Piper Louise Marshall is off to New York City for Tartan Week to pipe in the parade down Sixth Avenue. As the official World Fair Trade Tartan piper she is part of a delegation of 13 people who are off to publicise their relatively new tartan.

Louise is well known in the capital as the Lord Provost’s piper, a position she has held for 11 years.

Piper Louise Marshall

Always leading from the front, Louise turned up with  an all-woman pipe band, Diva and District at the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations on Princes Street and held a ‘drum off’ with a band called Spark. It was quite a spectacle.

Louise with Charlie Wood of Underbelly, Culture Convener Cllr Donald Wilson, Chief Superintendent Kenny MacDonald and Martin Green Executive Producer of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party and Greg Wolverson of the MetOffice.

She told The Edinburgh Reporter : “I am soproud to be in the World Fair Trade delegation wearing the tartan which is very special, and I loved being involved with the photo shoots at Edinburgh Castle!

“I am very excited about the trip and looking forward to promoting Scottish tourism and culture and fair trade around the world. I am so proud to be the World Fair Trade piper and highlighting world Fair Trade.”

The Rt Hon Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, Frank Ross, said: “Louise has piped for Edinburgh’s Lord Provost for over a decade and it is fantastic to hear she will be representing the city and Scotland’s female bagpipers at this year’s New York Tartan Week.

“Her playing has formed the soundtrack to some of the most high profile visits and events in Scotland – from performances for Her Majesty the Queen and the Pope, to piping for Sir Sean Connery and Ewan McGregor, to thousands of visitors from all over the world at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.

“She really is an inspirational musician and Tartan Week is the perfect place showcase her talent. I wish her the very best of luck.”

Louise is also looking forward to seeing a bit of New York after the parade on Saturday and is taking her niece and daughter with her to help with the shopping!

Some of the World Fair Trade Tartan delegation who are off to New York

As one of four children of a piper she was destined to take up the pipes in a family with a piping tradition that stretches over 75 years. Piping in the family began with her great uncle Jock who piped during World War II who then taught Louise’s father.

Louise’s  sister Sharon chose to be a dancer, but Louise used to go with her father William who piped at wedding ‘ceremonies’ at Gretna Green. Whistling the tunes and learning them from a very early age, she was finally allowed to learn the pipes aged 9.  Six weeks later, practicing for hours each day after school, she took second place to her older brother Paul in a competition.

The pipes she is taking with her will not leave her side as they belonged to her late father who died in 1999. She continued : “I will be proud to play my Dad’s 120 year-old Robertson pipes. I have a spare set but I really have to play on his. It will make it very special.”

Louise is excited about going to New York where she will also join the alumni from Edinburgh Napier University in Manhattan as an invited guest at their brunch before the parade.

She is to be seen most often piping for the Lord Provost at the City Chambers at all kinds of events, but also welcomes cruise ships into Leith Rosyth,Newhaven and Dundee on behalf of Forth Ports Ltd and South Queensferry for The City of Edinburgh Council.

Having studied marketing and German at Edinburgh Napier, Louise worked in shipping but decided to strike out on her own with a business based on her piping skills.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

Her highlights have been piping solo at Edinburgh’s Christmas Light Night in 2013 as Sir Chris Hoy switched on the lights. She already knew him pretty well however as she had piped him into the Assembly Rooms when he was awarded the Freedom of the City in September 2012. That month was a bit busy as she also piped on the top deck of the gold bus parading Scottish Olympians and Paralympians through the streets to the Assembly Rooms.

When it was time to parade the Olympic flame through the streets Louise was there piping it in and out of Meadowbank Sports Stadium in August 2012. She had also piped for the VIPs including Olympic Gold medallist Allan Wells.

For her fellow musicians the Proclaimers who are big Hibs fans she played Sunshine on Leith and 500 miles to them on Calton Hill for a BBC Radio 4 broadcast in 2012.

Louise piping aboard the open top bus when Hibs won the cup in May 2016 with the Lord Provost

And then she welcomed Hibs to Lothian Chambers when they were given a reception by the Lord Provost. She also kept playing all the way along the parade route on top of the bus. Asked by Sir Tom Farmer to play Sunshine on Leith which is the Hibs anthem just as they reached Pilrig Church, Louise was happy to oblige – and the thousands of fans in the crowd sang along!

Perhaps two of the most high profile people she has piped for however were Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Edinburgh in 2010 and Her Majesty The Queen at the naming ceremony for the Queen Elizabeth ocean liner in 2010.

Louise keeps busy as a bagpipe tutor passing on her knowledge to young students who want to be as good as her. They will certainly need a lot of energy as she has loads of it!

The Lord Provost said : “Louise has piped for Edinburgh’s Lord Provost for over a decade and it is fantastic to hear she will be representing the city and Scotland’s female bagpipers at this year’s New York Tartan Week.

“Her playing has formed the soundtrack to some of the most high profile visits and events in Scotland – from performances for Her Majesty the Queen and the Pope, to piping for Sir Sean Connery and Ewan McGregor, to thousands of visitors from all over the world at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.

“She really is an inspirational musician and Tartan Week is the perfect place showcase her talent. I wish her the very best of luck.”