Originally calling itself 'Bodhran, Bodhran' after the Celtic drum, the band was formed in 1984 with the following line up:- "Big John" Northcote (Accordion) Sinclair Little (Pipes & Guitar) Fergus Wood (Drums). All three musicians were from The Trossachs, the wild mountainous area of land to the east of Loch Lomond and famed as the home of Rob Roy the 18th Century McGregor chieftain. The band's first gig was in the Altskeith Hotel, Kinlochard, an old inn by the banks of Loch Ard. The hotel hosted the famous "Ale Fest", a four day real ale festival in the late 80's which saw many well known Celtic, rock, jazz and heavy metal musicians appear. The Sunday Times described the hotel as the "wackiest, wildest pub in the British Isles". The Trossachs is fortunate in having many talented fiddle players thanks to the dedicated work of the late Jackie Mengler, a music teacher at McLaren High School, Callander. Two of these youngsters, Eilidh Campbell and Neil Ferguson from Aberfoyle, started playing with the band at sessions in 1993.
Jock the Box
At that time "Big John" Northcote moved away from the district and a talented young accordion player "Jock the Box" MacMillan joined the band.The band was now developing a strong reputation as a dance band and for three years, from 1992 -1994, performed at the annual St. Andrew's Ball in the Ritz Hotel, Lisbon, Portugal. In 1994 the band were invited to play in a music video featuring The Trossachs. This video featured Bill McCue, former lead bass singer with The Scottish Opera, Francesca Wood as female vocals and the late Ron Gonnella, one of Scotland's finest fiddle players. The video received a Silver Disc award from the Scottish Music Industry in 1998.
The year 1995 saw the release of our first solo album, "Slainte!", produced by accordion virtuoso Gregor Lowrey who features on many of the tracks and also performed at the UK premiere of the movie "Rob Roy". This was followed in 1996 by our second appearance on a music video, "The Royal Highland Show". We also toured in Scandinavia and in 1995 Tommy Walker, a sheep farmer from Callander, replaced Jock MacMillan who continues to join us on overseas tours.
The next big events for the band were in the year 2000 with a trip to the Disney Epcot Center in Florida to represent Scotland at the Millennium celebrations in January followed by another US trip in April to play at Tartan week in Chicago and also in St Louis. In 2001 the band made a three week tour of U.S. Mid-West. In 2002, the band made an 18 day tour of the United States, playing in the states of Kansas, Missouri and Illinois. Also in 2002, the Band made a very successful tour of Prague in the Czech Republic which included a concert in the Akropolis Theatre and the Caledonian Ball in the Hilton Hotel. This year saw the Band receive a Silver Disc for "Strip the Willow", the top selling Ceilidh Band CD in 2002.
In 2003, the Band played at the Baillna Street Festival in Co. Mayo, Irish Republic; the Portadown Country Comes to Town Festival in Co. Armagh, N.Ireland as well as a tour in the Czech Republic, including the Liberec Highland Games the biggest in Europe and an appearance on the top Czech TV breakfast show as well as a sell-out concert in Prague. November saw the band on tour in India (New Delhi) and Cairo, Egypt celebrating St Andrews Day.
In recent years, band tours have included India, Egypt, New York and Europe. Also, the band has spent increasing time playing at festivals and events in Ireland – both North and South. They have been regulars on the bill of the Galway Celtic Sessions Festival in Galway City, 2008 being a special Scottish feature at which the band appeared with Eddie Reader. They have also starred at the Portadown “Country comes to Town” Festival in Armagh and return to the Ballina Festival, County Mayo in 2009.
In 2006, the band appeared with Fiona Kennnedy at the Scottish-American Foundation Ball at the University Club of New York in Manhattan, returning to the city to play in the exclusive Brook Club also in Manhattan for a special Scottish Ball. They also made their first trip to the Netherlands in 2008, playing in Nijmegen.
The band is now joined with John Burns who was the 1999/2000 All Scotland Accordion Champion and the Scottish Musette Champion in 2002. An extremely accomplished player and composer, John has toured with the band in the United States of America and Prague.We also have Derek Rae and he has played and toured with us in Ireland.
We hope this has given you some insight to the background of the band and we look forward to playing for you.