About the Urban Highlanders
Bagpipes, whistles, 6-string violin, soprano sax, piccolo, clarinet, acoustic guitar, mandolin, an array of drums and percussion... all join the fray in an inspired musical dust up. Based in Toronto, the URBAN HIGHLANDERS draw on a broad collection of influences to create original instrumentals, homemade and traditional tunes, story-based songs and tales.
In 2015 Grier Coppins began a monthly residence at the Cameron House, one of Toronto's most storied musical venues. Starting as a duo playing mostly original songs, then as a trio adding tunes and instrumentals, the monthly performance spontaneously grew into a five-piece roots, cross-border organic musical adventure.
Thus, URBAN HIGHLANDERS were born.
The band is currently recording their first full-length release and are appearing live in concert at a variety of venues across Ontario. Recent performances include: The Heritage Festival at Ontario Place for Canada's 150, Catalina's in Peterborough and a sold-out show at The Old Church Theatre in Trenton, ON.
The band maintains their original residency at the Cameron House in Toronto on the 3rd Saturday of every month.
Grier Coppins began his musical career on the street in Toronto playing bagpipes at the corner Yonge & Bloor in the mid 1970's. He was an original member of critically acclaimed Canadian bagpipe/funksters Rare Air in the 1980's. In 1993 he founded Taxi Chain, a rhythm & blues infused cocktail of song & tune. Coppins has played almost every major folk fest in Canada & the USA. He released a solo record, 'The Prince that Nobody Knows' in 2014 rated one of 2014's top 10 by Penguin Egg's Andy Donnelley, and has most recently recorded bagpipes with Al Tuck on his 'Stranger at the Wake' CD and on the Paul Gross film, 'Hyena Road'.
Jim has is a versatile and wind-driven musical force that has played with such diverse acts as Screaming' Jay Hawkins, the Somalian Opera, Toronto Calypso combo Shak Shak, and Taxi Chain.
Ayron is a tower of a man and musician that has performed extensively with Taxi Chain, the Mahones and his own band, The O'Deadlys, with his wife Lindsey. He is a graduate of the Humber College Music Program and also teaches guitar.
Chris Bartos is a master class jazz guitarist and violinist and a graduate of the Berklee College of Music. He has played extensively with and/or produced recordings for Kaia Kater, Sarah Harmer, The Ennis Sisters, Jonathon Bird, the Barr Brothers, and Quique Escamilla. He has released one solo recording 'Fort William' to critical acclaim.
Larry has studied drumming extensively in Ghana, Africa and teaches drums. He is a composer and the musical leader a few local acts: DRUMHAND, Surefire Sweat and Orkestra Gatigo. He was an original member of Juno nominated world beat orchestra Mr. Something Something.