spend Spend” and she was the original Mrs. Johnston in Willy Russell's long-running musical Blood Brothers. On TV she starred as Anita Braithwaite in “Band of Gold”.



from the media plus audience quotes.

Siobhan Miller  Siobhan Miller

Siobhan has been a three time winner of the "Scots Singer of the Year" (including this year) and a recipient of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award. A highly regarded performer of traditional and contemporary songs. She is enjoying a very successful musical career having graduated BA (Hons) on the Scottish Music Course at Glasgow’s Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.


Mainly taken at Celtic Connections and France

Dick Gaughan Dick Gaughan

Dick is a Scottish music icon, singer, and long regarded as one of Scotland’s leading singer-songwriters. Dick has been the subject of three television documentaries in the UK: BBC Two's Spectrum (1982), Scottish Television's NB (1989) and BBC Four's Sessions (2006). In December 2009 he was inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame and in February 2010 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at BBC Radio Two’s annual Folk Awards ceremony.

The Songs

Songs featuring in the concerts

Ian McCalman Ian McCalman

One of the founder members of Scottish folk group, “The McCalmans”, formed in 1964. 26 albums, 6 TV series, "Hamish Henderson award for services to traditional music”, "Best live Act” (McCalmans) from "The Scots Trad Music Awards”, "Hall of Fame". Directed productions for Celtic Connections, song-writer, recording studio etc. Originator and author of the “Far, Far From Ypres” production, which he directs.


The Script

Full script free

Iain Anderson Iain Anderson,

Iain narrates the “Far, Far From Ypres” show and is a distinguished broadcaster with BBC Scotland having presented his show for more than 30years. In his early career Iain also broadcast on the sports of rugby and shinty for the BBC. He, together with Donald MacInnes, established the first “Celtic Connections” at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall. After graduating in English and History he went on to join the speech and drama department of Jordanhill College as well as being heavily involved in the University Arts Theatre Group. He was presented with the Services to Broadcasting Award in 2016.



Mairi MacInnes Mairi MacInnes

“One of the most accomplished Gaelic singers in Scotland today” (Rob Adams, Herald Scotland) Mairi comes from South Uist and is a Mod Gold medalist. Her love for Gaelic is instinctive and enduring.


Professor Gary West Gary West via University of Edinburgh website

Gary was the very first graduate From Edinburgh University’s degree course Scottish Ethnology and Scottish Historical Studies in 1988 went on to take a doctorate there and most recently a professor. Gary is a fine piper and with the Valle of Athol Pipe Band won both the European and Scottish championships. He has also been involved in the Scottish folk music scene playing with both Ceolbeg and then Clan Alba. He has travelled extensively in America and Canada as a musician and tutor. Since 2003 he has presented on BBC Radio Scotland the weekly specialist programme on piping, “Pipeline”.


 Stephen Quigg Stephen Quigg

Stephen has been involved in the Scottish folk and traditional scene for more than 35 years. He has a remarkable voice and is also a fine guitarist and bodhran player. For nine years Stephen was a member of “The McCalmans”. He has become a very popular performer in the UK and beyond and has recorded many albums both solo and with the McCalmans. He also has a very successful singing partneship with his wife, Pernille and tours Europe constantly. Much in demand.


Ian Bruce Ian Bruce

Described by Linn Records as “One of the great singer / song-writers of the Scottish Folk Movement with a powerful voice and passionate character.” Ian has performed across the UK, Europe and the United States for more than 30years. He is also regarded as one of the finest interpreters of the songs of Robert Burns. He made quite a reputation for himself undertaking primary school workshops, on Burns, Alan Ramsay and modern song-writing, throughout East Ayrshire, Dumfries & Galloway and South Lanarkshire. Ian has also developed his skills as a recording engineer and has his own recording studio in Fife.


Mairearad Green   Mairearad Green

Raised in the Scottish Highlands, Mairearad is renowned for brilliant playing of accordion and pipes. Mairearad regularly performs alongside multi-instrumentalist Anna Massie, creating “music much more than the sum of just two parts” (The Scotsman).  She has previously toured with Eddi Reader, Karine Polwart, The Poozies etc. She is also an acclaimed composer and scored a five star review for her first solo album, “Passing Places”, her suite of tunes commissioned by Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival, for their New Voices series.


Donald Hay 

Donald Hay is a drummer/percussionist with an exceptional ability to play with power, empathy, delicacy and drama. Over the last twenty years he has become one of the most highly sought after percussionists in the Scottish and English folk scenes appearing on recordings by Sting, Eliza Carthy, Kate Rusby, Martin Carthy, Kathryn Tickell, Gordon Duncan, The Battlefield Band The Nuala Kennedy Band as well as with Old Blind Dogs. He has appeared on the highly successful TV show and the Celtic Connections' concert ‘The Transatlantic Sessions’.


Stevie Palmer Stevie Palmer

"...... a beautiful singer with a gorgeous warm voice and lovely, honest way of communicating with an audience" (Karine Polwart).

Stevie made an immediate impact with his first album, "Heartprint Shadow". His emotive song, "Black is the Sun", which he performs on the show, was hailed by many as the "stand-out" song on the album.


Anne Murray (MBE), Fiona Forbes, John Blackwood.  Sangsters

 Sangsters, from Fife in Scotland, are an internationally recognised group of harmony singers. The band members are Anne Murray (MBE), Fiona Forbes and John Blackwood. A superb band.


Tam Ward

Tam is a highly regarded singer and concertina player. He is a retired Air Traffic Engineer/Flying Instructor who has been part of the folk scene since the sixties.


Brian Miller Brian Miller via Temple Records

Brian has played with, and been a member of,“The Laggan”, Swan Arcade”, “The Great Fife Road Show” and “The Occasionals”. He is a stalwart of the Scottish Folk scene and is in demand as a session guitarist.


Norman Gore, Gordon Stewart, Kenny McDonald Soopna via Scottish-Folk-Music

The above three are all members of Soopna, the Edinburgh based group, who recorded their first album at Kevock Digital, Ian McCalman’s studio. Norman has been poached from his singing role in the band to play snare drum with Donald Hay in the Ypres production. Kenny is a folk music expert with his own programme on Diamond Radio.


Jim Weatherston, May Weatherston, George Archibald, Charlie Milne Ragged Glory

Ragged Glory – A group of four (above) who are well recognised on the folk scene across Scotland having regularly appeared in:- Edinburgh, Glenfarg Melrose, Kirkcaldy, Aboyne and “Nitten”. They have also appeared at The Burns Monument annually in Edinburgh over the last 5 years when it is open to the public for that city’s Open Days. Charlie and George are two of the administration trio involved in arranging concerts, venues, rehearsals for the Ypres production, alongside Ian McCalman


Alan and Carole Prior

Alan and Carole are married and sing together beautifully. There are few folk festivals from all over Britain that have not had the pleasure of these remarkable traditional singers. Ian asked them to join the "Pals" and after some uncertainty, refused to take "no" for an answer.


Dennis Wilson 

Dennis is a mainstay of many seasonal community productions in Midlothian and was “discovered” by Ian, singing and acting in a brilliant local Christmas show. He is one of the choir and a valuable member of the Ypres production.


Pete Heywood Pete Heywood via Handsupfortrad

Pete has been in the folk scene for many years and, though he's no mean singer/guitarist, he does not realise those talents on this particular show. It was his idea, initially, to use projection in the show. He is the projectionist and has researched and programmed all the photographs that appear on the screen at the back of the stage throughout the show. Pete started up the UK famous acoustic music magazine, "Living Tradition", he is a talented photographer and he is married to the award-winning traditional singer, Heather Heywood.