Mark traces ‘his people’ to NZ

Mark Wilson gets to know some of the New Zealand natives.
Mark Wilson gets to know some of the New Zealand natives.

Waringstown musician Mark Wilson is back on our TV screens with the new series of Ulster Scots programme ‘Santer’.

On previous series of ‘Santer’ Mark had looked at the origins and influences of Ulster Scots music on journeys through Scotland, America and Canada.

Since then he has recorded an hour long music special ‘The Santer Session’ where he has invited some of the musicians he met on those journeys back here to Ireland to perform along with local artists.

It was filmed in the beautiful setting of the Carriage Rooms in Ballynahinch in front of a live audience.

Musicians performing on the programme with Mark include, from Scotland, piper supreme Fred Morrison and singer Emily Smith. Also preforming are Cape Breton fiddlers, The Beaton Sisters and Lauren Rioux from Maine in the USA.

‘The Santer Session’ was aired on Wednesday, September 11 on BBC2 and is available through the iPlayer.

The new series of ‘Santer’ started on BBC2 on Wednesday, September 18 and will air weekly.

This time Mark’s musical journey takes him to New Zealand where he investiges the migration of the Ulster Scots to both the north and south islands.

In the first episode Mark visits Katikati and looks at the migration of the Ulster Scots to both the north and south islands.

Katikati is infamous for its murals and Mark discovers quite a few that were influenced by the Ulster Scots migration.

Mark recently played a huge role in the opening ceremony of the World Police and Fire Games.

The skilled sticksman led the Titanic Drums during what was arguably the highlight of the opening ceremony at the King’s Hall as they performed alongside Voices of Ireland and Bernagh.

Mark’s drum solo at the world’s third largest sporting event was nothing short of breathtaking.

Mark, who began drumming when he was five, has long been an ambassador for Northern Ireland and its culture.

He has drummed for dignataries the world over and also toured the globe with epic musical On Eagle’s Wing.

The Waringstown man is one of the top pipe band and rudimental drummers in the world and has won over 30 major championships in both solo and corps playing.

Recently he had his own segment on BBC NI and Radio Ulster exploring the influence of the Ulster Scots in America.

He has recorded performed and toured with artists such as Aoife Ni Fhearraigh, Alyth McCormack, Phil Coulter, Peter Corry, Brian Kennedy, Van Morrison, The Ulster Orchestra and the RTE Concert Orchestra.

In 2004 he wrote, orchestrated and arranged a piece for the half time interval of the Ireland vs Scotland rugby match.