FREELAND BARBOUR comes from Glen Fincastle near Pitlochry in Highland Perthshire and has been a central figure in the Scottish music world for many years.
As a musician he is co-founder of two hugely successful ceilidh bands, The Wallochmor Ceilidh Band and his current band The Occasionals, and he is also part of The Ghillies. He has in the past been a member of folk supergroup Silly Wizard and the Faroese band Spaelimenninir. He is also a soloist, a regular on radio and TV, has over 40 commercial recordings to his credit, and has performed with many well-known musicians across the international folk music world. He has been regularly short-listed for the Trad Awards, honoured by The National Association of Accordion and Fiddle Clubs, and is a member of The Scottish Music Hall of Fame. He is a multi-instrumentalist whose main instrument is the accordion, and he has for many years designed his own instruments which have been built and successfully marketed by 3 of Italy’s leading accordion manufacturers (Pigini, Zero Sette, and Brandoni). He has also extensively played for Scottish and Old Time Dance Classes with teachers Jessie Stuart and Sheila McCutcheon.
As a composer his compositions have been performed and recorded by numerous performers right across the traditional music world, from pipe bands to folk groups to Scottish dance bands to Strathspey and Reel Societies. He has also composed TV, film, and theatre soundtracks.
As a producer he has worked across many fields of music and is a former BBC Radio Scotland music producer. He has also worked as a music producer for BBC Gaelic radio and outwith broadcasting has produced literally hundreds of commercial recordings. He has produced most styles of music though there are some gaps that he thinks he probably may never get the chance to fill.
As a teacher Freeland was the first accordion tutor on the BA degree course in Scottish Traditional Music at The Royal Scottish Conservatoire in Glasgow, and he has in the past been a regular tutor and group leader for the Folkworks organisation in the north-east of England as well as various other bodies.
On the business front Freeland co-founded one of Scotland’s leading independent record labels, Lapwing Records, in the 1970’s, and has been a partner in two sound hire and recording companies. He has run a music publishing business for over 40 years, and is the former studio manager and owner of Scotland’s largest and one of the UK’s leading recording studios, Castlesound, in East Lothian.
Freeland has been a committee member of various bodies including The Scottish Traditions of Dance Trust and The Scottish Arts Council’s Working Group on Traditional Music.
He is also an author with the award-winning 2-volume ‘The Music and the Land’ being published by Birlinn in 2016. He has edited traditional dance instruction leaflets, written numerous radio programmes on various subjects, and in 2019 Birlinn published ‘The White Rose of Gask - The life and songs of Carolina Oliphant, Lady Nairne’. This is Freeland’s first biography and Carolina Oliphant was his 5-times great aunt. He also published in 2019 ‘The Lays of Strathearn’, the original collection from 1846 of Lady Nairne’s songs.