John MacLean is widely recognized as one of the finest traditional/Gaelic style pipers in the world today. John was born into a family of tradition bearers from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He is descended from a long line of pipers, fiddlers and step-dancers. On his father’s side were predominantly fiddlers and step-dancers, originally from Barra. His mother’s side were Curries from South Uist and they were pipers.
John’s early piping was nurtured by people like Chris Anderson, P/M Reay MacKay of the 48th Highlanders, John Walsh and P/M Angus J. MacLellan. He won many prizes on the competition circuit with three times Atlantic Canadian Champion but John never lost sight of the music that was more “real” to him and that was the music that was played at the dances and house ceilidhs and the kind of music played by his grand uncle Alex Currie – music with the unmistakable “Blas na Gaidhlig” (sound of Gaelic) that many of the fiddlers and pipers in Cape Breton had and a few still have.
John has been playing with many of the well known Cape Breton musicians like Jerry Holland, Dave MacIsaac, Mary Jane Lamond and performing only in the old style at festivals in Eastern Canada and the USA. John has also played and taught at the Ceòlas school in South Uist, Scotland.