British regiment completes new album while in Iraq

Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:10am EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - Universal Music will release an album of bagpipe music next month, some of it recorded by a British army regiment while serving in Basra.

The label said "Spirit of the Glen: Journey" is the first commercial recording from the frontline of a warzone, and said it took out a multi-million pound insurance policy to send a production team to Iraq to complete the making of the record.

The album is a sequel to surprise hit "Spirit of the Glen," also featuring the pipers and drums of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards which topped the classical charts in Britain for 14 weeks when it was released last Christmas.

It sold around 300,000 copies, and made the band "the most unlikely pop stars in the world," said label manager Tom Lewis, who with producer Jon Cohen traveled to Basra with a mobile recording unit.

"When we got half way there I started to think, 'What are we doing here?', but it was an amazing adventure and I think the record is better for it," Lewis told Reuters.

The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards started recording the record for Universal label Universal Classics and Jazz before they were called up for a six-month tour of duty in Iraq.

It was completed in a tent, with temperatures reaching up to 50 degrees and one piper suffering heat stroke while recording.

The new album features "Abide With Me," "In Flanders Field" and "Dawning of the Day," all recorded in Basra, and men from the regiment also sang "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind."

Spirit of the Glen: Journey is released on December 1.