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Scottish Music

Scotland has a rich tradition of music, song and dance. We have the Ceilidh (pronounced kay-lay) which is an informal evening of dancing, singing and, of course, drinking good whisky. A Ceilidh involves Scottish Country Dancing, which is enjoyed by a large number of people and can be as formal or informal as people wish to make it. There is also the more formal Highland Dancing which is often undertaken competitively at Highland Games.

As for music Although the bagpipe is closely interwoven with the history of Scotland's long and bloody wars with colonial England, the instrument actually originated in North Africa and was brought to the British Isles in the first century A.D. by Roman invaders.

In the middle of the 18th Century when Scotland was still in rebellion against England, Miller says that playing bagpipes was considered "an offense against the crown," and often resulted in execution.

For the Scottish population, the bagpipe was a symbol of national pride and defiance of British colonial repression. Scottish citizen soldiers also used it as a warning system to announce the presence of British troops.

After the Scottish rebellion was ultimately crushed, England tried to get Scots to join their colonial army. But the Scots, who had earned a reputation for being excellent soldiers and were fiercely nationalistic, refused.

However, the British Army came up with an ingenious idea. They decided to allow bagpipers to join the army, which marked the beginning of the Highland Regiments, which to this day are a fixture in the British military ranks.

Bagpipes are usually automatically identified with Scotland, and to a lesser extent Ireland, but are also found in Greece, Italy, Germany, Holland, France, Austria, and in parts of Scandinavia. Spanish Basques have their own version of the bagpipe, called a galleta.

It's said  that the bagpipe lends itself to the ruggedness, landscape, and general aura of Scotland.