Dan Houghton is a gifted Scottish, traditional musician who plays Highland Bagpipes, smallpipes and borderpipes, flute, guitar and bouzouki, and he sings–though not all at the same time. He is the progeny of two Scottish Country Dance teachers–both of whom are also folkies–as a result of which he began his Scottish musical training several months before he inspired his first lungful of air. Since those far off, halcyon days he has come to have a profound impact on audiences throughout Britain, The Continent, North America and even the antipodes.
His accomplishments are many and varied. His very first instruments were the recorder and viola, which he was obliged to take in school. Although they fell by the wayside fairly sharpish thereafter they carved the track to, and facilitated later musical exploits. Dan started his bagpipe training as a competition piper and played with both the MacAlister (sic.) College pipe band, studying under Andrew Hoag, and the City of Dunedin (New Zealand) pipe band, studying under Airdrie Stewart. Following his return to the northern hemisphere Dan took occasional lessons with Dougie Pincock and Ailean Domhnullach Mac a’ Whaler. More recently, he has taken tuition with Donald F. Lindsay.
During his years in Dunedin Dan began intermittently playing with several local pub and ceilidh bands and eventually weaselled his way into the band Blackthorn, of which he was a member for several years. Whilst working on his graduate degree he was involved in the formation of the Scottish Power-Trad band, Cantrip (formerly known to MI5 as the Edinburgh Four), to which he retains his membership twenty some years on. Since Cantrip’s inception he has also worked, peripherally, with groups such as Salsa Celtica, Doolin and the Vermont, “Celtic” rock-folkers, Prydein. In more recent years he has been a part of Pipers’ Den, with Hazen Metro and Tristan Henderson; Anxty, with Eric McDonald (sic.) and If You Must Know, with Rachel Clementé. Back in the days before social gatherings became potentially lethal biohazards, Dan devoted a fair amount of his energy and limited concentration to playing for Scottish Country Dancing with Parcel of Rogues, whose constituents include Sue Petrov and Calum Pasqua, as well as himself.
These days, when not performing, practicing or teaching Dan whiles away his time in the forests of southern Vermont working as a carpenter and general maker and repairist of things.
The Great Highland bagpipe, a' phìob mhòr, is Scotland's most well known bagpipe. Dan teaches traditional, and ceilidh style piping.
The Scottish smallpipe is a bellows-blown bagpipe. A quiet volume and flexibility of key allows its to be easily played with a variety of other instruments.
The Lowland or Border Bagpipes, Piob Shionnaich, are bellows-blown and configured with the drones mounted in a common stock.. This is an innovation which appears to date from the mid-17th century.
The Irish flute is a conical-bore, simple-system wooden flute of the type favoured by classical flautists of the early 19th century with modifications to optimize its use in Irish, Scottish, Breton or Welsh traditional music.
The modern penny whistle is indigenous to Ireland and Scotland. It is an excellent instrument that can be played in all sorts of wonderful Celtic music ensembles.
Am fear a bhios air dheireadh beiridh a’ bhiast air
He that comes last will be caught by the beast.