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Burgess honored as ‘Scot of the Year’

By Staff | Apr 29, 2010

Hamish Burgess accepts the “Scot of the Year” Award for Hawaii in Kapiolani Park in Honolulu. Hawaiian Scottish Association Chieftain Dan Peddie is standing behind him.

WEST MAUI — West Side resident Hamish Douglas Burgess was recently awarded “Scot of the Year” 2010 by the Caledonian Society of Hawaii for services to the Scottish and Hawaiian community.

This is the first time a Maui resident has been honored with the award.

He received the award at the Hawaiian Scottish Festival and Highland Games in Honolulu from Caledonian Chieftain Bruce McEwan, who stated, “The Caledonian Society has presented this award each year since 1987 to an individual who is of Scottish descent or has embraced an interest in Scotland and Scottish culture, has supported the Scottish community in Hawaii, and has made a contribution to the Hawaiian community in general.”

Burgess has enriched the Scottish culture in Hawaii for the last decade. He owns Maui Celtic, a retail company and cross-cultural link for music, events, genealogy, Celtic art and heritage. His website, www.mauiceltic.com, is a resource and archive for all things Scottish and Celtic in Hawaii.

He promotes Scottish culture to a worldwide audience over the airwaves and Internet as a volunteer presenter of his Celtic music radio show on nonprofit Mana‘o Radio 91.5 FM. The show airs Sundays from 8 to 10 a.m. and online in West Maui at www.manaoradio.com.

The traditional Celtic art of Hamish Burgess includes “Lindisfarne Spirals.”

As an artist focusing on traditional and modern Celtic art, Burgess has been commissioned for book and album covers, including the world-renowned Irish Rovers’ latest release and Maui band Finn McCoul’s new CD. His “Celtic Dragon” truck is a familiar sight in West Maui.

Some have heard the sound of his Highland bagpipes wafting from cliff-tops overlooking West Maui’s surf spots or piping “Happy Birthday” for Lahaina’s Banyan Tree.

Burgess was a founding member of The Maui Celtic Pipes and Drums, now renamed The Isle of Maui Pipe Band. He also plays solo for weddings and cultural events throughout Hawaii.

He is also a promoter of traditional Celtic music, producing concerts on Maui with partner Jennifer Fahrni. They have brought in the world’s top Scottish fiddler, Alasdair Fraser; late Irish singing legend Liam Clancy; and World Champion Bagpiper Jack Lee.

As Scottish Ambassador for Maui’s “Princess Ka‘iulani Project,” Burgess also volunteers his time in honor of Hawaii’s beloved Hawaiian/Scot, Victoria Ka‘iulani Cleghorn, by helping to bring her words back to life in presentations throughout Hawaii. He personally took the story of Ka‘iulani back to her father’s homeland in 2009, where he was a featured guest on BBC Scotland and Celtic Music Radio Glasgow, and discussed the project with Scottish national newspapers.

Burgess was also instrumental in getting the Hawaii tartan (plaid) worn as kilts in the state, bagpiping under Lahaina’s Banyan Tree for several years on Tartan Day (April 6), then ordering the world’s first Hawaii tartan kilts for himself, Hardy Spoehr and the tartan’s designer, Doug Herring. Now worn by many, last year the state officially recognized the Hawaii tartan and National Tartan Day.