Lewis Piper, James Duncan Mackenzie, releases tune book of own compositions

đź“· Photos by Murdo Macleod

Lewis piper James Duncan Mackenzie has released a tune book featuring 70 of his own compositions for pipes and other instruments, including tunes which have already become popular in both the pipe band and folk music scenes.

The James Duncan Mackenzie Collection features 52 pipe tunes, including tunes such as Smelling Fresh and Willie Bucach Macleod of Stornoway, and 18 tunes that go outside the pipe range.

Many of James’ tunes have been played by other musicians and bands around the world including Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band who included his composition, Smelling Fresh, in one of their World Championship winning medleys.

James commented: “I’m delighted to release my debut sheet music collection. It’s made up of many of the tunes I’ve written over the last 15 years or so. I’ve really enjoyed trying to write tunes over the years and have taken inspiration from people and places all over the world. It’s great when other musicians want to learn and play some of my tunes and this encourages me to keep writing and trying to come up with new ideas and new tunes. I hope the tunes in the book will cater to a diverse range of pipers and other instrumentalists and that people will find something that they enjoy playing.”

From the village of Back on the Isle of Lewis but now living in Shawbost, James started piping at the age of eight and was initially taught by Pipe Major Nick Gordon and the late Pipe Major Iain Murdo Morrison.

He is a former member of the folk band Breabach with whom he released four studio albums and toured internationally with for over a decade playing Highland Pipes and wooden flutes. James is currently a member of Tryst, a 10-piece bagpipe group made up of some of Scotland’s most well-known contemporary pipers and composers.

In 2019, James returned to competitive piping and won the Silver medal for Piobaireachd at the Northern Meeting piping competition in Inverness.

To date, James has produced and released two solo albums, with his third solo album due for release in 2022. James’ recent and forthcoming albums consist entirely of his own tunes, all of which can be found in his new book.

The book is currently exclusively available from James via his Bandcamp page:


About James Duncan Mackenzie

From the village of Back on the Isle of Lewis but now living in Shawbost, James is a graduate of the University of the Highlands and Islands and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where he studied on the Piping Degree course. During his studies in Glasgow, he played with the Scottish Power Pipe band under Pipe Major Chris Armstrong.

James has toured quite extensively over his music career playing at festivals all around the world with Breabach and his solo project. His debut self-titled album was well received in 2013 and was performed at international festivals including MIMO festival, Brazil and Festival Interceltique de Lorient in Brittany.  James is also a member of Tryst, a 10 piece bagpipe group, which is made up of Scotland’s top contemporary composing pipers

He has released two albums to date, James Duncan Mackenzie and Sròmos, and is currently working on this third album, due for release early 2022.