Music Culture

Gizzen Briggs

Gizzen Briggs is a traditional music group based in Tain Royal Academy.  The aim of the group is to encourage young people to be involved in traditional music – both instrumental and vocal, and dance.  The group has played in many different venues, from the opening of the Scottish Parliament to the State Capital Building, Montana, from Eden Court Theatre to many barns at various ploughing marches!

The name Gizzen Briggs is from the sandbar at the entrance to the Dornoch Firth.   This links the two areas that members of the group come from, Sutherland and Ross-shire.

According to tradition, the Gizzen Briggs is the remains of an attempt to build a land bridge from Ross-shire to Sutherland.  A local legend tells that the chief of the clan Mackay was forbidden to open it, but curiosity got the better of him and the box was opened.  He was immediately surrounded by hordes of fairies yelling “Obair, obair, obair” meaning “work, work, work”.  The quick-witted messenger sent the fairies to weave ropes of sand, a task which is, of course, impossible to do.  The fairies are still there, toiling away at their never ending task.  Sometimes, with the wind in the right direction, they can be heard lamenting that they can never return to their old haunts.

Gizzen Briggs has released many recordings.

If you wish more information on the band or wish to purchase a CD please email

Easter Ross Musical Theatre

Until very recently called 'Garrick Singers' was founded in 1973, this group of talented singers and performers, regularly stage wonderful performances in Tain. Their first performance of Gilbert and Sullivan was in 1974 and they have been performing to sell out audiences every since.

There are over 40 members of the group with an additional 40 invaluable backstage crew.  The group features a whole range of ages and talents. 

Tain Pipe Band

Tain boasts its own prestigious Pipe Band. The Pipe Band performs during summer evenings on the High Street and is present at many of the events held in Tain.

History of Tain Pipe Band:

For many years pre-war (1920’s-30’s) the band was known as the Boy Scouts Pipe Band, but in the 1930s became the Tain Burgh Pipe Band. The Band went into abeyance in 1939 for the duration of the war and was resurrected in 1946 by some of the old band members and some newcomers. In 1950 the band was taken over by the British Legion, and was called the Tain B.L. Pipe Band. Their first Pipe Major was Donald Ross, and he led an 18-20 strong band. P.M. Willie Morrison later took over as Pipe Major. The Tain B.L Pipe Band went defunct in 1956, and when the band broke up, all the uniforms were badly stored, and dampness caused irreparable damage to all of the items, except for two or three drums.

In 1995 a number of individual pipers and drummers who had been playing as a group at various local venues, set up a committee and formed The Royal Burgh of Tain Pipe Band. Raising money for uniforms proved to be a hard task, until uniforms and drums were provided by Mohammed Al Fayed (Harrods) in 1996.

The primary object of the Tain Pipe Band was, and still is, to promote an interest in Pipe Band music in the area, to entertain people and visitors, and especially, to encourage the younger generation to build up an interest in music and their heritage.

Music Culture

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