Gordon Mooney has played the pipes since he was gobsmacked by the Highland bagpipes as a wee lad of seven, and discovered the world of grips, birls, torluaths, tachums, crunluaths and the piper's quest for T H E P E R F E C T R E E D. He has devoted many years to exploring, performing and recording the instruments and music of the Scottish Borders and has published several tune collections and tutors, including a musicological celebration of the Scottish Wedding.
He has been playing ‘The Devil’s Instrument’ for over 40 years but hasn’t entered into any pacts, as yet! He attributes his skill on the Highland, Lowland, Border and Northumbrian Bagpipes and the whistle solely to many years of dedication and practice.
Gordon has been recognised as the foremost master of the Bellows blown bagpipes of Scotland and in the 1980’s led the revival in interest both in the bellows bagpipes and their music with his publications and recordings, particularly the influential and much praised album ‘O’er the Border.’ He has performed in many prestigious events and venues in Europe and North America and has taught and lectured to students of the bagpipe and Scottish music.
Gordon is widely recognised as an important figure at the forefront of The Cauld Wind (bellows blown) bagpipe revival. On 'O'er The Border', his first album (released in 1989), he plays Border Bagpipes, Scottish Smallpipes and Northumbrian Smallpipes, solo and in combination with other instruments.
Gordon's knowledge of piping spans many centuries of music and lore and encompasses many styles. He is an erudite scholar of the music and an outstanding player. His books include, A Tutor for Cauld Wind Bagpipes, A Choice Collection of Tunes for the Lowland and Border Bagpipes, O’er the Border, and A Scottish Wedding.
Awards include Billboard Award 1993, and election as Fellow of Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. He has dual EEC and Canadian Citizenship.
The revival of interest in the music of the Scottish Borders of the last few decades is due, in no small part, to the pioneering work of Gordon Mooney. Gordon was one of the founding members of the Lowland and Border Pipers' Society , which works hard to promote the playing of "Cauld Wind Pipes."
Gordon’s collections of Border music,‘O’ER THE BORDER’ and ‘CHOICEST TUNES,’ described as "seminal works which deserve a place in any bellows piper's library," have been republished this year by the Lowland and Border Pipers’ Society as GORDON MOONEY'S COLLECTIONS OF MUSIC FOR LOWLAND AND BORDER BAGPIPES. This 72-page combined collection, includes settings of 95 tunes and detailed historical notes.
When Gordon is not performing, he is making Scottish small pipes and Northumbrian bagpipes and handsome blackwood whistles inlaid with silver Celtic rings, as in the photo below.
African Blackwood Scottish Smallpipes, and fine leather bags and bellows, handcrafted by Gordon Mooney