In their second CD, Haggis Rampant introduces kid piper Gillian Brownlee who, despite being a wee beastie, adds skill, energy and harmonies to this fun family group. Steve Brownlee, the group's first (and, he maintains, still senior) piper, has written some original tunes, and he and 12-year-old Gillian have each penned harmonies that bring traditional and familiar tunes to a different level. Drummer Pam Brownlee, wife and mother to pipers and therefore increasingly worried about hearing loss, first picked up a bodhran as a way to hang around Steve during gigs. But she's hooked too, and has added two more drums to her collection -- the African ashiko, and a Scottish marching bass. The first stirrings of Haggis Rampant appeared in the fall of 2000, at the first annual Louisiana Renaissance Festival. Steve was feeding his renfest habit while looking for places to practice on his somewhat loud instrument. Okay, extremely loud instrument. Happily, he met a renfest merchant who was looking for just such an attention-getting device to situate in front of his place of business. It was an ideal pairing, and Steve played his pipes at the last two and a half weekends of the LRF. Life was good. But, apparently, it could get better. Pam, missing the companionship that her marriage vows had lead her to expect, played her drum with Steve on the last day of the 2000 run, and, much to his chagrin, the show was so much improved that tips more than quadrupled. Well, Steve may be deaf, but he is certainly no dummy. He immediately began pushing Pam to play more often, and offering to provide a drummer when people called for the bagpipes. And when the 2001 LRF came around, he contacted the faire and arranged to play the entire run. And thus was Haggis Rampant born. But it wasn't finished growing. Gillian, growing up with the sound of pipes, decided she wanted to learn to play as well. Three years later, with a lot of practice and a few competitions under her belt, she's part of the group. And while she's not planning to fill her dad's shoes any time soon, she's sure lighting a fire under them. She's already shown a talent for writing exquisite harmonies for the bagpipes, and the good-natured father/daughter competitiveness makes them a fun team to watch. Steve is an award winning piper, and has been playing bagpipes since 1996. He's working hard to get more awards under his belt before Gillian can pass him up.
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