Top Of The Crops is the 14th annual CD of the students of the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music. We’ve always tried to keep our students mindful of their heritage, but also to remind them that things flourish as they develop. Not everything the students create every year ends up on the album, but we hope that we give a good sample of the best of the crop. Quality is important, but so is variety, and our aim is always that a good broad range of the many aspects of Scottish traditional music, however you choose to define that, appears on these discs. The production of the Centre’s annual CD is the focal point of the whole school year, and the material on it is selected from all the live performance arrangements produced that year. The Centre, also known as Sgoil Chiùil na Gàidhealtachd, is a residential project based at Plockton High School in the Highlands of Scotland. Its previous students include several award-winning performers and leading lights of the current generation of Scottish traditional musicians and singers, such as Norrie MacIver, Innes Watson, Ewan Robertson, Daniel Thorpe, Mairearad Green, and the Mischa MacPherson trio. Tutors at the Centre include many of the best known traditional musicians in Scotland, such as Iain MacFarlane (fiddle), Iain MacFadyen (bagpipe), Sandy Brechin (accordion), Ingrid Henderson (clàrsach), Andy Thorburn (piano), Jack Evans (guitar), Mick West (Scots song), Rachel Walker (Gaelic song), and Centre Director Dougie Pincock (flute and whistle). Entry to the Centre is by audition and is open to all secondary school pupils resident in Scotland.
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