Maxwell’s Waves and Freeland’s tunes

The music for the new dance Maxwell’s Waves was composed by one of the great figures in Scottish traditional music, Freeland Barbour. The dance made its first public appearance at the Island Ceilidh in the 2012 Festival, with guidance from Jessie Stuart who created it, and then had its Scottish launch in Maxwell’s home territory at a ceilidh in the Dumfries and Galloway Science Festival in April 2013.

The tunes are ‘Glenlair’ – the name of James Clerk Maxwell’s home in Galloway – and ‘Maxwell’s Waves’.

Freeland is recognised as one of Scotland’s leading accordionists and composers of music in traditional style. His tunes indeed are so well known that they have become classic – like this one, played here by Graham Wilson. It was composed for the late Bobby Tulloch in Shetland – The Ornithologist.

Another familiar composition is the tune he wrote for a very well known member of the Wyre Band – Edwin Flaws of Wyre. The Wyre Band were a really good to dance to, with the button-key accordion of Edwin leading them, and in Freeland’s tune there is the crispness of pace that brings people onto the floor as they did, and listening to it you can readily think about a crossing on the boat to Wyre on a fine spring morning with the Flaws family.

Freeland publishes sheet music and runs Scotland’s largest recording studio, Castlesound in East Lothian. His many CDs include a series with dance instructions.

“Freeland Barbour has played a vital role in the revitalisation of traditional music in Scotland” – Folkworks

He is much in demand for composing and producing TV and film soundtracks, and he can write in a lyrical, haunting style, as with Helen Scott of Humbie, which he plays here himself.

Freeland is a multi-instrumentalist. He plays with some of the best musicians around, and is co-founder of two of the great Scottish ceilidh bands, his current band The Occasionals and The Wallochmor Ceilidh Band. He is also a member of The Ghillies and an ex-member of Silly Wizard.